Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Shiver

by Maggie Steifvater

Synopsis: (From Powells)
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.

Why I chose this book:  I had heard great things.  And thought the cover was beautiful.  And yes, have actually been wondering what it would be like to read a YA werewolf story that didn't involved Bella Swan.

My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for this book.  I really did.  After seeing it all over the place and hearing great things about it, I thought I might finally have a book that "caught" me.  Why did I have to be mistaken? (Note, I think I may ramble here.  Read at your own intrigue.)

Ok, this book was not horrible.  It had a lot of redeeming moments that did make me keep reading.  I was very interested in how the whole story would pan out, and wanted too see it through to the end.  Yes, there have been books I just set down and never finished.  I did finish this one.

Why the lower rating then?

First: The first few chapters almost made me feel like I was reading some sort of bestiality love story.  Honestly.  Grace didn't know Sam the Wolf was in fact human... but she was strangely obsessed and, yes, in love with him.  And then there is this wolf, who stalks her and watches her.  All the time.  Every winter.  Even when she is changing her clothes... I actually felt slightly weirded out a few chapters in.

After that I thought it would pick up some speed.  Instead, the book proceeded to mainly focus on Grace and Sam chilling at her house.  She acts like her friends don't exist anymore, skips school, and spends most of the days sleeping and eating.  Uh, exciting?  I kept waiting for it to pick up.  I would get hints.  I would finally get excited something would happen.  Then no, they took a nap instead.

I did like Sam.  There was enough depth to him that I felt I could connect and potentially like this wolf man.  But Grace... I just didn't like her.  When it gets the point that one friend has gone pretty much missing, a boy in school has been killed, her parents act like she isn't even alive, (and oh the list goes on)... she doesn't even flinch.  Grace does not care.  All she cares about is Sam.  And granted yes, love does that to you.  But when one of your best friends suddenly goes strange, missing, wolf marks on her font door, all that, you would think you would at least check in on her and see if she is, oh, alive?  Not just leave a voice mail.  The fact that Grace held no real connections, or love, for anyone at all except Sam made me almost despise her.  I couldn't root for her, really, because she really had nothing to lose.

Phew.  Had to get that out.

As far as antagonists go... I believe the antagonist in this book was Winter.  As in snow and cold and brrr.  Every so often another living character would be set up to be the bad buy, but that would be short lived and pretty much unresolved.  There were some loose ends that never got tied, and that drives me nuts because I wanted to know what the heck those stories were.   Maybe they will be explained in Linger (book two)... but do I really have to wait and read that to feel complete with this story?

Oh, and though Twilight has seemed to set a precedence for insta-love that shall never be disputed... does every YA novel have to dapple in that now?  From the moment her eyes and his wolf eyes met, they were in love.  And after that, well... it fell into the "she wants to do it and he wants to be a gentleman" story line.  I don't know.  Overdone much?

Ok ok.  Like I said, I had things I did like.  I loved the idea of this story.  I had no issue with the fact that Stiefvater redid all the mythology behind werewolves.  I like the fresh take on things.  There were moments that made me smile and remember teenage love.  That made me mad and want to bite someone's jugular out.  That made me laugh.  Yet when it comes down to wanting to give an honest review... I just can't say that I loved this book.

Now, after going through even more reviews that I have discovered, I have come to find the same ratings as mine.  So I don't feel as bad.
I will most likely read Linger, someday, in hopes that it redeems my sadness.  Let us hope...

My Rating:

 (2 out of 5 stars)


Brad Jaeger said...

I expected as much. Thanks for the honest review :)

Patricia Lynne said...

I started reading it and enjoyed it but ended up putting it down for a reason I can't remember. One day I will pick it up and finished and hopefully still enjoy it as much as I had been.

"Oh, and though Twilight has seemed to set a precedence for insta-love that shall never be disputed... does every YA novel have to dapple in that now?"
OMG YES! I have held off buying YA books because that's all I'm seeing. Girl meets boy w/ mystery, they fall madly in love and nothing else matters even though his secret could kill her. Please! Give me something new (wait, I'm trying to write something new... still! Enough already.)

Trisha said...

I vaguely recall reading another review of this that said similar things. Eek!

The insta-love thing bothers me too, but so does the "OMG this guy is my ENTIRE LIFE, NOBODY ELSE MAAAATTERS." Who wants a friend like that? ;)

Julia Broadbooks said...

I finally got to ask my daughter about the book. She said the wolf love affair didn't thrill her either. She didn't even make it halfway.

I don't read too much YA lately. She is rereading one that we both read at the same time: Wicked Lovely. That is dark enough that it's not for very young teens, but I really like Marr's writing.


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