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A few starting notes:
I didn't really have many preconceptions about this book - I knew it was YA, and a paranormal romance, so probably also ditzy. For those of you who aren't familiar with my own special brand of genre designation, ditzy is best described via personification - she's like a teen girl who keeps laughing in that way that sounds like dolphin noises. You know, the dolphin noises? Yeah, her.
When she was 11, Grace was attacked by wolves. Unlike most normal people, who would probably stay away from wolves after that, she becomes obsessed with them. Lucky for her these wolves are not quite what they appear to be. Cue a teenaged Grace, another kid getting attacked by wolves, and a heap load of s**t hitting the fan.
The character of Isabel is awesome sauce! At first, I didn't like her - because she's painted as the kind of girl that we're not supposed to like: popular, gossipy, b***hy, rich, and privileged. But after a while, she comes into her own. She rocks. Honestly, she makes up for all the craziness.
I also like Sam - it's nice to have a book where the boy is more in touch with his feelings than the lead girl. Plus, a slightly traumatised bookish boy who's head over heels in love, and plays guitar, is pretty much what any girl would fall over themselves for, lets be honest.
Ms Stiefvater also has some interesting twists on werewolf lore - can't say anything for fear of spoilers, but I was pleasantly surprised by the attempt to bring some originality to the genre.
Not so great bits:
There's some stuff in here that'll upset some people - negligent and sometimes abusive parents feature, references are made to self-harm and suicide attempts, and there's much blood 'n' gore and an unfortunate syringe scene (*shudders*) but it probably won't bother people who don't have the paralysing fear of needles that I do.
There's also some virginal sexy times involving older teens (I think they're 18, or close to it,) which may offend the sensibilities of some, but it doesn't get that explicit.
I found that the urge to slap Grace was pretty high - though she was better in a crisis than I thought she would be. Generally speaking though, she's not a character I really liked all that much. Who obsesses over the wolves that attacked you in such a creepy way? It just felt like she was a bit too cookie-cutter paranormal romance heroine (I'm talking Bella Swan levels) and that was slightly disappointing. But, like I said, she perks up in a crisis, so there is hope yet.
This is readable and enjoyable - and will certainly appeal to tweens and teens. Isabel and Sam are the saving graces - unlike Grace, who needs a suffusion of personality before the next book.
First published in a slightly longer version of this review on my blog: diaryofareadingaddict.co.uk
Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater is a mystery/ romance novel that is full of surprises. The main character Grace is attacked by a pack of wolves when she was just a little girl; they pulled her off her swing and dragged her into the forest that lingers behind her house. She remembers vaguely how she was bitten and bleeding, but somehow she remembers being carried back to her house. She is now 17 and every day she looks out of her window and sees her wolf. The black wolf with bright yellow eyes that always sits there watching her. She doesn't fear him. She loves her wolf. Then one day, the pack is responsible for killing a boy from her school. This causes the town to go on a crazy wolf hunt, and Grace finds a boy about her age lying naked on her back steps bleeding from a bullet wound in his neck. She rushes him to hospital and there he spills the beans, he's a wolf. Her wolf. As their relationship develops and grows into something special, more events happen in town that make it more and more impossible for them to be together.
This novel is stunningly romantic and tragic at the same time. This chilling love story will have you hooked from the very first page as it dives right into the story and leaves no wait to get into the drama. However as it reaches its peak and you find out the truth behind the pack, your heart will break and mend and break again. This isn't a novel of werewolf's and love like a terrible book we all know (Twilight); this is logical, scientific and tragic. This is the first part in a three part series and the way this novel ended I simply have to read the rest! I would have to give this story 8/10 and you just know it must be good knowing Maggie Stiefvater is the author!
I got given this book as a present and thought it looked a lot like twilight, which is why I was reluctant to read it. When I actually got around to reading it, I was pleasantly surprised. The story line of this book, is a pack of wolves outside of Grace's house. Grace got attacked when she was younger but she loves them. One especially. When a local boy, Jack, gets attacked and is presumed dead, the whole town wants rid of the wolves. Grace must protect them. Especially her wolf. I really liked it as it was a supernatural romance book but had a totally different feel to it. It felt like you could really imagine everything in the book. It was a struggle for me to get into the book, as there were a lot of words and chapters, but once I'd decided I was actually going to read it properly I couldn't get enough. I loved Grace and Sam's relationship as it felt real and sweet, not at all like others I've read. From this book, I think that the author, Maggie Stiefvater, is an incredible writer as, as soon as I'd finished the first book, I had to go out and buy the sequel and final book in the series. I loved the whole storyline of the girl and the boy, with other characters aiding to the brilliance. I particularly liked Isabelle, who although seemed cold in the first part, came to be a good friend for Grace and Sam. I think that if you disliked Twilight for being to cliche, you will like this as it's plot is very twisting and turning, keeping you turning the pages and is definitely not just a romance novel. My only doubts about the book was the huge amount of chapters, and the task of trying to find it in shops. (I looked in about four before I found it in a little shop).
Shiver is the first in a three part series by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm always looking for something different to read and the back of this book really caught my attention so I decided to take a chance and buy all three in the series.
I'm really glad I bought all three because I just couldn't put the book down and as soon as I'd finished the first I immediately picked up the second, and then the third after that! As much as I love reading, this is unusual for me. I tend to pick up other books in between or leave books for a few days and come back to them. With this I was reading it even if I only had time to read one page, just because I had to know what was going to happen next.
Shiver tells the story of Grace and Sam. As a young girl Grace was attacked by the wolves that live in the woods behind her house, but she survived and instead of fearing the wolves she became drawn to them. There was one wolf in particular who she was drawn to but she could never have imagined what would later happen with this wolf.
Sam has secrets. He had a bad experience in the past that led him to moving away from his life. He has a connection to the wolves that he can't share with anyone, but when he meets Grace everything changes.
The two meet after a local boy is killed by the wolves. The town go after the wolves in an attempt to shoot them and drive them away from their town. Grace helps Sam out when he gets in trouble and that's where the story really begins.
The story is told from both points of view so you really get to understand both characters well and you can't help but like them and the other characters that they meet throughout the story. You get to see how each event in the book changes them slightly and their thoughts and emotions to each one. I've read some books where you have a hero and he is uncertain to start with and then suddenly becomes brave near the end and that one final event changes who they are. Despite all that they go through the pair are never shown as heroes, they just do what they have to do. Each decision has an impact on them and allows their character to grow, as it would if you were really in that situation.
The book is supernatural, although I won't give away the storyline, but everything is explained logically, the characters feel real and it's quite easy to forget that it's not true. The author has clearly done her research on wolves, which really adds to the story.
The only downside to this book is the amount of blood. I don't like blood, but usually I'm ok with books as I can't actually see it! However, this did seem quite detailed at times (which is good for everything else), but it was mentioned so often that it was hard to just ignore it. Obviously this won't be a big issue for a lot of people but if you don't like the red stuff then you might want to skim through a couple of sections. Personally I felt it was mentioned a little more often than it needed to be, but it wasn't enough to stop me reading the story.
The RRP for this book is £7.99, but you can get it from Amazon for less than £5 and from The Works for just £1.99, which is a bargain.
Overall, I highly recommend this book even if you don't normally read supernatural/fantasy books. It's original, has great characters and before you know it you'll be on to Linger, the second book in the series.
I have at any given time, at least 60 unread books in my possession, this is due in part to a "book swap" scheme I run in my work place, effectively recycling old books to new homes, but also due to the fact I have a real addiction to the written word, and to my local cheap book shop "The works"!, with this book being acquired through the latter!
The book in question is "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater.
Grace has long been aware of the wolves that live within the wood that borders her house, as she was attacked by them when she was only five years old, with them dragging her off her swing then trying to eat her, though she does recall a very distinctive looking wolf with yellow eyes stopping them!
Since that time and for the last 11 years she has waited for the wolves to reappear to her, usually around Christmas time, and always the yellow eyed wolf, though he has always been too timid to get too close, she has always had a real sense of love and longing for him.
When a local boy is killed by the pack she may well face her worst fears, that being the shooting of her wolf, and even though the town lives with fear and suspicion of the pack, she can't hep the fascination she feels or them.
He has watched her from afar for years, with the last time he saw her being when he was doing a part-time job in the local bookstore, but even then (and even though she doesn't even look at him) Sam can smell her, a mixture of sweetness that is all Grace, and a strange and disturbing scent, the muskiness of wolf, though she maybe the only one who has been bitten by a werewolf and has never changed!
Will they ever meet?
This was an unusual love story, that (even though from the synopsis on the book indicating a love story) didn't quite pan out the way I was expecting, making this a fantastic if somewhat frustrating book to read, though most good love stories usually are!
Grace is a good but somewhat familiar character, very much like Bella Swan from the Twilight series, with her having many of the same traits, an aversion to the norm, and a fascination with the extreme, this made her instantly readable to me, as a fan of the Twilight series too I love the mixture of love and paranormal!
The character of Sam was a whole new take on werewolves though, as most books describe them differently to how they are portrayed within this book, I found it refreshing and at times painful and emotional to read, as the book describes it a "chilling love story", which it is and much more!
As you may have gathered I really enjoyed this book, offering many of the pre-requisites I love within a good book, love with a little resistance, and of course a very large obstacle that has to be overcome, this book I felt offered it all! Recommended!
Price wise this has a RRP of £7.99, but is currently being sold in "The Works" book shop as part of a "buy 3 for £5.00" deal.
Thanks for reading x
This book is about a average girl who has an obsession with a wolf pack that live outside her house in Mercy Falls, Minnesota. Grace, got this obsession when she was pulled from her tyre swing by the pack when she was young, she can't remember much but all she knows is that she somehow escaped the pack and lived.
She has then grown up and still the wolves stay around near her house, but one in particular, this wolf has piercing yellow eyes and a almost human personality. She often sits in the garden, reads and waits for her wolf. But he never arrives when its summer.
This story is about Grace, and her wolf, and why he disappears every summer. This is an amazing story about how she find out that her wolf has a deep secret. The eyes of her wolf were so distinctive that if she saw them she would know which is what makes this such a good way to introduce the twist in the plot. ( I won't say what it is in case i spoil it for you)
When the big secret starts to become more obvious the book makes you ask questions about the wolf and why Grace keeps on seeing his bright yellow eyes out of a wolfs body.
The book has a lot of tense moments that will make you want to read on forever! With these two there are endless possibility's to what they could do with the story in the next books. Even though it is a trilogy it doesn't seem to be at the end, I didn't realize that it was a trilogy until I Googled the name of it and it came up with the series. Two of the books are out at the moment but the third comes out in the Summer of 2011. The series are also winners of the best book to curl up with.
Over all, this is an amazing book. I would defiantly recommend this to anyone looking for a good book to read anywhere and everywhere!
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is the first novel in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It follows Grace, a teenage girl who was once attacked by the wolves living in the woods around her home town of Mercy Falls and who now has a close affinity with the pack, one wolf in particular. She meets Sam, a boy whose eyes bear a striking resemblance to "her" wolf. The pack is threatened when it is blamed for the death of a local boy, but all is not as it seems on the surface...
Over recent years there has been a slew of teen vampire novels, as following the success of Twilight, authors leapt on the bandwagon - sometimes churning out rubbish to keep the hordes of teen girls (and those of us who should be old enough to know better) happy. Maggie Stiefvater has continued the supernatural theme, but has stepped away from vampires and chosen wolves as her theme. This in itself is fairly refreshing - I like vampire fiction but it's nice to have something different to choose from.
The story of Shiver is relatively predictable when you look back on it: girl meets boy, girl is a little different, boy is very different, things go a bit pear shaped for them and their friends. However, the story is gripping and exciting while you are reading it; Stiefvater has managed to take an old model and write it in such a way that it reads as being quite fresh.
The book is structured so that we hear from both Grace and Sam in the first person. This has the effect of giving the reader both perspectives, but it also has the interesting effect of being very frustrating. The two are quite different, and so to read about one event from the point of view of Sam, who himself seems a bit confused about what Grace is feeling, means that the reader is also confused about her view of the event. Far from being off-putting, this has a page turning effect as you want to get to Grace's next section to find out her feelings.
On the whole, the main characters are well written, believable and pleasant. Grace and Sam make good leads, they are average teenagers that the reader can identify with. Unlike many books there is no obvious bad guy: this tag would be best applied to Shelby, a female wolf, but her role is underused. There is of course the requisite bitch-who-comes-good in the character of Isabel, and other high school stereotypes in Grace's friends Olivia and Rachel. The only character who is not believable is Rachel, who has been written as too over-the-top and is constantly talking about how "hyper" she is. However, her role is minimal so this can be overlooked.
Shiver is a well-written and highly enjoyable novel, which is not just for teens. For those who are fans of vampire and other supernatural fiction, it will come as a breath of fresh air after all the rubbish which followed Twilight.
Shiver has a cover which is fantastic and is so eye-catching that as soon as I walked into the book shop, I walked straight over and picked it up. Afterwards, I had to buy it (even if it was just for the AMAZING cover.) Let me tell you the book led to no dissapoitments and is thrilling novel about the love between a human girl, Grace, and a werewolf boy, Sam.
The story switches between both of the characters point of view and tell their love story through both of their sides. Grace is a girl who has always been obsessed by the wolves who live in the woods at the bottom of her garden but she is obsessed by one inparticular whose eyes have an almost human resemblance. Also, Sam is a werewolf in love with Grace since he saved her from being killed by his pack in one dreadful winter.
After one strike of fate when Grace finds out that a angry mob is going to kill her precious wolves because they belive they killed a young boy, she runs to try and stop them. And what do you think she finds? Sam injured after he had been shot and in his human form, she saves him and takes him to the hospital. This is where the romance begins.
This is an entrancing story which will have you drawn in on the very first page. It brought me to tears, made me happy and worried and gave me a huge sence of relief in the end which you will find out what I mean if you read it. It is a entrancing novel which any reader who is interested in supernatural novels will love.
The phrase don't judge a book by it's cover came to mind when I saw this but I couldn't help myself. I fell in love with it at first sight. But that was only the beginning.
Recently teenage books have been based on the supernatural and this was no exception. There have been plenty of Twilight saga copy-cats lurking around in book stores this past year but this is not one of them. The book is a classic boy-meets-girl story with a twist and I loved the slow but steady development.
The writing style ensured you were not stuck in one characters mind but that you were part of every event from every point of view. I found Stiefvater's take on Werewolves fresh and interesting and I have already begun the sequel.
One word of advice, the book has a strict genre and if you do not enjoy romance or supernatural themes this book is most definitely not for you. Overall it was a good read but not a great read. Definitely worth a go.
When I finished Shiver I remember the exact three words I said immediately after I'd closed the book: Oh. My. God. I'd just started reading (and obsessing over) YA fiction and this was (and is) one of my favouritest books EVER. I was really feeling the werewolf love back then- I mean, who DOESN'T?!!!!! Maggie Stiefvater is on of the most amazingest authors in the world and I think I might be in love with her a little bit.
I don't know to translate all these random, muddled up thoughts inside my head and put them here, so um, excuse me of my review doesn't make sense. (Q: Do they ever make sense?!)
Grace is seventeen. Six years ago, Grace was attacked by a pack of wolves in the woods, which are close to her home. During the attack, Grace finds herself focusing her attention onto one particular wolf; a wolf with strange, yellow eyes, the wolf who saved her. Ever since, Grace has watched the wolf from a distance. While he watches her. What Grace is unaware of though, is that her wolf has a name: Sam. And when summer arrives, and only then, Sam and the other wolves have a human body. Grace begins to obsess over the wolves and wonders about the mysterious boy with those striking yellow eyes...
The story follows Grace and what happens as she finally meets her wolf in his human form; as well as an action-packed sub-plot that interfere's with Grace and the safety of the wolves.
Maggie's word illustrate the novel beautifully. I just love how she describes the wolves, you can just imagine them, imagine reaching out to them! The scenery is picturesque, and the the fact that Grace lives on the edge of the woods is ideal for what she has in mind.
Stiefvater's style of writing is lyrical and touching, and I admire her hugely for that - a sign of a truly great writer. Sam is portrayed as a tortured soul who thirst for a sliver of happiness, and just when he's found it, he has to risk death to hold onto it. Grace is sweet, and outgoing and to put it plainly, damn awesome
There is such stunning realism displayed. Sam and Grace's relationship is an array of such insight and allure. Behind the complicating situation they are in, you can clearly see how incredible the two characters really are, how they don't deserve all of this, and how much they need to be together. It literally makes my heart break to just think about what's happening to them.
Grace and Sam's struggle to stay together, to fight the cold that threatens to separate then is deeply moving. You can practically feel the emotions zooming around inside their heads.
Shiver combines the supernatural and romance in a very clever way. The forbidden love, the family anguish, all just elements that makes this the captivating novel it is. The novel has an unusual air of mystery to it, it just hangs over, and I can't quite put my finger over what it is, but whatever it is is bewitching. This is such an unusual take on werewolves, it's enthralling and highly unforgettable and Stiefvater has created a realistic world that draws you in and let's you share its existence and I promise you, you won't want to leave.
This is an awesome read. From the very first page I was drawn into this story. It can be compared to Twilight New Moon in the sense of it being a love story between a werewolf and a human, but that is where the comparison ends, as this book stands upon its own merits.
The story is written from the view points of the main characters Sam and Grace, alternating regularly between the two throughout. I found that the story was so vividly written, that as I read it, I could almost envisage each scene, like watching a movie and it was very gripping.
This is the first ever book that I have read that has physically moved me to tears, as my emotions were stirred intensely as it came to a close.
I do not want to spoil the story for anyone, but there is a particularly beautiful moment when Sam takes Grace to a sweetshop and the description of it is quite intense.
I would recommend this book hghly as a must read. If you enjoyed Twilight you will love this!
So I'll admit it, I bought this book because the cover is very pretty and I like wolves... But I'm very glad I did. I know it won't be as big as Twilight as several of my friends have commented not so positively on it.
However, it's definitely my cup of tea (actually I hate tea, it's my cup of cappuccino then!)
I haven't read a book by this author before (Maggie Stiefvater, don't ask me how you pronounce her name!) but I'm very impressed. Her writing portrays the characters' emotions so clearly that whilst you are reading you feel yourself falling into that world.
As a young girl, Grace was mauled and nearly killed by wolves living in the forest bordering her garden. Thankfully, one wolf defends her and mysteriously takes her home, the look of compassion in his amber eyes almost, human. After a tragic turn of events, locals begin hunting the wolves. This leads to a boy lying on Grace's deck. He was shot. His name is Sam. His eyes are very familiar...
Grace learns more and more about the wolves, but the more she does, the more she loves Sam. But what will happen? Sam cannot stay human for long, but will their love remain?
I love the way in which this story is layed out; throughout the book you know that Grace and Sam's happiness can't last and Sam will have to leave forever. This element of the story creates suspense and also makes you pity the characters because they have an almost perfect life that they know is about to be ripped away from them.
I also really like the way that, near the end of the story, everything changes and things you think you know for certain, aren't actually true.
In my opinion, one of the best aspects of this book is the characters. Their strong emotions are very believable and don't feel over the top, despite the storyline. My favourite character is Sam because the author has made it so easy to sympathize with him and also because as the book gets closer to the end his actions become more rash and desperate as he struggles to stay with Grace. This quite sudden change of personality adds more depth to the book.
My only criticism is the lack of subplots. The story generally stuck with the two main characters and only a handful of others were introduced, although those that were included had decent sized parts, especially Beck, who cared for Sam since his parents abused and abandoned him. To be honest though, I really didn't mind this. The main plot was gripping enough to keep you interested until the last words.
I would recommend this book for teenagers-young adults. The story has no really 'inappropriate' parts although the main theme is love which may be too complex for younger readers to understand the motives behind characters' actions. There are also some descriptions of abuse by Sam's parents when they find out how 'unique' he is, though these aren't too vivid or grotesque at all.
I got this for about £6 from Amazon and it's defintely worth it! I would recommend buying from Amazon if you have an account as I saw this for about £10 in a high street bookshop the other day!(Can't remember for the life of me which one though!)
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of Twilight because the stories often run parallel, making them easier to compare. In my opinion this is better!
***Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater***
I am still on an urban fantasy quest and this was the latest offering recommended by Amazon, which I decided to give a go.
This is a story of wolves and shape shifting. It is told in the first person by the two main characters Grace and Sam. Grace was attacked by a pack of wolves as a child, but survived the attack. She was rescued by someone or something and ever since, has watched the wolves from afar and is not scared, but fascinated by them. In particular there is one wolf with yellow eyes that she repeatedly sees and is drawn to; there is something about him that almost seems human.
It is revealed that Sam is in fact a wolf that can change into human form. He was created by being bitten as a child. The interesting part of this is that it is triggered by temperature. When the weather turns cold - Sam changes into a wolf and stays that way over winter, until the warmer weather arrives. We also find out that Sam lives as part of a pack; some of whom are happy to exist as wolves and cannot understand Sam's yearning to go back to being human.
The story gets quickly going when a boy called Jack is bitten and thought to be dead. Yet, he has become a wolf unbeknown to the wider community. They seek revenge and set about hunting and killing the pack of wolves. Sam is shot in the hunt, changes to human form and Grace saves him and keeps him hidden in her bedroom.
The tension in the story comes from the need to keep Sam warm to avoid changing back and the fact that as time moves on, the wolves lose the ability to become human and remain as a wolf forever. Jack also complicates things by becoming violent and a danger to the wolf community.
This book falls into the teen romance category and features an interesting front cover that is black and white, with a hint of red - it stands out from the other books in this genre.
I avoided it for a while because the book appears to have horror connotations, which I subsequently found out, was definitely not the case - this is romance all the way, with the odd bit of tension thrown in here and there.
I quite liked the novelty of temperature being involved in the change from human to wolf and the tension this introduced when events took a wrong turn and they were locked out of the car etc.
Grace was quite an independent character, although yet again, there is the 'parent / child reversal', where Grace is the one looking after them, which gets a bit tired and predictable. I suppose their lack of interest explains how she is able to keep Sam hidden in her room undetected for weeks on end. Grace is quite pro active, assertive and is not the one being saved all the time, which is a bit of a change for this sort of book.
Sam is quite endearing and you feel for his anguish when he is frightened of changing into wolf from forever. Again, you find out that his parents let him down and so we follow the same cliché as the situation Grace finds herself in. Do none of these characters ever have normal loving families? Would that be so hard or detrimental to the story?
The language is a little flowery in parts and the lyrics to songs that Sam kept dreaming up, I found just irritated and bored me. I found the book was just littered with similes and metaphors, which just got on my nerves after a while - a straight description would do once in a while.
The story lacks pace in parts, but gears up towards the end, with enough left unsaid to warrant a sequel.
Overall, I would say it is worth a read if you are into this category and are looking for an alternative to vampires, fallen angels etc. It is not trite or patronising in tone, but it just lacks. Lacks that special sparkle that hooks you.
It is available from Amazon for £4.86, which isn't a bad price, but I don't think I will read it again and perhaps should have tried the library first. It was easy to read and I finished it in a couple of days.
***also on ciao under same username***
From previous reviews, you will be able to see that I'm a fan of Twilight and other teen fiction quite similar. This was a christmas present from my fiance as he was sick of finding copies of my books around the house and wanting to see me read something new.
Like any bookworm just the idea of fresh material is a joy to me - the genre was one I liked, albeit classed as teenage fiction and it was something a little more modern. Obviously the first thing I noticed was the artwork of the book. Mine is a black cover with white embossed branches and heart shaped leaves. I think the white on black is significant to the story because it displays the cold winter - which is a key theme in the story, against the black, unknowing - which could be the forest where mysterious things happen and how Grace, our main girl, doesn't know what will happen in her immeadiate future.
The story focuses on two points of view - Grace, the heroine, an intelligent and quiet introvert that is a little obsessed with the wolves in the forest...and Sam, another protagonist with secrets and a shady past. Of course the story focuses on the two falling in love but some of the themes the author touches are a little deeper.
In the first chapter we are thrown seven years back, into the past, when Grace was first attacked by the wolves. It's a little gruesome, but the story doesn't focus on any gory details which was relieving. Instead, the way she looks at the wolves eyes and the way she can't really seem to feel what is happening to her is much more significant. She notices one in particular that has bright yellow eyes, watches, despite his hunger. It is a mystery how she surrives....
We are then bought back to the present, and each chapter is written in the point of view of each character so it follows a kind of Grace, Sam, Sam, Grace, Grace, Grace, Sam etc kind of pattern. For me, this was refreshing, reading boths thoughts and feelings about the other, life and their past - Stiefvater has the right attitude and made it much easier to idenitfy with the characters for their unique reasons rather than everything being all one sided.
We learn that Sam is human, working in a bookstore and hoping for Grace to turn and see his eyes. "If she see's my eyes, she'll know who I am!" As of yet, they've not spoken to one another and we are thrown into the will she, won't she suspence. We learn that Grace has two close friends, Rachel and Olivia who both know about her wolf obsession and that a very petty fight between Grace and Olivia almost severs their friendship quite close to the start.
The moment where Grace meets Sam is quite harrowing. A recent attack on the community has lead local police and fathers to hunt down the wolves in the woods. Grace comes home after hearing the news, determined to protect 'her' wolf only to find a boy lying naked on her porch covered in blood. He was shot. The scene between them is both beautiful and hurried - displaying the need and urgency for Grace to get him to hospital. Whilst there, Sam reveals bits of his past that draw them quite close together and make them inseperable...
The main genre of the film is fantasy although, what I really liked about this book was the way the fantasy seemed real. The idea of werewolves is a little farfetched but Stiefvater really tries to sell the idea to the reader. The way she describes the transformation as always painful, how the cold affects them and triggers the transformation but most of all how they eventually turn into a wolf and never turn back. They live longer than average wolves, but they die. This is what I liked about it, there was no talk of immortals anywhere in the book which made the character more vulnerable.
Another key theme is abuse. The way Sam's parents treated him when he turned was very tormenting, they abused him and left him with scars - he was very young when he turned. However he is brought in and raised by Beck, one of the older wolves who teaches him to read and keeps him sheltered. He admires the way Sam wants to stay human and tries to stay human as much as possible but he is always feeling guilty about what he did.
Further to the two above, isolation and abandonment come into the story, very subtly at first. Grace is an introvert by nature, which has never been a problem for her. She likes her books, she's a good student and she's good around the house. However, her parents are too engrossed in their own lives and work that they don't seem to really notice her. Grace comes across as a mature seventeen year old and is often left home alone until the early hours of the morning. Until Sam really points it out she doesn't seem to notice but there are a few scenes were she breaks a little and to see such a strong character break is very sad.
Love is the happier theme, the way Grace loves Sam, love between friends and even love between siblings. It's what counts in the end...
Shiver is a great read, I took it on holiday and almost finished it on the way there (despite it being 18 hours long...) and its one that even when you're a little tired of reading, you pick back up a few minutes later. It's good some funny one liners, some sad and terrfying moments but is ultimatly a story of love - not quite as forbidden as some, but doomed right up until the last moment.
Shiver is retailing around £6.99 in stores but can probably be bought for the same or less online.
What a beautiful looking cover, its black, with leafy vines crawling around the sides, some dotted with red and the title in sketchy "shivery" writing in the middle. Although I (somewhat neurotically!) have my books stacked in the order in which I received or bought them and then that dictates what order I read them, my eye kept wandering to this book and eventually I decided that this one was far too tempting to let sit there gathering dust!
"Shiver" tells the story of a sixteen year old girl called Grace who falls in love with a wolf. I've read a review that calls this book "Twilight , the Jacob version" and I have to agree that this is an extremely accurate way of summing up this book. Like Twilight, it falls into the teen romance category but this is not something I realised when I got this book as the cover seems much more sophisticated and almost has a horror/thriller feel to it.
So upon reading the book, I was slightly taken aback to be reading another version of the popular vampire/werewolf genre that seems to have plagued 2009 and will certainly continue into 2010. Having said that, I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the Twilight series (the proof is here in my reviews!) as well as starting to read author Kelley Armstrong's "Otherworld" series about werewolves. Not all of my reading into this genre has been successful, I attempted to read "Midnights Daughter" by Karen Chance and was thoroughly bored, confused and finally disappointed and gave up after 4 chapters! As you can imagine, once I realised what sort of content to expect in this book, I read on with some trepidation.
Two main characters worth mentioning in this story, Grace and Sam. The story is told from alternate points of view from these characters and we start with Grace's apparent obsession with wolves. This may sound bizarre, but due to an incident when she was young, Grace has always looked for the wolves at wintertime, and especially the one wolf that saved her from being mauled by the rest. Equally, this wolf always finds Grace during winter, and the two form an unique bond. It soon becomes clear that the wolf with the yellow eyes is also the boy called Sam with the yellow eyes and before long, Grace meets her wolf in human form when his life is in danger.
Try as I might, it is impossible not to compare Grace to Bella from Twilight. I'd love not to, but anyone who is tempted to read this is likely to have read the Twilight series and would probably want to know how it lives up to the most famous of series. Well, Grace has some very similar qualities to Bella but I am relieved to sa.y, not half as annoying. (NOTE: after getting an outraged email from a twilight fan about my horrible review of Bella, I say this with total honesty and welcome any more silly emails about my horrible "assassination" of Bella!) Grace is gutsy and curious and her link with the wolves has some substance unlike the beginning of Bella's strange obsession with vampires and Edward in Twilight. Unlike Bella, she isn't a martyr to the cause and ready to sacrifice herself for the sake of wolves (like Bella with her vampire) but that doesn't mean she isn't likeable, she just seems more realistic. The way in which she is courageous is much more subtle and again she shares a trait with Bella; Bella stands out from other humans because of her unique smell and also that Edward is unable to read her mind like he does with other humans. Similarly, Grace is also unique in that she was bitten by wolves but remains human all year round but still has some senses that tie strongly with the wolves. Her link therefore to the wolves feels much more believable due to the experience she had.
Sam is also a very likeable character. Sam spends his life switching between his wolf form in winter months and his human form in the summer, the only characteristic connecting him is his distinctive yellow eyes. I liked how selfish Sam was at times and it made me feel that this would be how a normal eighteen year old boy in love would be. When he realises that Grace was bitten but would never change, he has moments where he wishes beyond anything that she could be like him so he can be with her forever, as he is aware that one day he will not change to human again. Compared to Edwards anger in Twilight when Bella declares she wishes to become immortal, this is a much more refreshing and honest thought! There is a lot of anguish and pain in the depiction of Sam that makes him an endearing and intriguing character, from his childhood through to his experiences as a wolf.
Like all teen books in this genre, the thread of this book is the romantic relationship between a human and a wolf. However, I felt that this book didn't glamourise wolves as Sam longs to be human and Sam and Grace try and keep Sam warm (and therefore human) as long as they can to preserve their relationship. In previous books, I've felt that there is in equal parts action and romance but in this one, the action is very much played down. In fact, it felt like the wolf part of the story was very secondary to the fact that this was just about two teenagers experiencing first love. It wasn't disappointing because of this and I didn't feel that anything was missing, but once again afterwards I couldn't help but feel that this book was seriously misrepresented.
I reviewed a book a couple of weeks ago whose cover completely represented the contents of the book, but this one couldn't be further from the truth although I can see how it works. The word shiver represents how the humans change into wolves when they get too cold, but my first instinct on that word is one of fear and horror. The cover is dark and the leaves are dripping blood, all representing the forest in which the wolves live and the blood of their victims, but I imagined something much more sinister.
This isn't a book that is going to be remembered and it isn't the most exciting of books that I have read in this genre. I think it might be quite hard to get a teen book to live up to Stephenie Meyers book although this one does take up a different stance. I think with teenagers this would be a massive hit, but it doesn't have the adult cross-over appeal that Twilight has which is a surprise as this one has some more overt sexual undertones and less slushy teen romance talk! The writing is well done but not magical, the characters are likeable but not outstanding. There just seems to be something really lacking in the story overall and I can't help but think its just one of those churned out type of books that could have done with a lot more thought to make really extra special. There are things, like the characters early development which were brilliant, but by the middle of the book, it was clear that the early excitement was extremely let down by a plot which was severely lacking.
Despite the ending of this book needing further explanation which I am sure will be looked at in the next book, as well as exploring how Grace can mysteriously NOT turn to a werewolf when everyone else who has been bitten turning into one, I won't be seeking out this author again. I might recommend it to my twilight-obsessed 13 year old cousin, who consequently shares the same name as the main character in this book!