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Friday, August 7, 2009

"Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's Website Here
Order Shiver at Amazon Here

INTRODUCTION: Normally I'm not one to look into paranormal romances, Twilight has had no appeal to me and the same goes for the rest of paranormal romances that I've come across. However when I read about the idea behind Shiver, a werewolf falling in love with a girl, something about the storyline peaked my interest and got me reading.

Maggie Stiefvater is a YA author known mostly for her contemporary novel Lamet, a "paranormal" romance that involved dangerous faerie assassins.

sequel to Shiver, Linger is scheduled for a Fall 2010 release.

OVERVIEW: When Grace was younger she was attacked in her backyard by a pack of wolves. No one in the area knows why the wolves decided to attack or even how she survived an attack that should have killed her. Grace knows the reason that she is still alive today is due to the fact that a certain wolf stood up to the pack and helped her in her time of great need. From that day on Grace has had a very special connection the "her" wolf. She sees the wolf in the woods behind her house every winter, but magically it disappears during the summer. An unexplainable bond between the two has formed.

Six years later,
Grace finds out the truth about the mysterious disappearance of the wolf in the summer. The wolves in the back of her house are actually werewolves that change not by the moon cycle but instead by the temperature. When it's hot out they are human but during the colder winter months they are wolves.

After a sting of events
Grace finally meets Sam (her wolf) and a beautiful romance forms between the two of them. The only problem is that tensions are high in the city as there was another more public wolf attack and this time the boy that was killed is missing.

Shiver follows the events leading up to the romance of Sam and Grace. The point of view switches between both of them. Readers are introduced to Graces life at school along with her two best friends. While Sam focuses on staying human so he can spend time with Grace and learning more about the life of the pack (other werewolves who have formed a family like environment together).

At over 400 pages,
Shiver is a paranormal young adult romance, that switches between the Points of views of Sam and Grace.

ANALYSIS: Usually books that are written in the first person can grow stale after a time as the point of view is very limited and readers only see one side to a lot of events that are happening. This isn't the case in Shiver.

Maggie Stiefvater has a way with writing that pulls the readers in almost instantly. I was well over 100 pages into the book before I realized how much I had actually read. There is a beautiful style to the writing that readers can really appreciate. There is alot of time spent on developing not only the main characters of Grace and Sam, but also the characters of Grace's friends and a little bit on Sam's wolf pack.

Another plus of the writing was that it followed not only the emotions of the characters but there was an actual plot line to the romance. Although the bulk of the book focused on the love between the two characters there was the subplot of werewolves and learning about the pack. There was also the storyline of
Jack, a fellow classmate who was been killed by a wolf attack. Having a secondary plot does help for those that aren't as into paranormal romance as others.

The different take on how a werewolf might change with the weather does bring an interesting aspect to werewolves. At the time of reading I was a little disappointed to see that there wasn't a lot of focus on the wolf pack or the others in the pack. As there were subplots with
Grace's friends it would have been nice to see more plot line with Sam's friends. However, my thoughts have been answered and there is a sequel to Shiver in the making that focuses more on the wolves.

Although, the writing was excellent there are a few drawbacks throughout the novel that made it hard for me to get into the story completely.

First, is the length of the book. Although the writing was strong and really grabbed my attention a part of me felt the book was just too long. In typical romance style the romance started out strong and just seemed to drag on. There were many chapters of really no significance to the storyline or building the romance part of the story. I feel as though if a 100 pages were cut it might have made my experience a little bit more enjoyable. My attention started to wander at about page 200, and I found myself skimming the book until the ending. The beginning and the ending were very attention getting but the middle just seemed to be there.

Second, as some YA books happen to have there are a lot of inconsistencies. As long as the reader can set aside a part of reality and not ask to many questions the book makes for a great read. However there are a lot of events throughout the book that a common person might question the validity of such actions. For example: a mysterious boy stays overnight for a lengthy period of time in a house with the girl and her parents. Never once do the parents find out about the boy or seem to notice. The dad neglects the girl and almost kills her but she seems to have no resentment over the fact that she could have died because of him. These little
inconsistencies might be a hindrance to some readers.

Lastly, was the timing of the book. There were times where I could have sworn that the plot was months into it, and then something will crop up and I'll find that a week or so had passed. This could go with the reality factor, but it was a little hard for some readers to follow the time line. There were times when things seemed to happen so quickly, such as
Grace falling in love with Sam. Then there were times when stuff didn't seem to move fast enough, such as Grace not asking how Sam became a werewolf or the story behind the pack of wolves.

In the end
, Shiver was a beautiful paranormal romance even if it was a little bit on the long side. With the right reader this will be a great read and one that could be read over and over again. For those that aren't as into paranormal romances this might not be the one that'll grab you into this style of books. However, the unique idea behind the werewolves got my attention and I will be waiting to see what happens in the sequel to this book.


Charlotte said...

"as most YA books happen to have there are a lot of inconsistencies"

Gee, that's a bit of a blanket statement.

Cindy said...

Maybe I shouldn't have said "most" but some YA books and a lot that I've run into aren't as detailed and consistent as adult books.

Cindy said...

I should also mention I've read 100s of YA books, so maybe it's just the ones that I've read. But the ones that appeal to adults are usually focus more on details, then say the romance and love of two people.

Anonymous said...

"piqued" my interest, I think you mean.

Charlotte said...

Interesting point viz detail vs. relationships--I shall go off and think about that!

Cindy said...

I've been thinking for a while of doing a weekend piece on YA lit, because it's soooooooo broad. There's books that appeal to adults but not teens that are labeled YA, there's teen only books, there's books that only appeal to kids that are in the YA section (kids meaning 8-10) I'm not sure many 8 year olds are browsing the YA section.

Not that this is the case with this book, but right now paranormal romance is in (Wings, Twilight) and just like when HP was popular tons of kids without parents found out they had magic skills and were wisked away to magical schools, I think that might happen with this type of book. There's an overload factor that's kinda sad in any of the book fields.

But like I said the writing of the book is really good, and if you like this type of book it's wonderful. It's just not the hooker book that'll get people started/or liking YA novels.

trish said...

Cindy, I completely agree with you on this book, and based on your review I may just actually finish it. I'm about half way through and have the same problems with it you have, and when I mentioned them to a friend, she said something about me being jaded. I'm all for a good love story, but I felt like there was absolutely no development of the love between Grace and Sam. It's just, Boom! they're in love. There's hardly any getting to know each other (until a little later), and there's no awkwardness at all, and it was just a little too pat for me. Also, I thought the parents being there but being absent is just such a cliched part of the story. It's a good YA book, but I don't think it's as fantastic as it could have been.

Cindy said...

I just think there should have been no mention of the parents compared to such a big part they played in the book. If there was no mention and they were shadow characters I don't think I would have had issues.

It was good but not great, I didn't walk away wishing I had that time back in my life like some books but I do think if the build up to the romance had been there I might have felt a little more connection to the book!


i absolutely loved this book..i would love to play grace in a movie !!


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