General Summary: Grace has always been obsessed with wolves. In fact, I’d say her obsession borders on unhealthy and into full blown….never mind. The point is, Grace has fallen instantly in love with one wolf and one day said wolf turns into a boy (because that would so happen in real life). And now Grace finds herself trying to save her wolf’s life.
Review: There’s a lot of things that bother me about Shiver. But I will give credit when I think it’s deserved. I think that the construction of the book is quite nice. Stiefaver does know how to craft a sentence or two, and some of the imagery that was used was quite beautiful when you got passed the cheese. That being said, I did not enjoy this book. I think my biggest hate for this book starts and ends with the main character, Grace. Grace is a slightly better or worse version than Bella. Better because she has hobbies other than cooking for her dad. Worse because those hobbies involve wolves.
And no, that does not mean that Grace is just a nature lover who enjoys looking at wolves and going on hikes and working for conservation groups, or for that matter even owning one of those wolf hybrid dogs. Nope Grace, really loves wolves. Yeah, she’d like to make out with one. And okay, to her credit she never actually states this but it’s implied throughout the book. And I guess Stiefavater did this in part because she wanted to show this big connection through Grace and Sam that can transcend through any physical form. But guess what, Maggie, it doesn’t work. At least for me.
I guess one of the big reasons why is what is Grace and Sam’s relationship based off of……instant love. Have I mentioned how much I hate instant love? Seriously publishers, I don’t get why it’s a cool thing. Yes, there’s that annoying Bella Swan but that is so 2006. Can’t you start a new trend in relationship like I don’t know…realistic relationships where there’s some build up. You know where our characters engage in conversation and get to know each other before they want to bone each other. It could be a very successful trend….
Anyway, back to Shiver, the lack of build up in the relationship not only crippled the character, Grace, but the entire book as well. To sum up Shiver it would be Twilight minus the vampires. Grace and Sam even end up doing the whole Bella/Edward chaste sleeping next to each other thing.
Seriously, how is this realistic? They are teenagers if they are sharing a bed with each other. At least one of them is going to want to mess around. And if they’re sharing a bed together aren’t Grace’s parents going to notice? Of course they don’t, because in standard YA paranormal fair Grace’s parents are beyond negligent. And okay, in Linger-the sequel to Shiver, yes there’s a sequel when there really shouldn’t be one-her parents finally get on her ass a little bit. But still…
And then I need to mention, Sam. He’s not the typical offensive male lead, i.e. he’s not a bad boy. But God, is he a little wimp. Half of the narrative was from his POV and honestly his emo-ness made me bored after a little while. While I’m glad he can express his emotions at the same time I just wanted to slap him.
I think when it comes down to it though, my issues with this book weren’t so much bad writing (though despite the beautiful prose the plotting and character development sort of sucked) than the fact that the book is a walking cliche. It has everything that a publisher wants from a paranormal YA: a Bella in disguise, instant love, with a dash of forbidden love (Oh, wait it’s lacking a love triangle) and everything in turn that makes me want to gauge out my eyes.
Best Feature: Poetic Prose. I will give this to Maggie: girl knows how to write. The writing itself is quite beautiful. Yes, occasionally it bordered on purple. But I really have to say I like how lyrical the writing was for the most part. It reminded me of my days when I was an undergrad actually reading stuff that was well written. Rather than cases put together by cranky judges.
Worst Feature: Bestiality? Okay, so let’s just say Grace really, really, likes wolves. There’s no explicit bestiality or anything over the top offensive in this book, but if you read it like I did, you could tell that well Grace liked wolves more than people. And that’s fine. I find my pets to be more tolerable than most people. But there’s a difference between liking your pets and liking them the way Grace does. It’s like she actually has a crush on the wolf….not Sam. And that’s just disturbing.
Appropriateness: Besides the subtext of bestiality, the two main characters share a room together in the book (a la Twilight) and there is some violence. It’s not that gritty though, but definitely not a book I’d recommend for preteens.
Blockbuster Worthy: At some point, I do think there was serious interest to make this book into a movie. It could’ve easily been a cash cow because of it involves werwolves and insta love. Here’s who’d I cast. For Grace I’m doing Miley Cyrus. Yeah, I really couldn’t figure out who to cast as Grace either so I just picked a celebrity who is always picking up these YA film rights but never making any films. As for Sam, I’m not feeling that creative today so I’m just going to typecast in Taylor Lautner
Overall Rating: Four out of ten werewolves. A lot of people like this book and that’s great. And admittedly it did have its moments. The writing, for example, was very fluid, but I just couldn’t be into the characters and plot. And okay, the fact that this book has two sequels sort of rubs me the wrong way. There was no need for a sequel. But whatever.