Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review: Shiver


As I read Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, the temperature outside shrank to the single digits. So, I kept the wood stove burning and curled up under some quilts and read Shiver in one night. It was perfect.

So here's my synopsis of Shiver. Grace is obsessed with wolves. She lives in Minnesota, where (apparently) wolves are an every day sight. When she was young, she was attacked by a pack of wolves while playing in her backyard. Amazingly, one wolf stopped the pack from killing her and brought her to safety. Grace develops a love for this wolf because he hangs out around her house for the next six years, watching her from a distance. As it turns out, her wolf is actually a werewolf. Grace finally meets her wolf in human form when he changes during the late fall of her senior year of high school. Now, Grace and her werewolf, Sam, need to spend as much time together as possible before he changes back to being a wolf forever.

I loved this book. Sure, I thought that there were some holes to the story and a ton of loose ends, but there's a sequel called Linger that's coming out in July. I feel like Stiefvater has a lot to explain in the next book, and I bet she will. Reading this book reminded me of my first reading of Twilight. I know that some of you are not huge fans of the Twight series, so you may be happy to read that I felt like Shiver does a lot that Twilight does not.

Here's what Shiver has over Twilight:

-Grace, the female lead, is smart and strong and capable. Not so true of Isabelle in Twilight.

-Grace has solutions and answers to problems and actually saves the male lead a million times over the course of the book, rather than him saving her.

-The book is narrated equally from the perspective of Grace and Sam (the werewolf).

-I actually liked that the book was less than 400 pages, versus the 500-800 page range of the books in the Twlight series.

-I loved the inclusion of the temperatures to start each chapter. It definitely focused my reading experience and gave me some anxiety. Nice touch.

-Both Twilight and Shiver allude to other writers. In Twilight, there are allusions to Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and to Pride and Prejudice. For me, some of these allusions felt a little too contrived and even corny at times. Shiver, though, has turned me on to Rainer Maria Rilke. I've read some limited selections of his poetry before, but now I am ordering his entire collection. Steifvater includes lines from Rilke's poetry in a subtle, seamless way that made me want more, whereas I caught myself rolling my eyes at the allusions in Twilight.

So, I now have added Linger to my amazon wishlist. I've read the plot description and cannot wait to read the actual story. I am hooked.

**This book review counts toward my participation in the Young Adult Reading Challenge and the To Be Read 2010 Challenge. Both are worthy causes!

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