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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces -- wolf and human -- with love bearing its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

Released: July 13, 2010          Pages: 360
Publisher: Scholastic Press    Source: Library

(Just so you know, I've been on vacation nearly nonstop for a month, so I haven't had much chance to get my book reviews posted.  That's why so many book reviews are coming up at one time.)

Going into this, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it. I liked Shiver, but I was a bit afraid the sequel would suffer from the Middle of the Trilogy Syndrome, and fall into what I like to call The Trilogy Trap. I know from experience that the second book of a trilogy isn’t always the greatest.*

Though I could tell this book was the middle child, it didn’t fall into The Trilogy Trap, which I was glad of. The plot was a bit slow towards the middle, but overall I managed to enjoy it. I loved the intensity of the ending.

My favorite part of this book was the addition of a brand-new character—Cole St. Clair. Now, he’s not the greatest role model, but he was a well-developed character. He was realistic, and I liked him despite his faults. He added a bit of spice to the novel.

This series takes place in Minnesota, a place I’ve lived for my entire life. Shiver had the temperature at every chapter heading, which proved to be a constant distraction for me. I couldn’t stop nitpicking once I saw the temperatures. At 45 degrees, the characters would be talking about the “frigid cold”. Native Minnesotans (which most of the characters are) do not consider 45 to be “frigid”. I’ve seen people wearing shorts and flip-flops at much, much colder temperatures. In Linger, the temperature was not listed. This was a smart idea on the author and/or publisher’s part, since they left me with nothing to nitpick.

Or so I would have thought. But nope, even without the temperatures, I found another case of Did-Not-Do-The-Research. Two, actually, one major and one minor. The major one: somewhere throughout the story, a character mentioned something about a smoking section in a public building. I paused when I read this, and went to check the publication date: 2010.  Before 2010, a law was passed in MN that made it illegal to smoke inside any public building. Gotcha! The minor one: I’m pretty sure the characters mentioned “soda” more than once. Most native Minnesotans don’t say “soda”. It’s “pop”, which really makes no sense, but we say it anyway (refer to this map for proof). Another oops.

Okay, so these things really aren’t that important to the book as a whole, but I felt the need to point them out. Overall, I enjoyed this. I like the characters, and I think the werewolf thing is interesting and clever. If the series looks interesting to you, I’d recommend it. Four stars.

 *Then again, Patrick Ness’s fabulous Chaos Walking Trilogy completely subverts this. I gave the first book (The Knife of Never Letting Go) four stars. The second book (The Ask and the Answer) completely blew away my expectations, and went above and beyond the call of awesomeness. The final book (Monsters of Men) was awesome and earned five stars, but it still didn’t top the second book. So there’s an example where I liked the second book the most. 

Reviews of other Wolves of Mercy Falls novels:
Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)
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