Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) / My rating: ★★☆☆☆
One sentence summary: Grace is in love with a wolf boy, Sam, whom she finds human and wounded on her doorstep, and romance ensues as they try to find a way to keep him from turning back into a wolf.
It tore my heart out, because I heard his voice. The wolves sang slowly behind him, bittersweet harmony, but all I heard was Sam.
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Fantasy
Plot: I kept waiting for this book to become exciting, but unfortunately it never really did. I I found it flat and predictable, and the characters couldn’t make up where the plot lacked. I could see what was coming around every corner, and the ending wasn’t much of a surprise. I also think the plot could have benefited from not focusing so many scenes on the romance alone, and the romance could have benefited from more build-up. A lot of the time, I was simply pushing forward to get to the action.
Characters: The main character, Grace, was headstrong and practical, not unlikable, but nothing about her really gripped my interest. Sam, her wolf, is softer, more artistic, and, unfortunately, quite dull. They were sweet, and I tried hard, but could not muster much interest in their romance, which might have had to do with its lack of build-up. I also found that the secondary characters suffered in surrendering so much screen time to Grace and Sam’s relationship. Grace’s best friend, Rachel, came off as a stereotypical peppy teen girl, and Grace’s other best friend, Olivia, felt severely underdeveloped for the size of the role she came to play in the plot. Sam’s pack was a bit more interesting, and if I had to choose any characters to get to know better, it would be them. I also liked Grace’s mom and enjoyed her interaction with Sam.
Writing: I will always love Steivfater’s writing. The descriptions are lovely and the prose is poetic. However, I didn’t find the first-person narrative to be particularly unique to the characters. The story is told from Grace and Sam’s point of views, and I didn’t think that either was significantly different from the other. The dialogue, however, was my biggest gripe. I felt it came off as contrived, at times, particularly when characters were trying to be humorous, or the teens were speaking with “teenager-y” speech, which often came off as awkward. It just didn’t always flow.
Was I satisfied? No. Mostly, it simply bored me, to the point that when I came to the end of the book I started to skim because nothing was interesting, or surprising, enough to hold my attention. I felt no pull at all to continue onto the next book in the series, which, hopefully, develop the characters more thoroughly. It’s disappointing, because I love The Raven Cycle, which, in a comparison I can’t help making, are an improvement on Shiver in in every way.