Thursday, August 19, 2010
Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver is aptly named; the foreboding chill and sense of longing that are settled over the entire novel seep into the reader's bones and draw them into the haunting, mournful world of Mercy Falls. The powerful and painful opening immediately sparks readers' interest and captures their sympathy, holding it tight. The crisp and vivid descriptions are entrancing, and the lyrical narration flows like a rhythmic lullaby, a pitch-perfect match for the achingly bittersweet tone of the novel. This lilting quality is only heightened by the succinct but expressive song lyrics that define Sam's mental voice and act as a window into his adorable and bizarrely gentle soul.
The novel alternates between two points-of-view -- Sam and Grace -- each with their own distinct voice and personality, and both equally charming. Through Sam's narration, the history of the wolves and their overwhelming sense of camaraderie and loyalty are brought vibrantly to life, even though the pack is rarely shown together in the present. The mythology of the wolves is innovative and imaginative, while still serving as the devastating catalyst for the tale. Grace is an intricate blend of strength and vulnerability, a compelling heroine who can still feel like the girl next door.
The harrowing highs and lows that the star-crossed young lovers experience are heart-wrenching without being melodramatic, a rare and surprising combination. Their profound and impossible bond is intoxicating, creating a tale so emotionally gripping that it could bring even the most stoic reader to tears. Though paranormal teen romances are a dime a dozen these days, Maggie Stiefvater manages to capture a unique, ethereal essence that prevents Shiver from seeming stale and makes it a truly spellbinding and soul-wrenching saga of fate, family, and force of will.
Click here to purchase Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.