Book Thoughts: Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver, by Maggie StiefvaterFor 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..
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So, I’m not doing a real review of this one. This will be my second installment of Book Thoughts, where I just have thoughts about a book, but I don’t necessarily give it a full review. Because I just have… thoughts. You know?

In this case, please beware that if you haven’t read this book (haha), I’m likely to discuss some spoilers.

As I was reading this book, I kept looking at reviews on Goodreads (as I often do while reading, especially if it’s a book that I have mixed feelings about). The reviews, I was surprised to discover, are quite mixed. It seems people either love this book or don’t like this book and don’t understand why other people do love it. I am somewhere in the middle (as usual).

My Expectations. The first book signing I ever went to was for Linger, the sequel to Shiver, because my sister loved this series and wanted to get Maggie Stiefvater to sign her books. The event was great, and ever since then I had been impressed with the author. I’ve actually been following Maggie’s blog for a long time, even though I hadn’t read any of her books until The Raven Boys last summer. In any case, because of all the hype surrounding the series, and because of how much I respect Stiefvater because of her blog, I had high expectations for this book. I have to say, I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be.

The Writing. My sister — as well as many other reviewers — mentioned how lyrical and beautiful Stiefvater’s writing is, and how that was one of the main draws for this series. I have to admit that I was not really drawn in when I read the first couple chapters of Shiver online. And after finishing this book, I have to say… Really? Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the likes of Laini Taylor, but I just didn’t really find that writing to be especially lyrical or beautiful at all. In fact, the only parts that *did* feel that way were the parts where Sam or Grace was quoting Rilke.

The Romance. I had a little trouble processing this. Grace is attacked by wolves as a child, one saves her from the others, and from that day forward she’s obsessed with wolves and falls in love with one? I mean, it seems weird, but I suppose I could also see myself doing the same thing. A traumatic experience like that might make one obsess over wolves, and focusing on the one that saved you sounds reasonable enough. I still don’t get why Sam would have been so entranced by Grace, though, while he was a wolf. Even though he saved her. He kept talking about how as a wolf they don’t have emotions, don’t really remember being human or human things, etc. So why would a wolf be so obsessed with a human for 6 years? Or is that just supposed to be part of the magic of their love?

Also, it was hard for me to sink into the story for the first 1/4-1/3 of the book, because Grace was already so possessive about the wolves, and “her” wolf. My wolf this, and my wolf that. Really? I kind of agreed with Olivia and Rachel about her needing to stop obsessing so much. O_O

Sam. Overall, I did like him (I mean, who wouldn’t?). Another thing I’m coming to grips with, though, is his self control — especially in regards to emotions — while human. With all the trauma from his past, and time spent being an emotionless wolf, it just seems like he would be a little bit more emotionally unstable. Well, maybe not unstable, just… I mean, why so chaste? I get that he wants to “do things right” with Grace because he only gets this one chance for love, but then it also seems like he would want to make the most of the limited time they have together and just fricking kiss her already.

The Emotional Pull. Okay, I have to admit that the ending did me in. Convinced me that I liked the book. I was actually sobbing slightly uncontrollably for a minute when I read the final sentence. The thing about it is that their feelings for each other (no matter how strange the origins) felt so palpable. The love felt real, and reminded me of how my husband and I feel about each other. This is why I bumped it up to 4 stars on my Goodreads rating.

But Still… I just don’t know if I want to read the other 2 books. This one ended nicely, I think. I don’t know if I want to read about new characters in Linger and Forever. I kind of want to just remember this as Sam and Grace.

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More of Shiver: goodreads | amazon | official website

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9 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. It’s a killer of an ending, isn’t it? I just hugged the book to me when I read those last words. And, actually, I would have been perfectly happy with it ending there.

    But I was surprised at how good LINGER was. FWIW.

    • Hmmm, really? What about Forever? My sister said she liked Linger okay but didn’t really like Forever as much. But I mean, if I’m going to read Linger, then I feel like I might as well just go ahead and finish off the series, you know?

  2. Your reviews always make me want to read the books, even when, like this one, it isn’t a genre or concept that im normally drawn too. (And oddly enough, even when your thoughts are less than positive I still want to read the books to find out what you are talking about.)

    • Haha, I know what you mean! When someone speaks negatively about a book, it often makes me want to read it too, so I can see if I agree with that assessment or whatever. That’s why I think it’s funny when some authors rage about negative reviews. Silly people.

  3. I have to agree with you about being in the middle, but I gave this one 3.5 stars. I have to agree with you about the prose, I didn’t find it particularly lyrical… Hmmm… And I have to say that I’m not sure whether I want to continue with the series, but I was under the impression it still follows Sam and Grace in Linger and Forever?

    Top notch review! :)

    • Thanks! Yes, Linger and Forever do continue to follow Sam and Grace, but they also introduce a new couple (I can only think of the guy’s name: Cole). I’m still undecided on whether or not I’ll read them.

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