Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

January 18, 2010 Review 15

Review: Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterShiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on August 1st 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Sexual Content: Teenagers sleep in the same bed together many times. Sex is implied once but not described.
Reviewed by: Abigail

From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT. 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.

I can count on one hand the number of books that I have physically clasped to my chest upon finishing. As if by that action I could keep that feeling in my heart forever.  Shiver is now one of those books.

I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. They were licking me, biting me, worrying at my body, pressing in. –Shiver

In a way, Shiver made me think of the movie Ladyhawk (1985), in which lovers (Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutegar Haurer) were cursed to live as animals, she as a hawk during the day, and he as a wolf during the night. Only during those brief moments of dusk and twilight could they see each other as humans. The idea is still deeply romantic (something the movie didn't quite pull off), and Maggie has captured that deliciously tense longing perfectly.

It is immediately obvious that Maggie writes beautifully.  Hauntingly, painfully, beautifully. And her characters are as bright and crisp as the winter they dread. Chapter by chapter, the book switches first person perspectives from Grace and Sam, the majority of which are Sam's.  As characters, they are a study in complimentary contrasts.

Sam is an old soul. He's thoughtful and poetic in how he interprets the world around him. He is consumed with words; their sound, their lyrical quality.  He often composes song lyrics in his mind throughout the book. He is all to aware of their absence for him when he is a wolf. And he possesses that one quality that unites all great men: the capacity to love so completely that it encompasses every fiber of their being. For Sam, Grace is his world.

Grace is practical to a fault, at least in the eyes of her rather free spirited parents. She is passionate and brave. She holds her emotions close, but feels deeply. She is resilient in a way that those around her can scarcely fathom. She longs for that one person to connect with mind, body, and soul, but the more rational part of her doesn’t really expect him to come.

In addition the the writing and characters, what I especially loved about this book was the sense of desperation that the author created. The inevitability of Sam returning to his wolf form, possibly forever, juxtaposed with the certain knowledge that Grace and Sam belonged together, that separating them would just as certainly destroy them both.

Every paranormal story about first love will automatically be compared to Twilight, and Shiver is already no exception. The stories and characters in the two books are radically different, but the emotions evoked by both are wonderfully similar. This story of girl who falls in love with a wolf who can only resume his human shape during the summer, will touch your heart, and the writing will delight your senses.  Shiver is the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy.  Book two, Linger, will be released July 20, 2010.  I’m off to pre-order it.

15 Responses to “Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. Caitlin

    I loved this book! Every time I read a review on this book, I want to read it over and over again. I totally agree with you, this is one of those books you just want to keep in your heart always!

  2. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    I can't believe I waited as long as I did. Of course that means I don't have to wait as long for Lament.

    As soon as I finished Shiver I added all of Maggie's backlist to my wishlist. If they are half as good…yippee!

  3. Christina

    Awesome review. I will definitely add this to my reading list. I must say that I love how you include a sexual content to your reviews. Thank you!

  4. Donna [F.D. Ramblings]

    "I can count on one hand the number of books that I have physically clasped to my chest upon finishing. As if by that action I could keep that feeling in my heart forever." <-- That right there makes me want to grab this book off my bookcase and read it now. But I'm trying to hold off until it's a little closer to Linger's release date. Terrific review!

  5. ck.twilighter (Chasity)

    YAy!! I loved this book as well!! I just finished Ballad and Lament before that!!
    Maggie is an amazing writer hands down!!
    I have shamelessly been recommending all her books.
    She is amazing and I am closely following all her works.
    If you liked Shiver you will love the writing in Lament!! On my blog I posted my a quote I really like!!=)