by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I missed the Shiver series train when it came out a few years ago and I’ve always been curious about what I missed, so when Amazon was offering the kindle version of the book for a $1.99, I jumped aboard. Reading Shiver was an emotional roller coaster ride, but not always in the way I think the author wanted it to be. My opinion of Shiver fluctuated while reading more than almost any other book I’ve ever read. At ten percent through the novel, I felt quite uncomfortable as Grace, our protagonist, is obsessed with her wolf. I understand that the yellow-eyed wolf saved her life, but I couldn’t get over the unhealthy obsession Grace had. So when the wolf shows up as Sam and I’m suppose to buy into their instant love, I couldn’t quite get into it. I kept reading though, and my uneasiness subsided into general boredom.
At about forty percent through Shiver, I was ready to put it away. I was bored, lacked interest in the plot, and couldn’t really follow the romance. However, because I’m stubborn I kept reading hoping it would get better. And unlike what normally happens when I assume such a thing, it did.
I loved the last half of this book, and I don’t know why. The entire first half I spent time being uneasy and bored, but around the halfway mark I started to feel myself rooting for Sam and Grace. Their romance fell into an easy rhythm that was much more believable, I enjoyed the story lines, and I actually was eager to know what happened next. The writing, which had been beautiful from the very beginning, hooked me even more. When Grace and/or Sam felt sad, I felt sad. When they had a victory, I celebrated too. Somehow, I became attached to the characters. I also really enjoyed Sam’s exploration of his humanity and how he wanted to stay Sam, in contrast to his wolfish nature. It’s a really great look at what it means to keep your own humanity.
At the last half of the book, all the things that make this story unique really stand out. Maggie Stiefvater is a really beautiful writer. She writes sentences that make me want to curl up next to the window and listen to someone speak her sentences all day. I really appreciated the characters of Sam and Grace, and how they’re not your typical romantic leads. Grace is the practical, less emotional one, whereas Sam is an artists at heart, creating songs and poems in his head during every moment.
In the end, though, I’m perplexed what to rate/how to recommend this book. The last half was really stunning and I was completely captivated, but the first half was a little strange and made me uneasy at times. Ultimately, I think this is a worthwhile book that really establishes Stiefvater as a wonderful writer, and I’ll definitely pick up some of her other books(I’ve heard only good things about The Raven Boys), but I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting this book.
Final Impression: Beautifully written, but the beginning with Grace’s obsession with the wolfs was a little too unhealthy for me. I loved the second half, though, and despite my misgivings I ended up falling in love with the characters. I’ll average my review into around a 3/5 stars, but I would say that while I absolutely loved the ending, this book is definitely not for those who don’t like slow-paced stories.