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1 Feb 2013

Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The first thing that I have to admit is even for a paranormal romance this wasn't the worst one I've read.  But I still don't think paranormal romance is something I'm never going to be a fan of and sadly the romance between Sam and Grace didn't change my feelings. They were your typical supernatural boy + plain girl-next-door couple. As soon as Sam walked into the picture he was all Grace could think about. He was her obsession and it's just plain unhealthy.  I know what the thrill of a new relationship is like and in a way I could understand why they were both a bit clingy.  This was possibly Sam's last year as a human and Grace was finally meeting that mysterious golden eyed wolf that hung around a lot.  But Grace was suddenly disinterested in school and just started skipping to spend time with Sam.  Maybe this is the teaching assistant in me but EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT!

Ahem...

What bugged me the most was the case of the absent/neglecting parents that seem to crop up time and time again in YA books at the moment. Grace had the typical YA parents. Didn't listen, didn't want to listen and had distanced themselves away from their daughter with work and their own interests. It's just been done so many times that I'm pining for a book where the parents actually act like the responsible, caring adults they should be.  Yes there are broken and dysfunctional families in real life but there are also parents who act like parents.  There needs to be a better balance here.

Another pro to the novel was Sam's P.O.V which was interesting at times. There we got a sense of his conflict as wonders whether the werewolf family that raised and looked after him are actually the good guys and a little bit into his character.  For a supernatural boy I liked him.  Definitely an improvement from the Jaces and Edwards of prn.  He was nice and friendly, a genuine guy who was conflicted about being a werewolf but didn't sulk and brood about it all the time. 

But it wasn't a book that captivated me.  I wasn't hooked and couldn't bring myself to really care about the characters, especially Grace.  She wasn't personality of the year and didn't stand out.  Quite bland to be honest.  She was quiet, didn't have much of a friendship with her friends, and didn't seem to have many interests, choosing to obsess over the wolves.

Overall, I think I might leave it here. I wasn't interested in finding out what happens in the rest of the trilogy.


7 comments:

  1. This wasn't my favorite series either. I've loved so many of Stiefvater's other novels but this one just didn't grab me the same way.

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  2. Hmmm it almost seems like it could be a set in the same world as Twilight...

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  3. I've heard The Raven Boys are quite good. Lots of positive reviews so I might try that out in the future. :) Maybe the werewolves were the wrong story for her.

    Grace was bland like Bella and obsessed over Sam once she met him but there were improvements. No love triangle (yay!) and Sam didn't brood. But prn still always end up the same unfortunately. The romance gets in the way of the paranormal. I've never thought the two go well with each other. The relationship always ends up more important than the supernatural horrors.

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  4. Thanks for this review, Robin. I want to read at least one of Stiefvater's books, and had thought about this one. But the first few pages just never grabbed me whenever I picked it up in the bookstore. Perhaps THE SCORPIO RACES is better? I don't know.

    As for the absent parent thing in YA, I think I understand the reason behind it. Not only are bad/absent parents a reality for many teens (unfortunately), from a plot perspective, it's easier to give the teen freedom to do stupid and/or dangerous things when s/he doesn't have to answer to parents. It's also a common device to force the teen to learn hard life lessons, and learn to think for themselves.

    I'm not necessarily condoning the absent parent motif, but I think that explains why so many YA writers go that direction. Of course, it's not necessary, and perhaps a sign of a creative writer would be someone who can still write a good story while keeping the MC's family intact. :)

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    1. And everyone seems to like The Raven Boys as well. Maybe I have picked up the wrong book. I think I'll try another one of her series to see what they're like. Sam was quite a good male character so maybe her strength lies there.

      That's a really good point. In a way I do understand why authors go down that road and it can be realistic. My parents were never there for me so I know it can happen unfortunately. But despite that I still feel that a lot of authors make the parents like this not to show reality but just to get them out of the way. I think it's interesting when a parent wants to be involved or provides to be an obstacle when the teen needs to deal with something supernatural.

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  5. PS... I like the blog re-design! :)

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    1. Thanks. :) I'm so happy just to be able to reply to people properly now! ^^

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