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