Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published August 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press

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.
*Buddy read with Lee over at Rally the Readers*

Shiver is a book that I didn't really pay much attention to when it first came out. At the time, I was still very much on the Twilight bandwagon, and the comparisons between Twilight and Shiver made me weary. And then, when I was over my Twilight phase, I couldn't really see myself getting into a similar story. Granted back then, I wasn't familiar with my beloved Maggie Stiefvater. If I had been, I would have picked this series up in a heartbeat. Naturally, now that I have ALL THE LOVE AND FEELS for The Raven Cycle and Stiefvater's SWOONY prose I felt compelled to try out the series, which might just ease the pain as we wait for The Raven King's release. I'm delighted to report that Shiver managed to sink it's teeth into me and delivered even more than I had expected.

Right from the first pages, I was reminded of all of the reasons why I love Stiefvater's writing. Shiver was gorgeously atmospheric and lyrical right from the start.  The writing had this delicious way of making you feel as though you were right there, experiencing everything with it's two main characters, Sam and Grace.  The ambience, the cold and the vivid setting drew me in easily and the gorgeous prose kept my attention glued to the pages as I plunged into a world of wolves, wilderness and romance. The story flowed easily and naturally so that before I realized what was happening, I felt surrounded by it, even when I wasn't reading.

Admittedly, it took me a while to warm up to the romance in Shiver. At first glance, it had a hint of insta-love to it that I couldn't quite shake.  It seemed like very suddenly, Grace and Sam were in a romantic relationship and I wasn't sure how I felt about their devotion to each other.  But then, as I continued on with the story and as I thought about it when I wasn't reading, I realized that given their history, it made sense for their relationship to evolve the way it had. In reality, they'd know each other for years!  Naturally, it wasn't long until my minor misgivings were forgotten and I was completely invested in all aspects of the story, including the romance. I ship it guys. I ship it hard. Sam and Grace might be teens, but to me they read more like young adults which I really appreciated. They didn't have to change or sacrifice what makes them Sam and Grace in order to be with one another.  And unlike most YA paranormal romances, Sam didn't come off possessive or stalkerish with Grace whatsoever. Their relationship was one of the healthiest I've come across in YA paranormals to date!

The actual paranormal aspects of the story were delivered in a fresh and innovative fashion. Here, the wolves transformation isn't dependant on lunar cycles, but instead it's dependant on temperature. Warmth makes them human, while cold turns them into wolves. Additionally, each 'werewolf' only has a finite number of transformations back and forth between wolf and human. Eventually, the person is lost forever and only the wolf remains. I thought it was a great way to spice up a familiar trope and I applaud Maggie Stiefvater for taking werewolves and making them her own.  Now that I have read Shiver, I feel like the comparisons to Twilight have been a little unfair. Other than the atmospheric setting and star-crossed romance, there were little other similarities between the two.  I mean, if you enjoyed Twilight back in the day, odds are that you'll probably enjoy Shiver, but if I'm being honest, Shiver constantly felt like the superior, better-written story out of the two.

As much as a part of me regrets having waited this long to finally read Shiver, I'm still thrilled that I now have read it. It managed to make a fan out of me, even well passed my YA paranormal romance phase.  If you're a fan of gorgeous prose, absorbing settings and paranormal romances - and you still haven't read Shiver - I highly recommend that you check it out. I'd also say the same for fans of anything by Maggie Stiefvater! As it stands, I already can't wait to dive into Linger ;)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

18 comments:

  1. The twist is original and since I haven't read M. Stiefvater yet, I'm willing to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing !

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    1. It was a fresh twist on the usual lore for sure^^ but if you haven't read any Stiefvater, I wholeheartedly recommend The Raven Boys to you as well :D

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  2. I read this years ago Micheline, before I started the blog, and I couldn't quite get into it. I think it's because it was my first Maggie Stiefvater read and I just wasn't used to her slower pacing the way I am now (I was all about the fast, action-packed reads!), so I'm thinking I need to give this another try. So glad you loved it:)

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    1. I completely understand that Jenny, a lot of people have struggled with Stiefvater slower pacing and focus on atmosphere! I'd be curious to see how you'd make out with it now that you've gotten used to her style :) Thanks sweetie^^ ♥

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  3. Back when it first came out, I avoided this book to the point of not even approaching it in bookstores because I was so weary about it being a Twilight rip-off. Cause, let's face it, back in the day, Twilight rip-offs were basically a genre of their own XD

    It's actually interesting that you've reviewed it now. The story does sound very interesting and with the author's revamped popularity through her Raven Boys books, people might actually be more open-minded about Shiver. Personally, I love the cover. I'm not sure if the book is for me but I'm glad I finally got to know what it's really about XD

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    1. You're right Soudha, those Twilight look-alikes were all the rage back then!

      I just knew that with how much undying love I have for The Raven Cycle, I had to make up my own opinion about Shiver and I'm really glad that I did :D

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I had a really hard time getting through the slow plot, and I just couldn't stick with the series. But I did appreciate her unique take on werewolves, and I still want to give Raven Boys a try.

    C.J.
    Sarcasm & Lemons

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    1. It seems like a lot of people just can't get used to Stiefvater slower pacing, but I just soak up the delectable atmosphere like a sponge XD I'm sorry that this one didn't work out for you C.J. but I hope you fall head over heels for The Raven Boys!!

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  5. Ah, lovely, lovely review, Micheline! ❤ Twilight had me reading just about every YA paranormal romance I could get my hands on at the time, but I've moved on since those days, too. So although I had a pretty good feeling that Maggie Stiefvater would put her own stamp on the genre, when I first started reading Shiver, it felt a little weird to me to be reading a book written back during my Twilight-obsessed days, lol. But, this truly stands on its own merits, especially the beautiful prose that makes me want to cry because it's so pretty. Can't wait to read the rest of the series with you! :D

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    1. Thank you Lee ♥ I know what you mean, I figured that Maggie Stiefvater would step it up in this department without a doubt - I was just worried that maybe I'd outgrown the genre...I should have known that her gorgeous prose and that the dreamy atmosphere would sink it's teeth into me all the same XD This definitely stands on it's own merits as you said and I'm really excited to discover where the rest of the series will take us :D

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  6. Oh I'm glad you enjoyed this, Micheline! I actually read this a long time ago and I really liked it. I liked the next book too. Sadly, I can't really say the same about the third book of the trilogy, I think it was my least favorite. Still, this was a really cool story. You are in for some good times in Linger! :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. Thanks Mogsy^^ You know, you're not the first one to tell me they liked book 1 and 2 but not so much 3...it makes me curious but also weary >.< It's a bummer when a series doesn't go out with a bang. I'm glad that you still liked the series overall and I can't wait to compare notes with you :)

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  7. Great review, Micheline! I have Shiver on my kindle and I'm planning to read it when winter rolls around - it's nice to see a good review for a change, and I think the concept of these werewolves' transformations is such a cool idea. :D

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    1. Thanks Jess! I'm excited for you to read it too and I hope that you'll have as much luck with it as I did :D The werewolves transformations was a highlight for me - that, coupled with the immersive atmosphere and writing style really made the book!

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  8. I read this series quite some time ago so I really can't remember all the details. I do remember that I enjoyed the spin on the werewolves with the temperature thing and that they will eventually become total wolf. It's nice to see authors liven things up with familiar paranormal aspects. Great review!

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    1. I agree so much, and really I never should have doubted that Maggie Stiefvater could pull it off, but not everyone has liked this series - most chalk it up to the slower pacing that is Stiefvater's trademark. Anyway, I'm glad that it worked for us :) Thanks sweetie^^ ♥

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  9. Yay, I'm so glad you liked it! I've been putting this one off because of the hype and it's popularity during the Twilight phase as well. It's great to know that there aren't many similarities and although I'm a little worried about the romance everything else sounds great, especially Maggie's unique take on werewolves.

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    1. That was the exact reason that I put it off for so long^^ Yeah I really felt the the comparisons to Twilight were mostly unfounded and to me, Shiver reads like the far superior book out of the two. The romance was iffy for me at first, but it completely won me over before long! Thanks lady xxxx

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