Shiver is a pretty bland, typical paranormal teen romance. I expected more from Maggie Stiefvater, since I love her other books (if you haven't read TShiver is a pretty bland, typical paranormal teen romance. I expected more from Maggie Stiefvater, since I love her other books (if you haven't read The Raven Boys or The Scorpio Races, drop what you're doing and get your hands on one or both of them. You're welcome).
I cringed at the sappy romance between the two main characters, who have almost no personality (except maybe for being jerks to everyone except each other) and aren't given much of a reason to fall in love (except maybe that they are the protagonists). Does this mean I have no soul? Possibly. But it's disappointing because I know that Stiefvater can create unique, believable, and interesting characters and her prose can be phenomenal, with lush imagery and unique descriptions… these skills just don't make an appearance in this book. Maybe she's improved over time, since Shiver was written earlier than any of her other books that I've read. (Incidentally, I am now amusing myself by imaging what Blue Sargent would say if she ever met Grace. Or even better, how Ronan Lynch would react to Sam if he came across him composing emo lyrics.)
Shiver gets two stars because it was actually fairly interesting (if still full of plot holes) when the lovebirds weren't around being insufferable. Some of the secondary characters are more developed than the protagonists – I'm looking at you, Isabel and Beck. Unfortunately, we hear the story in the voice of the main characters.
I may read the next book in case it gets better, since I know that Maggie Stiefvater is capable of so much more. But I think I'll need to take a break first....more
Here are my non-spoilery thoughts about Prairie Fire, the sequel to The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, wherein teenage dragon slayer OweHere are my non-spoilery thoughts about Prairie Fire, the sequel to The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, wherein teenage dragon slayer Owen and his friend/bard Siobhan go off to fight dragons in Alberta while gaining fame on YouTube (no, really, and if that surprises you then you need to go read The Story of Owen right now).
-It will make you laugh and cry. Or at least it had this effect on me. -It is full of things I love: friendships, music, dragons, snark, and characters who are willing to say "Screw the rules, I'm doing what's right!" -I thoroughly enjoy how unabashedly Canadian it is (or at least, it's set in an alternate version of Canada where there are DRAGONS). You will still enjoy this book, and The Story of Owen for that matter, if you're not Canadian, but Canucks will get some extra chuckles out of the details Johnston throws in. (The New Dragonslayer Party, anyone?) -The writing is beautiful and the musical motifs are lovely, as they were in the first book. -As much as I liked the book, I did feel that it was a bit unfocused, with a bunch of side-plots that weren't really explored and some loose ends that weren't tied up at the end.
And now for the spoilers: (view spoiler)[ OWEN, NOOOOOOOO! I can't say I was surprised at how it ended: given that it opened with lyrics from Barrett's Privateers and a song about Joan of Arc, I was pretty sure it wouldn't end with rainbows and puppies. But I was still gutted by Owen's sacrifice. I also made the mistake of finishing the book while on the bus. (Note to self: do not do that.) I was a grown woman, reading a YA novel, crying like a child, on public transportation.
E.K. Johnston, why do you give me a book full of things I love only to break my heart? Have you been taking lessons from Maggie Stiefvater? (hide spoiler)]
Cleverly done, Johnston. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have nightmares about chinooks....more