Sunday, 10 November 2013

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

If you have not yet ever picked up a book by Maggie Stiefvater, shame on you. She is quickly becoming one of the biggest YA authors today and she has a talent for turning out one fantastic book after another. The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys are two other popular titles by Stiefvater, if you've never heard her name. Shiver is the first book of her werewolves of Mercy Falls series. Who will like this book? Girls who have weaknesses for super sweet, sensitive, attractive boys with a dark side, Twihards who are Team Jacob, fans of supernatural romance, ...or people like me who misread "Mercy Falls" as "Mystic Falls" and did a double take, you will LOVE this book. Note to self: be wary of all towns that have "Falls" in the name.

Maggie Stiefvater adds her brilliance to the werewolf mythology and gives the world another supernatural heart throb to dream about. This tale of "doomed love" between a human and a werewolf was exhilarating, sweet, full of suspense, and of dangerous things that lurk in the woods.

The violence, adrenaline, and fear built around the werewolves is woven into this romantic and slightly tragic love story. There were some graphic scenes--and very dark subjects of abuse, psychological trauma, animal violence, etc., but they are so well-written and are crucial to the narrative. Stiefvater writes with a purpose, not for shock value. As I got to the last fifty pages or so, I couldn't put the book down. The story is captivating, thrilling, and beautiful, even in its darkest moments.

An interesting thing to note about the book is the changing colours of the text. The pages fade from a chilly dark blue to black, hinting at greater themes like transformation of something cold to something dark and dangerous. Or else, the transformation of the cold, blue, abnormal to normalcy, as black is the (normal). A very unique stylistic choice that was a little distracting at first, but as I quickly got hooked into the story, I barely noticed.

I'm excited to start the next book in the series, Linger. The ending of Shiver was intense and I was on edge, waiting for the ending to leave me hanging as each chapter at the end is very, very short and I was in despair of the ending just being dropped over my head. The final sentences did not let me down--in fact they ensured that I would be anxious to get my hands on a copy of Linger ASAP.

I'm not a huge fan of supernatural romance, though I recognize its prominence and its ability to sell books in the post-Twilight era. I did always like the vampire mythology better, though its more because the history of vampires in literature (not myths, real poems, stories that are studied by scholars) goes WAY back and its long history fascinates me. Shiver makes werewolf mythology more interesting to me.

What I'm say is do not judge or roll your eyes to hear that this book is about werewolves. Maggie Stiefvater is a powerful writer and she does not need the popularity of the vampire/werewolf mythology to sell books. She does it on pure talent. Stiefvater's Shiver will take your breath away.

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