I know, I know. You think you’re all werewolved out, what with the whole Twilight thing. Heck, even if you’ve never seen one of the movies or read one of the books, you’re sure to have seen one of the many, many commercials.
The main reason I bring up the Twilight series is half because of the werewolf stuff and half because since I have read the Twilight books and one of them deals heavily with werewolves, I can’t help but compare Shiver and Linger to the Stephanie Meyer’s take on werewolves – something I’m sure just thrills Maggie Stiefvater. I’m sure she’s never heard that before.
So, whose werewolf lore is my favorite?
And here’s why: it’s more [kinda-sorta] scientific and logical. No. Really. Stay with me for a minute. Meyer’s werewolves are created based on bloodlines and the presence of vampires. The more vamps, the more werewolves. Mortal [immortal?] enemies and all of that.
The werewolves of Shiver and Linger are created by a bite from an infected person/wolf. After that initial bite, there’s a sickness and eventually a change. Changes occur most readily when it’s cold and for about half the year, the people are wolves with wolfy thoughts and wolfy pack structure. Maybe you’ll read the books and think I’m full of it but it was easier for me to suspend reality with Stiefvater’s books.
The books are told in first-person narrative style. The first book, Shiver, is told by Sam and Grace. The second book, Linger, adds two more people to the viewpoints shared. Even for a person like me who’s riddled with ADD, the switching of viewpoints wasn’t hard to handle or distracting.
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
If I had written that, it would have taken me about five or six hundred words since I would want to discuss each and every thing I made notes on.
Big things I enjoyed about Shiver:
- The strength of Grace. She has absentee parents and has taken care of herself for just about forever.
- How believable the characters are.
- The pacing of the book. Not too slow, not too fast. Just right. And now I feel like Goldilocks and stuff.
- It’s a character driven book and though there is definitely a plot going on in there, you don’t get plot at the expense of character development.
- A very refreshing take on mature, young relationships. And, no, that is not a contradiction. Stiefvater does a hell of a good job showing what that first love is really like yet keeps it responsible. You know what I’m talking about. I’m not going to ruin it for the less swooft of my readers.
What I wasn’t so hot about in Shiver:
- The ending. I’m warning you, listen to me. You are probably going to be more than just a bit pissed at the ending of Shiver. When I got done with the book – It took me a day to read it. – I cussed Mrs. Stiefvater. Like no holds barred cussing. I’m amazed my neighbors didn’t hear me since I was sitting outside finishing the book. I was able to chuckle at myself and the ending. BUT, that was only because I have a review copy of Linger. I knew I would be able to start right up from where I left off. I pity any of you who don’t win this contest and then decide to only buy Shiver. Buy them both at the same time. Trust. Me. You’ve been warned.
Also, when you buy – or win – Shiver, know the book has been optioned to be made into a movie. That makes me a tad nervous since I can’t get the HORRIBLE CGI wolves from New Moon out of my head but hopefully the movie studio will do the book justice.
This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.
Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn’t cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.
But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it’s only me who’s not firmly in my own skin.
I had gotten so wrapped up in the Sam and Grace story that I didn’t want to give up that exclusivity. But, as things moved forward, I became to respect and maybe even like the additions. Stiefvater shines at the craft of creating believable, flawed characters and that was her saving grace with these otherwise rather unlikable folks. I will say that by the end, I liked both Cole and Isabel. Maybe I even like Isabel before the end of Shiver but you don’t get things from her perspective until Linger so let’s just say I didn’t care for her until Linger.
Things I liked about Linger:
- The whole Sam/Grace relationship is deepened and expanded.
- Stiefvater does a kickass job of showing how parents tend to interpret young relationships as hopeless and not worth the anguish.
- The science thing is introduced even more and y’all know how I’m a big science nerd.
- Cole actually isn’t as bad as he seems and has a heck of a lot more layers than you’re led to believe in the beginning.
- The chemistry between Cole and Isabel is popping. Seriously.
Meh moments for me in Linger:
- The amount of time it takes to explain the connection between the dead wolf in the woods and Grace.
- The tiny bit of disconnect I felt between the end of Shiver and the start of Linger. Then again, they probably weren’t written in as tight of a succession as I read them.
It took me two days to read these books: one day for Shiver and one day for Linger. Good character driven fiction that’s believable and the characters are characters that feel “real”.
Third book hits the shelves in 2011; I can’t wait.
Leave a comment here. Anything will work [Other than “I entered” because that’s boring.] but it would be sweet if you would leave some sort of remembrance of your first love since, even with all of the supernatural stuff, these books boil down to a love story.
Just like with The Iron King, you get a second entry for sharing this contest on your most favoritest social networking site/blog/forum/whatever but you only get one extra entry. All you get for the other sharing is my gratitude. Make sure you leave a link in the comments to your sharing so I’ll know about it.
One lucky, lucky person will win 5 copies of both Shiver and Linger and a $50 Visa Cash Card. Oh. Yeah. A nice, fat prize.
This giveaway will run from now until the 12th of July at 10am at which point I’ll kill comments on this post. Once I draw a winner via Random.org, I’ll edit this post with the winner’s name and email said winner via the email address they provided in the comment form. US residents only. If the winner doesn’t respond within seven days, I’ll go on down the list. So forth and so on. Ad nauseum.
Congrats to Beth for winning this righteous contest! Also, thanks to all of you who commented. I’m sure I’ll have more great contests like this in the future.
Edited again to add I am very sorry I closed the contest early. I had it down in my planner as closing the same day as The Iron King. I’m sorry for any inconvenience but it’s not fair for me to reopen the comments and for me to take the prize from Beth. In the future, I’ll be sure to double check my dates.