Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

shiverI was never afraid of him. He was large enough to tear me from my swing, strong enough to knock me down and drag me into the woods. But the ferocity of his body wasn’t in his eyes. I remembered his gaze, every hue of yellow, and I couldn’t be afraid. I knew he wouldn’t hurt me.

I wanted him to know I wouldn’t hurt him.

I waited. And waited.

And he waited, too, though I didn’t know what he was waiting for. It felt like I was the only one reaching out.

But he was always there. Watching me watching him. Never any closer to me, but never any farther away, either,” (pg. 6,7).

Grace Brisbane has watched the wolves in her backyard for a long time, particularly the yellow-eyed one who watches her back. The attack and killing of a local boy by the wolf pack leads Grace to discover that the yellow-eyed wolf she has come to love is actually Sam Roth, a shape-shifter who spends his winters as a wolf and the warmth of summer as a human.

Now that they have discovered one another, Grace and Sam must overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds in order to stay together.

What I loved: I’m not a huge fan of ‘supernatural’ books, so I liked that Maggie created her own spin on the werewolf myth. By eliminating the full moon, silver bullets and other magical aspects, she has crafted creatures who seem like they could actually exist in the real world. Mythological creature purists might beg to disagree, but that’s just something with which they’ll have to learn to deal (and I suspect they will after reading this lovely book).

Maggie also has a knack for creating believable, accessable, sympathetic characters, which is quite important to me. I’ve found I can often put up with a less than stellar plot if a book has good characters. As much as I loved Luke and Deirdre (and James!) in Maggie’s Lament, I might like Grace and Sam even more. Grace is level-headed, practical, and logical, while Sam is a creative, romantic dreamer. They might appear to be complete opposites, but together they bring out the best in one another. Sam encourages Grace to experience the world with all of her senses, and Grace shows Sam that she would go to any length necessary to defend and protect him.

It’s not often I’m moved to tears by a couple’s journey together and the trials they undergo (I frequently roll my eyes at the Hallmark channel’s sappy romance movies), but Maggie’s done it with this pair. Brava, for creating a heartbreakingly beautiful story, and characters about which I truly care.

On the flip side: I have to wait a year for the sequel, Linger. Say what? Fall of 2010 can’t come quickly enough. Oh, and I don’t have access to a candy shop like the one Sam takes Grace to in Duluth. Just you wait until you get to chapter forty-three . . .

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