Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buddy Read with Micheline of Lunar Rainbows Reviews

To Sum It Up: Six years ago, Grace Brisbane was saved from an attack by a pack of wolves—by another wolf with yellow eyes. Whenever the weather turns cold, the wolf returns, and although it keeps its distance, Grace can't help feeling that a connection exists between them. That's because the wolf is also a human named Sam, who's never forgotten about Grace. Sam's remaining days as a human are severely numbered, however, and it seems he's destined to live out his life as a wolf.

Review: As a rabid fan of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle series, reading her Wolves of Mercy Falls series was a must for me. And with the final Raven Cycle book still months away, well, I needed to get my Stiefvater fix somehow. So this was an ideal time to dive into Shiver.

The cold plays an integral role in this werewolf story, and, unsurprisingly given her prodigious talent, Maggie Stiefvater never lets you forget about it. Even living in a warm climate where it still feels very much like summer although it's almost fall couldn't keep me from believing that I needed a parka whenever I picked up this book. Every sensation and mood that can be associated with winter made its presence known within the pages of Shiver. The imagery is simultaneously gorgeous, haunting, and somber, as befits the overall tone of the novel.

I was pre-warned that this is a sad read, and I found that to be true. As Sam’s backstory unfolds, it just becomes more and more anguishing. I wouldn’t call it angsty, though; if anything, Sam has borne it all without devolving into self-pity. And just when Sam finally, as a human and not as a wolf, gets to know Grace, whom he’s fallen in love with over the six years since he saved her from nearly being killed by the rest of his pack, that damned cold stands between them. Dropping temperatures cause Sam to shift, and very soon, he won’t be able to fight off the change at all.

As the novel went on, I was surprised by how invested I became in Grace and Sam’s struggle to stay together. I’ve said it in a few other reviews: I’m far from being a romantic. Gooey love stories aren’t my cup of tea, so if the romance ends up being my favorite aspect of a book, it has to be nothing less than phenomenal. I admit to feeling a bit iffy about Grace and Sam’s relationship at first; it seemed like we were headed for another case of insta-love. But the more that I considered how they had a link from the day that he rescued her and that bond then continued to develop over six years, the more I came around to the intensity of their feelings for each other. Ah, analyzing matters of the heart is such a subjective thing, especially for someone whose brain is so ruled by logic like mine is.

Reading Shiver reminded me how much I absolutely adore Maggie Stiefvater’s prose; you could set it to music, just as it is. Once again, I can’t quite believe that I’m saying this, but it’s the truth: I LOVED the romance in this book. I desperately wanted Grace and Sam to find a way to be with each other as much as they did. Now, please excuse me while I resume trying to figure out just what the hell this book did to my heart.

All in All: I had really high expectations for this because of all the love that I have for The Raven Cycle, and I was not disappointed. Shiver is a beautifully written story that I’m very happy to have read at last.


  1. Sigh, GORGEOUS review Lee^^ Absolutely gorgeous ♥ The cold played such an integral part of this story, you could feel it in the atmosphere, in the character's's like it was it's own character! And I had no idea going in that this would be a sad read, but I think you're right on that count too! Sam's story is horribly tragic but I appreciated the lack of a pit-party on his end.

    Like you, I was (REALLY) surprised by how invested I became in the romance. I don't read for ships, they just tend to be an added bonus if they're good. But in this case, it was my reason to keep turning the pages. I NEEDED to know if these two people would find a way to be together. Plus, their romance was incredibly swoony and addictive XD Oh and the prose. THE.PROSE. Maggie Stiefvater is a GODDESS!

    1. SHE. IS! The way she basically personified the cold- amazing; you're absolutely right- it was as though it was a character. And I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I fell so hard for the romance here, lol. But it was so magnificently done that I couldn't stop myself from loving it. ❤

  2. I read this one so long ago that it's hard for me to even remember it all though I know the first one sticks with me more than the others. I know that there did seem to be an insta-love feeling, but I was ok with it though like you said it was a pretty sad story. I agree too that the presence of winter was well-felt while reading. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I haven't read The Raven Cycle though I've heard you discuss it before.

    1. The Raven Cycle is the series that I push on EVERYONE, lol. I'm very late to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but I'm glad to finally be catching up. I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of the books! :D

  3. It's been a long time since I read this. Is the cause for the werewulf virus explained here? I loved that part, definitely unique myth and she made is plausible.

    And it is so very sad! I saw this video of her book signing where she shared how she came up with this book.She said she was reading Twilight and felt very sad so she vowed she will write an even sadder book. Twilight was sad for me in a different way, wasted my time on that. But this, this series is the good kind of sad! OMG!

    1. The virus hasn't been explained yet- that was definitely something I was left wondering about! Very interesting backstory behind the origin of this series; Shiver did make me think of Twilight at times. It seems like I enjoyed the latter a lot more than you did, lol!


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