When I made the decision to reread Shiver and its successor, Linger, in preparation for this trilogy's conclusion, Forever, I honestly got little butt...moreWhen I made the decision to reread Shiver and its successor, Linger, in preparation for this trilogy's conclusion, Forever, I honestly got little butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. I originally read Shiver back in October of '09, and it hit me like nothing had before — and nothing has matched it since. Shiver mixes some of the sweetest, most realistic and heartwarming characters with a wonderfully chilly and melancholy atmosphere and it is written with stunningly lyrical prose. If every author wrote like Stiefvater, I dare say I'd get nothing else done save for reading.
What is there to say about Grace? I feel like if I call her strong it will seem unoriginal, but that is just what she is; there is really no other way to describe Grace. She holds it together even when Sam is emotionally in shambles. Even when hope seems as far away as ten light-years, she keeps her wits about her. I can't help but love Grace any more than Sam can.
And there really is no other male character quite like Sam Roth; he is one of a kind. No other boy would turn away out of respect when a girl is scantily clad; no other boy would unabashedly sing to the mother of said girl; no other boy would treat a girl with as much respect as Sam shows for Grace. As I said, Sam is one of a kind. And he's definitely my kind of guy, if you know what I mean. (Oh! how I wish there were boys/men/male specimens like him in real life! But if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. *sigh*)
Moving on . . .
Just as with anything that is popular, not all people will enjoy Shiver. I think some people read the synopsis and expect a werewolf blockbuster — but that isn't what Shiver is; at its core, Shiver is a love story. The meat of the plot is simply Sam and Grace constantly fighting this physical transformation that is hell-bent on keeping them apart and stealing Sam's humanity. The only complexity in Shiver is the mystery behind what makes the humans turn into wolves - Stiefvater leaves the old-fashioned lore to the dogs and creates her own mythology — I, personally, have never read any "werewolf" story like Stiefvater's, and that's a large portion of why I love this series so much. Rather than
In the old days werewolves were men that were forever ruining their clothes and having to buy new ones — and all because of that blasted full moon. Stiefvater reimagines what makes these bitten but, in truth, innocent humans change form. And, to top that off, they don't get to keep changing. Eventually, they will stay in their wolf forms for the rest of their lives, thereby unwillingly having to give up their human life, loves, and wishes — forever. By writing it this way, Stiefvater has taken what was once a horror story and made it something beautiful and sad. And this reader can't help but love that.
This review would simply be too long if I added all of my favorite quotes (although you can read them all below), but if I had to choose just one it would be this:
FAVORITE QUOTE: "I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl From summer she is made, my lovely summer girl I'd love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl But I'm never warm enough for my lovely summer girl
It's summer when she smiles, I'm laughing like a child It's the summer of our lives; we'll contain it for a while She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand I'd be happy with this summer if it's all we ever had.
Between reading this and watching Becoming Jane the other night, my tear ducts are like dried sponges. And since I'll be reading Linger and Forever next, I felt that I should prepare myself; I had this sent to my house yesterday:
Never let it be said that I was unprepared in life.
I hear people say things about their favorites like, I've read this so many times I know all of the lines by heart. But I don't ever want it to be that way for me and this book; it is such a special read that I never want to read it and feel as if I've gotten all I can out of it. I want to start Shiver each time with the sense that it is both new and old to me, but always a favorite.
In the second installment to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series: Sam is having trouble believing in his cure, Grace is acting strangely and feeling like...moreIn the second installment to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series: Sam is having trouble believing in his cure, Grace is acting strangely and feeling like she doesn't fit into her own skin anymore, and a new wolf is in Mercy Falls: Cole, the once lead singer of a popular rock band, NARKOTIKA, is dealing with the issues of straddling the line between man and wolf. But honestly? He'd rather stay a wolf than deal with the problems that come with being human. Meanwhile, Isabel, the girl who had to deal with losing her brother twice, believes she is falling for Cole.
Maggie has said in interviews that she meant for Cole's character to be the complete opposite of Sam's. Well, in the beginning of Linger she succeeded and because of that I wasn't able to empathize with Cole upon first reading Linger. For personal reasons I've never been empathetic with drug addicts, and Cole was no exception. In Linger Cole tells Sam that he is just as bad as him, just as damaged. He is referring to Sam's issue with bathtubs. But the difference between Sam's problem and Cole's is that Sam had something terrible done to him by his own parents, whereas all of Cole's problems have been brought on by himself. Despite all of this, though, I truly liked Cole a lot more this time around than my first time reading Linger. For me, the best thing about Cole is that he's very redeemable. And if you look carefully enough, he has what I call "bright spots" where you can see that he is human – even though he doesn't want to be – and that he does care for others, even if it is an imperceptible degree. And the reactions and emotions Cole has towards the end of Linger give me hope that I'll like him even more in Forever.
Linger is quite different than its predecessor, Shiver – what with Sam now being human and the introduction of a new character, Cole. Plus, Isabel steps out of her former role as side character and into the forefront with her own POV – and what an interesting POV it is. Some may not like Isabel, and I can understand why, but I like her just fine. She's kind of . . . unconventional – especially when compared to Grace – but she's not bad. One thing is for sure: Isabel's definitely the perfect match for Cole. And then there's that pesky wolf smell wafting off of Grace – that can't be a good sign. You see, lots of things are different in Linger, which is probably why so many don't like it as much as they did Shiver. I will admit to liking it a minuscule degree less than Shiver, but that certainly didn't hinder me from enjoying it. In fact, I believe I enjoyed it even more the second time around. And Linger's ending is just as sad if not more so than Shiver's.
And besides – if you ever see me give a book with Sam Roth in it anything less than five stars, know that it is a clone and the real Lora has been taken by aliens.
FAVORITE QUOTES: "I'm trying to remember who I was before I couldn't stand myself." – Cole
"I wasn't sure if I admired him for feeling everything so hard and fiercely, or if I was contemptuous of him for having so much emotion that he had to spill it out every window of the house." – Isabel
"I was suddenly overwhelmed by what an incredible person this boy was, standing in front of me, and by the fact that he was mine and I was his." – Grace
"I wanted to take her hand and lead her upstairs to my bedroom and whisper, Stay. Just stay." – Sam
As cheesy as this may sound, I really do cherish these books. My copies of them still smell like the store I bought them from – that's how well I've taken care of them.
Doing a reread of all of the books before the release of Lover Reborn. Will probably do short, concise reviews of each when I get the time (hopefully...moreDoing a reread of all of the books before the release of Lover Reborn. Will probably do short, concise reviews of each when I get the time (hopefully before the end of March).(less)
This one is very hard for me to rate and review. I absolutely love this series to pieces; however, for me, Lover Unleashed was tantamount to Lover Ens...moreThis one is very hard for me to rate and review. I absolutely love this series to pieces; however, for me, Lover Unleashed was tantamount to Lover Enshrined: way too many side stories, therefore way too many interruptions in the main storyline. Basically, in my opinion, Lover Unleashed is a complete 180 from the previous installment, Lover Mine. Before Lover Mine, there was a lot of build up in past installments as well as character development for John and Xhex's story. But with Lover Unleashed, there hasn't been. You only get to see Manny briefly in Lover Unbound, and we haven't seen much of Payne's character before now, either. I understand that Ward isn't always going to have the build up for her characters' relationships as there was with John and Xhex, but if she's not, then she should make more room for that particular story's main characters and actually give them time to connect in order for their relationship to be believable. Ward continues to dish out tomes (although Lover Unleashed is slightly smaller than it's two predecessors, Lover Avenged (527 pages) and Lover Mine (512 pages); it clocks in at 489 pages), but despite their size, the time spent with the actual main characters is slim. Especially in Lover Unleashed. A lot of people felt that Ward "brought back the romance" when she released Lover Mine, and I agree one hundred percent. But with Lover Unleashed, there's simply no time to get to know the main characters and develop an emotional connection with them. When Manny finally realizes he's fallen for Payne, it doesn't seem nearly as believable or emotional as with certain past installments. There's virtually no time for Manny and Payne to really connect and fall in love. I definitely think that Ward should have either added another hundred pages to this and dedicated all of them to Payne and Manny, or trimmed down the side stories in this in order to make room for their story.
Based upon what we do get to see of them, I actually liked Manny and Payne's character. They're not favorites, by far, but they aren't bad, either. As the reader, you feel sympathy for Payne because of all the terrible things she's been put through by her mother, and now having to deal with the possibility of never walking again (due to a fighting accident with Wrath), she's definitely been put through the wringer. At the start of Lover Unleashed, Manny's walking around with myriad memories missing (say that three times fast) from his head. I thought that Manny's reaction to finding out that Jane is actually alive and that vampires exist was maybe a little too easy and accepting. But I let that slide because I did like him. I liked the way he took care of Payne while she's immobile, and he has a sort of down-to-earth feel that makes him likable.
Fans of Vishous should really like this installment. This seemed almost like Lover Unbound, Part II. Vishous goes through a lot of I-can't-deal issues in this, and it leads to something that I think some people will really like, and some will probably even hate. (view spoiler)[I'm just not the sort of person who can understand the need for BDSM. It's not my thing and never will be. (hide spoiler)] I had heard rumors about what would happen with Vishous in this (involving other characters I won't mention for those that don't want to be spoiled), and, I have to say, Ward pleasantly surprised me with that particular storyline. I think she handled it perfectly, and it's one of the few things I liked about this installment. I never really felt that Vishous and Jane's story was very believable, but in this my feelings towards their relationship definitely changed for the better.
If you were hoping for some Qhuay action in this (like myself), or really any development with their story, I'm sorry to say that you'll be disappointed. Despite the fact that there's too many side stories in this, Ward doesn't do much with Qhuinn and Blay's story besides, perhaps, make it worse. (Chapter Forty-Eight: WTF? That better mean something other than what it seems.) I believe I read in an interview with her that things will get worse with Qhuinn and Blay before they get better, but, Qhuay fan that I am, I couldn't help but hope for a little something. :(
There's a new band of bastards (Ward's words, not mine) introduced to us in Lover Unleashed: Throe, Zypher, three cousins (no names are given for them), and Xcor, their leader. Now, Ward is portraying them as, well, not exactly evil, but definitely opposing to the Brotherhood. But I think they'll end up coming around to the good side for two reasons: 1. Ward is running out of characters to make books about, and she's recently said in interviews that she'll continue writing this series as long as the stories keep coming to her and she's alive and well. 2. Although they're supposedly bad, I noticed that Ward gives us little glimpses that seem to hint that maybe they aren't as they seem. (view spoiler)[Like how Xcor could never bring himself to rape a woman, and Throe seems to have some back history with a sister issue. (hide spoiler)] So I definitely see something changing with them. (view spoiler)[And, let me just say, chapter forty-three was completely redundant IMO. Ward could've easily done something different---like say they'd both screwed a woman and done her right---rather than dedicate an entire chapter to a threesome. (hide spoiler)]
FAVORITE QUOTES: "I have no words. Sixteen languages, but no words."
"Champagne makes me horny."
"What is your name?" she said. "You do not know that already, Chosen?" "I know not everything." "Aye." He put his hand on the rough banister. "Neither do I. Good day, Chosen."
So while Ward pleasantly surprised me in some areas and disappointed me in others, I'm still a devoted fan of this series and will definitely be reading it as long as Ward writes it. And I'm most certainly looking forward to her next novel, Envy, in her Fallen Angels series. It features Thomas "Veck" DelVecchio who makes an appearance in this book. He seems to have some daddy issues, so his story should be interesting.
Plus, *dances like a fool* Ward has recently announced that the next BDB book will be about Tohrment! I love him, and, if Ward gives him and his planned shellan (it's No'One, BTW) the proper amount of page time, it should be epic! Hopefully it'll bring back the feel that Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, and Lover Mine had. (IMO, as far as the romance goes, those have been the best of the series, thus far.) You can find the video where Ward announces that here, and you can find the book on Goodreads here.(less)