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Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls)

Shiver  - Maggie Stiefvater Before I rip into the novel, I want to say that there were many things about this book that I quite enjoyed. There is no doubt in my mind that Stiefvater is a good writer and her prose is lyrical and at times haunting. The concept of the werewolves and the setting were both fascinating in my opinion as well. The problem in my eyes, was that the plot, such as it was, was very, very thin. There seemed to be vague hints of a real plot here and there, but most of the time I felt like I was reading about Sam's fight against the cold- over and over again. There were some interesting plot elements that were thrown in here and there- Beck, Isabel, Jake, Olivia- but they never seemed to coalesce into a unified plot, rather they just seemed to be thrown in at will to fill the pages. Most of the characters were somewhat filled out, even though Grace fell quite flat to me. Grace's obsession with the wolves struck me as bizarre and kind of creepy, particularly since she didn't know what they really were at the beginning. I thought Sam was the most interesting of the cast of characters. Sam loves language and poetry and words- writing (godawful) lyrics in his head- and his struggle with his animal nature is one which involves his desire to keep his "words" and not have to leave them behind and succumb to his baser instincts. I thought Stiefvater captured that nuance brilliantly. Ultimately, a comparison to Twilight must be made, and in contrast to the Twilight series, the supernatural abilities of the wolf pack seem sometimes to be more of a "disability" rather than a key to a rarefied, preternatural world which renders them aristocracts because of their immortality and impossible beauty. To me, that got old fast, as I think that many wish to enter the supernatural world in fiction as a form of escape from society's strictures and as a means of entering the mystery of the woods and the unexplained. In this novel, the werewolves are just as "trapped" in their existence as your typical angsty adolescent and while I can see the appeal to said demographic, for me, it got old very quickly.