August 31, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefavter

Several years ago Grace was attacked by the wolves that live in the forest that borders her house. She was nearly killed, but lived because of one wolf in particular. Her wolf. The wolf with the yellow eyes.

Now seventeen Grace finds herself continuously entranced by her wolf with the yellow eyes. Every winter she looks forward to seeing her wolf just outside her home. Her friends know about her self-proclaimed obsession with the wolves, but none of them know the truth about the wolves.

Sam is an eighteen-year-old boy who has always lived a double life. During the summer he's a human and able to live a normal life. During the winter Sam becomes a wolf, and runs with his pack. Every year the amount of cold it takes to turn him into a wolf becomes less and less, and soon he knows that he will be a wolf forever. He thought he could handle that fact, but once he truly meets Grace and becomes apart of her world Sam realizes he doesn't want to let go of Grace.

I had a love/hate relationship with Shiver about half way into the book. Stiefvater started out really strong with her story. The first few chapters alone draw you in and make you want to know more. The fact that the book is narrated by both Sam and Grace makes this book even stronger. It isn't easy to write in two different protagonist voices and not confuse a reader. Stiefvater did so beautifully. She also wrote the story with such gorgeous prose that it was hard not to fall in love with the way it was written. Where the story started to almost loose me was some of turns not taken and some of the turns that were taken.

Grace's parents, for example, are extremely neglectful and out of the picture. Grace is left to fend for herself all the time while her parents gallivant around town pretending they don't have a daughter. When Sam is brought to their attention Grace's parents don't seem to care enough to ask too many questions. Without trying to say too much there is even more that makes me question these parents when Grace basically insults her mother when her mother does ask questions about Sam and her mother just shrugs it off like it's no big deal. All the while the parents are still painted as basically good people who don't care about their daughter. Those two personalities didn't mesh well with me at all.

Then there were the wolves. A lot of the story is centered on Grace and Sam living their lives together in their relationship, but very little is done with one of the more intriguing part of the novel; the wolf pack. They are mentioned and they make appearances but these appearances are far between. It makes the story move along slowly, then pick up, then move slowly again. It was a bit frustrating, but the story and the characters were still so interesting I had to keep reading. Stiefvater definately succeeded in making strong, likeable, and balanced characters which isn't easily done when it comes to a romance. Grace was a strong person on her own as well as with Sam, and Sam leaned just as much on Grace as she did him.

Over all though I enjoyed the book. I would recommend this to readers who love the romance of a story rather then any that look for action to really push a story along. It's a beautiful book and it certainly will garner quite a following. I will definitely be looking for the next installment.

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