Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review: Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Sam and Grace have defied all odds to be together. Unfortunately, the euphoria of their triumph over fate hasn't even worn off before the universe once again conspires against them. Sam is having trouble filling his role as the pack's new caretaker, Grace's parents have suddenly decided to be a concerned presence in her life, Isabel is wracked with guilt over her brother's second death, and a new member of the pack threatens the secrecy they've so carefully cultivated. If only those were the least of their worries -- but something darker and more deadly is brewing, threatening to tear them apart from the inside out. It's just another winter in Mercy Falls.

In Linger, Maggie Stiefvater weaves another heartfelt tale of passion and desperation. Her lyrical prose and stark imagery create a magical reading experience where emotions run high and nerves are tightly wound. A constant sense of dread hangs over the novel, keeping readers in suspense from page one as they wait for the other shoe to drop on the star-crossed lovers. Stiefvater is a master at tugging on readers' heartstrings, making their hearts ache and stomachs drop as the angst and impossibility become increasingly intense. Thankfully, moments of humor provide much-needed breaks from the emotional turmoil Stiefvater so powerfully evokes.

Sam and Grace's relationship feels strained in this installment compared to their perfect fit in Shiver, as they're both in denial about the cruel twists of fate that still threaten their tenuous security. The narrative drive is less clear and the central conflict almost falls away into the background, so studiously do Grace and Sam ignore it. However, seeing them from an outsider's point-of-view brings their profound connection back into focus and assures readers that the two teens are truly meant-to-be. Though Sam and Grace are young and haven't known each other that long, Stiefvater somehow makes readers believe in their love. After everything they've been through, and the old souls that lurk inside their young bodies, it's like they've known each other a lifetime. They are complimentary opposites, bringing out the best in one another. I love the perfect balance of their dynamic -- they need each other equally, a rare and wonderful thing in modern YA relationships.

Isabel and Cole really steal the show, though. Their deeply damaged souls, hidden behind sarcastic masks, evoke sympathy in readers even as it pushes them away. They are characters of contradiction, and a perfect foil for the profound understanding between Sam and Grace. Their banter is sharp and snappy, and their rough edges feel real to anyone whose life isn't picture perfect. Stiefvater's characters are nothing if not complex, and the humanity she brings to Cole's sardonic shell is endearing, making him a fascinating character in a complicated life. Isabel also has a refreshing way of cutting right to the truth of things -- something all of the characters desperately need to hear. Despite her cold protective exterior, she is surprisingly insightful and self-aware.

One minor character demands a special mention -- Rachel. I would read an entire book about Rachel. She provided much of the comic release in this novel, and was a fabulous best girl friend for Grace. She has so much to offer, and it would really round out Grace's character to spend more time with someone not wrapped up in the pack madness.

In Mercy Falls, love is a struggle. It can never be easy for these ill-fated lovers, but somehow that makes their devotion all the more sublime.

Rating: 


Come back tomorrow Tuesday for my review and signed ARC giveaway of the third and final book in the Mercy Falls trilogy, Forever!

17 comments:

LoriStrongin said...

I LOVED Shiver, and I've got high hopes for Linger. Sounds like Maggie did a good job showing that no relationship is perfect and that there's always friction beneath that Happy Ever After.


Smiles!
Lori

Bookworm1858 said...

As I prepare for the release of Forever, I've been thinking back about these books and I really appreciated the addition of Isabel and Cole who I did end up really liking. Can't wait to see what happens next!

ashelynn hetland said...

I love Rachel. She is a fabulous best friend for Grace (she's the one who calls Sam "The Boy," right? I read Linger two months after it came out so my mind's a little fuzzy on the small details.)

I like Isabel and Cole, maybe because of their broken selves.

Ooh, I really can't wait for my copy of Forever to come. Great review!

Kelcie Bentley said...

I agree with how their relationship didnt seem as real as in the first one. Hopefully forever will be as good as Shiver... Anyways, great review, as always! (:

barmybex said...

I liked Cole, but felt he took away from Grace and Sam as a couple. Still loving the series though, cannot wait for Forever!

Novels On The Run said...

I've got Linger but I held off reading until Forever is released. I need to recap Shiver and read them altogether. I have heard whispers of Cole being yummy???

Michelle A

tintinbrains@bigpond.com

TheGirlOnFire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheGirlOnFire said...

I am not sure why but I really love Cole. I guess his character just seems so real. Actually that is one thing that I think makes this series so unique, the characters all seem so down to earth. Thanks for the review.

Ashley Suzanne said...

Another great review!

Karen Roth said...

I agree with the idea of Rachel, she's funny =D and I think the same about Sam and Grace love, their love is pure, despite the fact that they are young, their love is real...

Awesome review!

blackplume said...

I'm excited to start reading the series since the last book is already out. Can't wait to get my copies of all three books.

Krystal said...

I loved this book, I'm glad you enjoyed it too :) I love the romance between Sam and Grace <-the selling point for me.

Vivien said...

I was really drawn to Cole in this novel. His characterization just really spoke to me. Completely realistic.

Ronyka7 said...

Great review. Love the way Maggie writes is like poetry. and the liryks of Sam's Songs are Great. I LOVE Cole. he is great.

this is a very good review.

Syki said...

My favorite person in this book was Isabel. I like her more than Grace...

ElfRenee said...

Love this series! I agree that Isabel and Cole steal the show here.

Lieder Madchen said...

Now I really want to read this one. I am so very glad that it is sitting on my desk just waiting for me to finish Shiver... :)

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