BOOK REVIEW – Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie StiefvaterShiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
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“I miss being me. I miss you. All the time.”

One thing is for certain: I will always, always adore and love Maggie Stiefvater and her beautiful writing. I have been in a stifling two week lack of focus for books due to outside circumstances and extreme exhaustion. I read this book so slow I felt like I was going in reverse (for my normal reading speed). But this is why I chose a Maggie book. I wanted a not-so-light but completely engrossing book, and that is what I got. I knew that with my schedule for the past two weeks this book was perfect-and while it wasn’t a home run like her other books I have read, I still loved the world she created and she still made me want to read the second book with the final lines of Shiver.

For once in my life,
I was here
and nowhere else.

The reason that I love this author so much is her ability to invade your mind no matter the amount of focus you put forth. For instance: I read about 10-20% each night (roughly, which is STILL slow for me) and was completely out of it-you know, eyes half closed and slumber threatening to pull you under-and somehow I managed to comprehend every page, every thought, every touch Sam and Grace shared even though I was barely hanging on. She paints such vivid and imaginative scenes and creates such deep and meaningful characters (almost always the males are the stars of the show-she writes awesome male leads) that even when you aren’t reading you can still see the colors and breeze and lazy little town she invents….because she’s just that good.

I was not a wolf, but I wasn’t Sam yet, either.
I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts: the frozen woods far behind me, the girl on the tire swing, the sound of fingers on metal strings. The future and the past, both the same, snow and then summer and then snow again.
A shattered spider’s web of many colors, cracked in ice, immeasurably sad.

This is the first time I didn’t like her female lead. Grace was kind of one dimensional (^^^I know what I said, it only applies to the male in this story-shocker) annnnnddddd, quite frankly, boring. I just didn’t connect with her as much as her other characters from her other stories. I was shocked that I had no connection to Grace, but Maggie more than made up for it with her male lead, Sam.

Not just any girl. The girl. Grace.

Sam had many of the traits and characteristics of Gansey of TRB and Sean of TSR, the main reasons I have fallen in love with her writing, but he was a milder version and didn’t have as strong of a presence as the aforementioned. But while he lacked what others didn’t, he had his own quirks that worked for him. He was loyal, sweet, adoring, completely in love with Grace. His vulnerability mixed with his strong need to protect Grace had me head over heels. Every time he did something for her or said something swoony I became a pile of mush. It broke my heart to see the struggle he goes through to be able to stay with Grace for just days, weeks, moments longer, fighting literally every natural instinct that plagues him everday.

I wasn’t sure which of us was being more selfish-her, for wanting something that no one could promise, or me, for not promising her something that was too painfully impossible to want.

Their romance was absolutely adorable and where I didn’t connect with Grace, I connected with them, their connection. I love the relationships (again, I’m gushing) Maggie creates, and this was no exception. The shared looks, the touches, the longing and lingering sadness, all textbook Maggie. I actually found that their relationship happened rather quickly, and I’m not used to that. I really did like it, but I think I missed the slow build up, which I didn’t realize was a reason I loved her so much. But moving on: there was a sad undertone and inevitability of something tragic to come, and it made every day they spent together special, more vital that they use the time they have left, because it might be Sam’s last year as a human during the summer months (he turns into a wolf in the winters). So as the wind turns bitter cold and the nights turn frigid, Grace and Sam are in a limbo where they only have moments left together….unless there’s a way to keep him human forever.

I felt like things were getting away from me. I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.

I really did like the idea of the story and I adored the beginning…but as the book progressed I realized that it lacked the beauty and poetic prose of The Raven Boys and the elegance and raw, grittiness of The Scorpio Races. There were hints of it throughout the novel, but not quite as prominent as I’ve grown accustom to and fallen in love with. I just wanted a liiiiiittle more and I know it’s completely unfair to base this book’s rating on a comparison to her other works (bad, bad, bad!) but I just couldn’t help but to draw comparisons. Shiver was just way more regular and too mundane compared to what I know she’s written and it did hinder my love for this book. So while I enjoyed and would tell people to give this a try, I would add an afternote that this isn’t her best work and to keep that in mind-but that is merely my opinion.

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