Friday, July 23, 2010
WARNING: If you have not yet read Shiver yet, this review will contain spoilers.
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves...and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love--the light and the dark, the warm and the cold--in a way you will never forget.
To those of you who have already read Shiver, you know the novel ended with Sam no longer being a werewolf, and Grace slowly becoming one. It is this topic that holds the majority of the novel's attention. Linger continues in the switching narrative style, and explores Sam's emotions upon realizing that he will be spending his life as a human, and that he will be able to do all the things he never could while knowing his life would be cut short because, eventually, the wolf inside him would take over.
Grace, as well, has her hand in the story, narrating through the love story as it continues between her and Sam. But the story shifts suddenly when Grace begins to get sick and no doctors can pin down what's the matter with her. As Sam watches the girl he loves slowly deteriorate, he is at a loss as to what he can do.
But Linger adds a new twist in to the storytelling. Not only do Grace and Sam tell the story, but Isabel and Cole join in. Isabel, having lost her brother at the end of Shiver, remains close friends with Grace, and tells the story from the human point of view, looking in on the world of werewolves. When Cole arrives, a newly turned wolf that Beck created in Shiver, he and Isabel form a close relationship. This way, the book is not only the story of Grace and Sam, but also the story of Cole and Isabel.
I started this blog long after I read Shiver, so let me wrap up that review quickly for you. I loved it. Shiver was a completely unique way to address werewolves and a beautiful love story that felt complete in the end. If Maggie Stiefvater hadn't written another novel, I wouldn't have felt cheated. It felt as though the story had come to an alright ending. But Linger shook things up.
Right from the beginning, the story took off on a journey of dead and missing wolves and a love that seemed to be able to conquer all. Grace and Sam are perfectly made for one another, and it is one of the things I loved while reading. There was no choice for Grace to make, like there is in so many YA romance novels, between one guy or the other. She loves Sam, and that is that. The simply beauty of that idea is what makes the novel a must read for me.
It is the twists and turns and the rocks in their relationship which make it all the more a must read. In Shiver, Grace was in love with Sam during his final year of being a human, and they fought through it to find a cure. Now, in Linger, Sam is adjusting to being a human while he watches Grace fight with something inside of her, the same something he experienced as he was turned.
I loved being able to read the story, also, from Isabel's point of view. In Shiver, she seemed to be a minor character, and wasn't a character I was very interested in. As she narrated in Linger, she became a full person, a character with deeper emotions that could only be shown when she told the story herself.
And Cole? Say hello to the bad boy with a dark past and staggering looks. It was great to read back and forth between present day and his flashbacks of his human life. In Shiver, Sam states that no one would choose to become a werewolf, though Beck says that the new wolves all chose this life. Cole is the living example of someone who wants to escape from their human life so badly that they are willing to become a wolf without human memories for half a year each year until they ultimately become just a wolf.
The characters, like in the first book, are beautiful and have their flaws, which I love. The story continues and ends on a note that will leave you buzzing for more. Great sequel to a great novel.