Sunday, 6 September 2009

Review - Shiver / Maggie Stiefvater

Summary - 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.

Review -Shiver is an intoxicating read. It falls over you like a warm blanket; you absorb the warmth, the scents and the delicious feeling of being all wrapped up. Stiefvater's novel is a real page turner due in large part to an unique spin on werewolf lore and an amazing connection between two teens. The alternating perspectives of Grace and Sam are terribly effective in demonstrating their fixation with one another; there's a deep attraction but it goes well beyond the physical, it's almost elemental.

While the romance will grab most readers, it was the language and science that grabbed me. On some levels Shiver is repetitive but you don't notice due the the beautiful flow that has been established. It's somewhat lyrical and very sensual. Sensual in that Stiefvater has deftly brought the character's and reader's senses into the story with her inclusion of odours, sights and touch. The science of the werewolves is intriguing and well thought out, the detour from magic is much appreciated, as it her ability to make the ideas easy to follow.

The characters are mostly well formed. Sam is a character that is inordinately more rounded than Grace as his past influences his present so much more. Grace is hampered by oblivious parents but there isn't a whole lot of spark in the girl. She's strong, capable and rather a white lady knight but she often comes across quite tepid. Their romance is instantaneous, an event six years prior solidifying their connection to one another. This unsettled me a little as they were almost immediately in love mode without too much establishment of their girl/boy connection rather than girl/wolf connection. While it's believable to a degree, the time between Sam's entry into Grace's world as a human and their first kiss could have been more developed. Though the elemental nature of their attraction could justify Stiefvater's pacing there.

Shiver is a beautiful, transformative read. Her language can move between languid and jolting with effective storytelling. A great reading choice for a Sunday morning in bed.

Published: August 1st 2009
Format: Paperback (ARC), 390 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Origin: USA
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Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read this!

Alea said...

WHOA! I think I've been out of the loop, when did you remodel your blog?

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I love this book so much I want to snuggle it.

prophecygirl said...

I can't wait read this. I'm getting to it in a couplf of weeks, and it's becoming more and more difficult to forget it's there waiting.

Brilliant review!

Jacqueline C. said...

I'm glad you liked it too! Nice review :)

Katie said...

Excellent review -- you hit the nail on the head.

Lenore Appelhans said...

I like how you describe their romance as elemental. That really fits.