Quite frankly, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. However, I do think if I had read this when it was released back in 2009, I might have enjoyed it more! I’ve seen this compared to Twilight (which I LOVED in high school but grew out of now that I’m older), but I think Shiver has a bit more finesse in its pages.
Title: Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: August 1, 2009
Genre: Young adult, urban fantasy, romance
Length: 390 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via 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 absolutely adore Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle. So I was a little hesitant to start this series because I was afraid I wouldn’t love it as much as I do TRC. I know it’s hard to determine how much I’ll like a series after reading only book 1, but I still say that I do have decent hope for the next 3 books in the series.
First, I want to speak about some of my concerns. There are two characters who, from what I understood, have been abused by their parents. I won’t go into much detail about that, but it was definitely disconcerting and quite sad. Truthfully, none of the parental figures seem quite good in this book anyway, and we see some internally struggle the main character, Grace, goes through as she comes to terms with her relationship with her parents.
Second, there are brief mentions of dog fighting as well. This isn’t until later in the book and it pertains to the nature of wolves. It’s still disheartening to read. (Maybe more so because I have a dog? lol)
Third, I was uncomfortable at the references used by both Sam and Grace calling each other their “obsession.” This mostly stems from the fact that ‘obsession’ often has a negative connotation. Right in the synopsis, Grace refers to the world as hers and quite often does throughout the rest of the book, too. There’s a lingering sense as the book progresses that there’s something different about Grace, especially in regards to what happened to her when she was younger. Personally, I think she’s rather bitter about it since it prevented her from being with her wolf. I’m very interested to see how this will play out as it becomes increasingly difficult for Sam to stay a human.
For me, the most riveting thing were the characters. We meet one named Beck, who is very much Sam’s father figure. Sam looks up to him, doesn’t want to disappoint him, and when we meet Beck, I actually quite like him. Truthfully, I wouldn’t mind a story just about him, haha. However, he does make a questionable decision that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with. I can’t figure out if it’s because he was selfish or desperate. Maybe a little bit of both.
As for Grace, put aside her obsessiveness and I like her, too. She doesn’t wholly abandon her friends and become completely enraptured by Sam. I liked her concern and how she was able to make a new friend. But as I said previously, her relationship with her parents is strained and she struggles with it, but doesn’t talk about it a lot.
The ending though… A part of it was sad and a part bittersweet. I don’t think a particular character deserved his fate, but what can you do? I can’t imagine how this will end. While I’m not super eager to read the next book in the series, I’ll definitely continue it.