Keertana's Reviews > Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
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Oct 13, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: did-not-finish, why-the-hype
Read on October 07, 2012

I think this is where Stiefvater and I go our separate ways. I never intended to read Shiver. In fact, I was more than a little convinced it wasn't the book for me, but after loving Stiefvater's Scorpio Races and enjoying The Raven Boys more than just a little, I knew I had to give this one a shot. Surprisingly enough, I found myself admitting that Shiver is a book I could have loved. It is. I loved the idea, the concept, the characters, and how, at the core of this story, was a literal battle for humanity. Yet, what prevented me from finishing this book (even though I was at the 63% mark) and from even liking this novel was, quite unfortunately, the pacing.

I feel as if Stiefvater's book always receive complaints about pacing. "It's too slow." "I was bored." "I can't wait for the plot to pick up." Ironically though, my problem was that the pacing was simply too fast. You see, Shiver opens up by telling us the brief history of Sam and Grace, a werewolf and a normal human girl. When Grace was young, she was dragged into the woods by a pack of wolves and saved by Sam. Thus, ever since then, Grace has been more than a little obsessed with what she calls "her" wolf. What Grace doesn't know though, is that Sam is a werewolf and he's been watching her all these years too, steadily dreading the day when he will no longer be able to shift back into a human. It is only when a teenage boy is reported to be killed by the wolves that Grace uncovers Sam's secret and from there on out, it's a deadly race to see if their love can withstand time as Sam's days as a human only begin to dwindle.

Now, here is where my problem with Shiver begins to creep up. When Grace sees Sam on her front porch, hurt, she takes him to the hospital, waits for him to heal, takes him back to her house, and then they make out in the kitchen. While I have no problem with a novel focused on romance, I did have a problem with the complete and utter rush that their love story became. While Grace and Sam have known each other for years, Grace has been in love with a wolf, not a human boy. Thus, I wanted her to have some type of a logical reaction to Sam. I wanted her to gradually develop a friendship with Sam the human and then fall in love with him. Whatever anyone may say, a wolf and a human are two very different creatures. Sam's role in this romance is believable, but Grace's part? Not so much. Consequently, I couldn't summon up even an iota of emotion for these two although their scenes were cute and should have made me "aww!" on more than one occasion.

What I did love, however, was Stiefvater's unique take on werewolf lore. In her world, werewolves shift not during the full moon, but when the temperature falls, forcing their bodies to change. I feel as if what Stiefvater did with this concept, her portrayal of Sam's constant struggle to retain his human self and not turn into a wolf, was simply superb. I doubt any other author could have handled that situation as beautifully as Stiefvater did and I have to give her props for that. Shiver contains Stiefvater's lyrical prose and quite honestly, her writing and Sam were the only two things that really kept me moving past the half-way mark of this book. Well, that and the plot which was gripping, unique, and really very interesting I have to admit.

While my lack of emotion for Grace and Sam's romance was my primary fault with this novel, I was also disappointed by some of the dual narration in this book. In some areas, Sam and Grace's narrations sounded the same to me and the clear, distinct voices that belonged to them were lost. Furthermore, I was never able to paint a clear picture of Grace from her narration. When we see Grace from Sam's perspective, we see her for the girl she really is - smart, spunky, and fiercely independent, all while having been neglected by her parents and thus seeking comfort from her one savior, the wolf. Through Sam's eyes, Grace's strange beastial affection for "her" wolf doesn't seem so strange, but I did still wish fiercely that Stiefvater would have allowed Grace and Sam to fall in love and distinguished them from Grace and the wolf. With their love story coming to an abrupt completion less than a quarter through the novel, I know it could have been expanded further without taking away from the rest of this story.

Nevertheless, Shiver is a novel I can't really pass judgement on. It didn't work for me, simply because I wanted more from the romance and that's my personal qualm. I, unlike most readers I suspect, am not a romance fan, and as such, I need a little more substance to my love stories. If it hadn't been for the rapid romance in this novel, I know I would have probably wound up giving it 3.5 or even 4 Stars. I really do like Shiver, but without much emotion, I couldn't bring myself to care or possibly continue with the story. Thus, I'd say to give Shiver a try. While many other reviewers have mentioned the implausibilities in this relationship, not to mention the convenience of Grace's absentee parents, I truly think these are small qualms to have with a novel that simply bursts with creativity. I envy the readers who have been able to fall in love with this novel but after all, it takes all sorts to make this world, doesn't it?

You can read this review and more on my blog Ivy Book Bindings.
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Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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Inge Oh dear!


Amelia Oh my gosh -- I'm so nervous about whether or not you're gonna absolutely love it. @_@


Scarlet I hope you find something redeeming about this book...I certainly didn't!


Victoria I'm very curious on what your opinion will be on this book.


Keertana @Inge: I should have listened to your review and steered clear of this book in the library, but instead I checked it out. It isn't bad, but I can't finish it. I simply do not freaking care. *sigh*

@Amelia: Aww, I'm so sorry to disappoint but I wasn't a big fan of this one! I love the concept and the writing and the plot, but Grace hasn't grown on me and neither has the romance, so I don't care enough to continue with this past the 63% mark I'm stuck on right now...

@Scarlet: I did find a lot of redeeming qualities, but not enough to make me finish this one! :/

@Victoria: You'll see soon...I have a nice review planned out in my head that actually isn't snarky (isn't that a surprise?) so hopefully it'll be up on GoodReads sometime soon!(:


message 6: by Inge (last edited Oct 07, 2012 08:45AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inge Usually I'm right! ;) But of course, you have to see for yourself. I'm sorry you didn't like it as much!


Keertana @Inge: Yup, you usually are but funnily enough, none of the major qualms you had with this book were the ones I had. I had completely different issues with it, but it all boils down to the fact that I couldn't get through it. I really wanted to like it too...I think I'll stick to Stiefvater's newer books I think.

@Stargirl1234: The Scorpio Races is amazing. It's one of the best books I've read ever so you definitely need to pick up a copy soon. You'll love it - there's no way you can't. ;)


Keertana I guess it is a little slow, but I like slow-moving books. I actually thought Shiver would have been something I liked if the beginning was slower and more explained... Either way, TSR is a class all of its own. I loved it, so I hope you do too!(:


message 9: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa This is one of those books that seems to have very polar reactions. A lot of people love it, others (like me) couldn't stand it. I'm reading The Raven Boys now and I'm liking it much better than Shiver but not loving it. The writing is more enjoyable (way less purple but still descriptive), I like the characters more, no instalove so far, but the plot is very slow moving.


Lauren Sorry this one didn't work for you!


message 11: by Lisa (last edited Oct 07, 2012 04:12PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Stargirl1234 wrote: "Lisa wrote: "This is one of those books that seems to have very polar reactions. A lot of people love it, others (like me) couldn't stand it. I'm reading The Raven Boys now and I'm liking it much..."

I actually like Stiefvater's writing this time around. I think her style lends itself well to the third person perspective. The four Raven boys are likable so far and I'm intrigued by their histories. I'm not sure how I feel about Blue yet but I definitely don't dislike her. I just wish the plot was moving a little quicker.


Sarah Marie I started it in May and got halfway through it in one night. I liked it, but I got sidetracked while reading another book. I should probably pick it up again. Can't wait to see what you think.


Keertana Lauren wrote: "Sorry this one didn't work for you!"

I know! I am too! I loved the idea, but I just couldn't feel anything for Sam and Grace! :( *sigh* I think I'll stick with The Raven Cycle in the future... I might give Ballad a go though, so we'll see how that turns out.


Megan I'm sorry to see you're not very happy with this book. I found it rather enjoyable, I'm actually on the 2nd book. Don't get me wrong, I've read better lol. In regards to the The Raven Boys, I found that extremely engrossing! I keep hearing about the Scorpio Races, I'm not sure if I want to check them out yet though.


Keertana Megan, The Scorpio Races is one of the best books I've ever read and even die-hard Maggie fans have admitted that its her best work. If you liked The Raven Boys and Shiver, then you'll love TSR without a doubt, so I hope you decide to pick it up!(:


Keertana I wish I could have felt for the characters, Jordyn. I know if I had, I would have loved this book too. Stiefvater always has some of the most unique concepts, so I was quite upset this one didn't work out for me. :/ Oh, well. *shrug*


Megan I think once I finish Linger I'll pick up the first of TSR. I'll let you know what I think of it after I read it :-) I think I'll enjoy it as I have with her other books.


message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Maggie Stiefvater's writing seems to vary a lot. Liking one of her series doesn't mean you'll love the rest, and hating one doesn't mean you'll hate the rest or so I gather from my friends' reviews.


Keertana @Jordyn: Aww, I'm sorry TSR didn't work out for you! :/ I hope you have better luck with TRB though! :D

@Lisa: I agree - it's such a hit-and-miss and varies from book-to-book, so she isn't one of those authors you can simply write off either. Plus, each of her books seem to work for well or not-so-well for different people, so you just have to give them a shot yourself.

@Sam: Phew, I'm glad it wasn't just me! If their relationships had had a more solid foundation, I know I would have really enjoyed this one, so that was unfortunate. I do hope you enjoy TSR when you give it a try though, Sam. It's her best work in my opinion (I haven't read Ballad yet), but I loved it and I can't wait to see what you think of it as well!(:


message 20: by Inge (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inge I do agree with you. That's what bugged me the most - the minute Sam turns into a human, they sleep in the same bed and they're making out and dating, and their parents don't notice a thing. Then they're together all the time because they can't be apart and suddenly all her friends are irrelevant.

I swear, some people..!


Keertana I knowww! Gahh, it was irritating. I needed more development...it would have been SUCH a good book if a little MORE was there! :/ I have yet to find a truly marvelous werewolf book...looks like I'm going to just contend myself with my Tonks and Lupin fanfiction! ;)


message 22: by Inge (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inge I would recommend L.J. Smith, as always, but the werewolf thing isn't really prominent in there. I was in several bookstores today and saw The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice several times, but I don't know if it's any good. She's the queen of vampires though, so maybe she'll give a nice twist to lycantropy as well?


Keertana I loved Derek in The Darkest Powers trilogy, so I have to agree with you on that one. I'll check out The Silver Wolf for sure now, Stargirl1234. Thanks! :)


Keertana It sounds fantastic, so I'm sure I'll love it too! :D


Redwolf I agree that the pace was too fast but i loved the book nonetheless.


Keertana I'm so glad you did! :) I know a lot of readers enjoyed it and I wish I could have been one of them. I've loved Stiefvater's other work though, so I guess this was an outlier of sorts for me. :/


message 27: by K. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K. Haha, Keertana! My favourite part: "I wanted her to gradually develop a friendship with Sam the human and then fall in love with him. Whatever anyone may say, a wolf and a human are two very different creatures."


Keertana :D It sounds funny, but it was such a huge road block for me in the novel. Grace was actually in love with the WOLF who saved her, not the human he became, but to her, it was all the same apparently. Maybe I'm just more demanding of the people I meet in life? O.o.


message 29: by K. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K. Well, I will definitely have a higher rating of the book than you. And I also have something to say about this particular issue but right now I'm just trying to gather my thoughts for a review. But for now...I don't think Sam and Grace's instant connection was so weird, hmmm... ;)


message 30: by Inge (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inge Keertana wrote: ":D It sounds funny, but it was such a huge road block for me in the novel. Grace was actually in love with the WOLF who saved her, not the human he became, but to her, it was all the same apparentl..."

You're not more demanding, your problem is just that you're not a Mary Sue YA main character and therefore you will never have two, let alone one, boyfriends. But when you do get a boyfriend, it won't be a manipulative douche, so that's a plus :D

But seriously, that was my biggest piece of criticism as well. She knew Sam for years, but she only knew the wolf. From the minute they could talk, they lived together and slept in the same bed and became a couple. That is just.. no.


Keertana K. wrote: "Well, I will definitely have a higher rating of the book than you. And I also have something to say about this particular issue but right now I'm just trying to gather my thoughts for a review. But..."

I saw your review, K., and I loved your take on their romance. I do agree that it was a bonding of souls, but I guess I wasn't able to feel that connection as palpably when Sam was a human. I don't know why, but for some reason, I was unable to connect with their quickly blooming relationship once Grace figured out Sam's secret. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it, though. I really wish I could've loved it more!


Keertana Inge wrote: "Keertana wrote: ":D It sounds funny, but it was such a huge road block for me in the novel. Grace was actually in love with the WOLF who saved her, not the human he became, but to her, it was all t..."

Inge, you're a sweetheart!<3 What would I do without you, dear? (Thankfully, I'll never know since we'll be cat spinsters together! :D )

Like you, though, I felt that Sam the wolf and Sam the human were so completely different. I think it's great that Grace was able to accept Sam as a human so easily, but I wasn't able to, unfortunately. :/ (On the other hand, Stiefvater's other romances have worked for me really well, so this seems to be an outlier...)


message 33: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike I'd actually like to debate the point about the wolf and human being too different. Well, not that exactly, but the point you made in your review about the insta-love. I bought that Grace would be infatuated enough with Sam that it would feel like love until she really did love him. I understand why you wouldn't, but it didn't bother me the way it seemed to bother you.


Keertana Mike wrote: "I'd actually like to debate the point about the wolf and human being too different. Well, not that exactly, but the point you made in your review about the insta-love. I bought that Grace would b..."

I'm glad it worked out for you, Mike, and I know so many of my friends who just loved this. I wish it could have worked that well for me, but it unfortunately didn't. I think that was the only issue that really made or broke this series for people. :/


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