Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver, Linger, Forever
There are werewolves, and then there are Sam and Grace. And Cole.
Have you ever read a trilogy and realized it was just a long prology? This happened to me, no fault of Maggie Stiefvater, but the fact I read Sinner before Shiver.
Shiver was my second Stiefvater book. After Sinner, it felt a bit plain at first. This is a slower, more delicate story. But it grows through the book and in the end I was glad I could hop on to the next one in series, Linger, right away. It would have been too painful to wait for a year (or more).
Shiver tells the story of Grace, a girl whose parents are emotionally neglecting her and who has a life changing experience of a meet up with wolves. Now in her teens, Grace stumbles on her hopes and fears as Sam appears in the scene. They become inseparable, for want and necessity alike. This puts a little bit strain on the credibility of the setup Stiefvater has created, so much so, that apparently she recognized the need to address the issue in the story itself. As Sam is trying to remain human, he is also forced to remain in Grace’s house, unknown to her parents, basically dependent on Grace.
In the next book of the series, Linger, the problem is shoveled up into the faces of the readers and a confrontation with Grace’s parents is inevitable. The reactions of the parents and Grace’s relationship with them take a more and more prominent stage. At the same time Grace is under a new threat, this time directed against her.
Linger has plenty of the same beauty that Shiver, but the frustrating situation with Grace’s parents felt a bit too frustrating to read too. In this book Isabel has a bigger role and Cole St. Clare makes his entry and these two characters pretty much steal the show.
Forever is the culmination of the story of Sam and Grace. Their love is peaceful and natural – like an old couple, except they’re teenagers and fighting for their lives as wolfs. How does Stiefvater manage to combine these two opposite elements? But even more than a closure for Sam and Grace, this book is the real beginning for Isabel and Cole.
Forever brings the story of the werewolves to an inevitable climax that has been in the air since the first book, with a solution that gives each main character a decisive role – well suited to their personalities.
I’ve pretty much stayed clear of other werewolf stories (yes, there’s some werewolves in Harry Potter and Mortal Instruments series) so I can’t make many comparisons, but I think Stiefvater’s creations are quite elegant. When wolves, the characters are real wolves and it adds another level to the story. Can we ever really relate to another species? Our senses, perception of the world and desires are so different. Yet, we share some fundamental similarities: a need to survive and a want for pleasure. The question is where do these two things take us?
Stiefvater’s trilogy took me back to reread the Sinner – a spin off telling the tale of Isabel and Cole in California.
”The pack circled around me, tongues and teeth and growls.
When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace’s small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can’t help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There’s something about him – something almost human.
Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away…
A chilling love story that will have you hooked from the very first page.”