Review: Shiver

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf – her wolf – is a haunting 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 and the temperature drops, Sam must fight to stay human or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

This book was just amazing. Beautiful, and sad, just how Grace describes Sam. It was hard to put down, and when it was over, I was like, wow.

Writing: 4.5 wings

The prose was poetic. It was the reason I bought the book–it just seemed to have this higher-calibre air to it while I was reading the sample on my Kindle, in comparison with some of the other samples I read around the same time. Maggie Stiefvater definitely has a gift.

The one thing I did find confusing at times were the points of view. The story alternated between Grace and Sam, but the writing style was the same for both characters. If it weren’t for the chapter heading, I wouldn’t have known who was speaking. The back and forth between them was an effective device, however, especially at the end.

Plot: 4.5 wings

It’s not a quick pace read. It’s a story that happens over time, but just the right amount of time. Everything flows together nicely, and both the story and the character developments tie up, for the most part, at the end. Nothing is forced; things happen because of the characters’ particular desires and ambitions, instead of the author imposing story upon the characters.

Characters: 5 wings

The love story between Sam and Grace was well-developed. At first I was worried that it might be happening to fast, but looking back at the story as a whole, it was well balanced. They have an easy way about them, and don’t have many dramatic moments where you feel the author has forced them to be at odds.

The secondary characters were fairly well showcased, each with different motivations and interests and feelings. I got the sense of each one being an individual, like I could pick one out and see that he or she had a separate story that could be told, say, in novella form. Sometimes that’s hard to get with side characters.

Overall: 5 wings

There was very little, if anything, that I didn’t like about this book. The great thing about Shiver is that even though there are two sequels (one of which is not yet released), it doesn’t need them. There weren’t many loose ends to tie up. I will read the next book because I want to know more about the werewolves and their backstories, and what other adventures are in store for Grace and Sam.

Shiver is available in most bookstores, and through Amazon.