rachel's Reviews > Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
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's review
Jul 11, 10

liked it
bookshelves: ya, 2010, will-i-ever-enjoy-romance-no
Recommended to rachel by: Pamela Buckley
Read from July 03 to 11, 2010

I am biased in favor of werewolves, the mere mention of which brings to mind many things I love -- the Warren Zevon song, the films Trick 'r' Treat and Murder Party, Jayson Werth. But if you've read any of my other reviews or know me personally, you know that I can give or take romance. So I was surprised to read this 1.) as a hater of sap and 2.) as someone whose associations of werewolves are less than serious, and find that I actually enjoyed this serious love story. With werewolves.

Let's get the critical things out of the way first: our werewolf (well, Grace's wolf) Sam is just a little too sensitive and pure to be wholly believable. I loved that Stiefvater reversed conventional gender roles in the relationship, making her boy soft-hearted and her girl stoic, but I also cringed whenever Sam thought in song lyrics or when Beck was talking Sam up as the best person that he, an adult nearing middle age, has ever known. I much preferred Grace's level-headed, slightly skeptical POV chapters.

And like A Certain Slant of Light, the book sort of treats kissing & sex as the prime expressions of love. In both cases I can understand it, because one or more of the lovers only has limited time in a human body and there's a desperation to use it. Still, endless scenes of kissing and sex don't convince me that two people are in love. There is more romance in the way Sam looks at Grace, as a wolf and as a human, described from Grace's pragmatic point of view. In the way that Sam goes after Shelby because he realizes she's tried to hurt Grace.

I guess that this is me admitting that I found those things romantic. Weird.

What's also good about the book is the writing. Occasionally it veers off into purple prose (loneliness does not have a smell) but for the most part, it's textured and creative. Stiefvater captures the wild wistfulness of nature, winter, and longing equally well; there is more tenderness in her physical descriptions of the wolves than in any of Sam's lyrics. I also thought that she balanced out the numerous love scenes with enough compelling plot points and action to keep readers who aren't necessarily in it for the romance interested.

In fact, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series for these plot points to be resolved. I'm interested in more Shelby backstory and interested to see what's going to happen with her in the future. And the last section concerning Olivia is truly magical, and I'm excited about reading more of her too.

Yep, that's right. I'm gonna read Linger...

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Reading Progress

07/03/2010 page 30
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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rachel About 70 pages in and I really like it so far. Maybe there is a bit of romance in me after all.

Pamela awwwww.... I always thought there was! I am so glad you are enjoying it. I can't say enough how much I loved it!

rachel Heh, well I'd be lying if I didn't say that now, by page 170 or so, all of the lusty growling and groaning is making me a little edgy. But I still like the werewolf backstories and think her writing is way, way better than SMeyer.

Pamela yeah after a while I sort of just glossed over that (teen mashing always makes me EXTRA uncomfortable) and just focused on the other parts of the story.
The whole wolf concept is so beautifully figured out ... and the twist (when you get there) is pretty nicely played too. I had no "WTF was that!?" reaction at the end like I do some books when they try to give it a too quick or too neat ending.
Keep me updated on your final reaction!

rachel An update up to this point: I was just at what I thought was a breaking point of annoyance with the romance/song lyrics/poems/kissing when all of a sudden the plot got awesome again. Thankfully this book has a plot, whereas other *similar* books sort of don't.

Pamela yeah, the song parts are terribly ick. Perhaps as a teen girl it would have made me swoon though, IDK. But as you say, the story itself is so good you have to keep reading! I hope you like how they tie it all together in the end.

rachel I did! I almost got...wistful at the end? On the very last page? Also, I loved like crazy the part about Olivia.

I wouldn't say I loved the book as a whole, but I definitely liked it. More than I expected to, too. TY for your recommendation.

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