Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review *Shiver*

The cover is so attractive; Shiver called out to me from the shelf. It was like in a romantic movie when suddenly the heroine's eyes dart exactly over and into her leading man's, a stranger to her but not for long! I was at work when I stopped and looked immediately to the teen shelves directly to my left. Under the "S"s sat this gorgeous spine, different from the rest (it could also be that one of my co-workers shelved it on my day off, otherwise I have my YA and teen sections memorized--this was something new!). I think I actually verbalized "wow" when I checked out the front cover.

Interestingly, I didn't notice the light blue wolf peeking out of the vines in the right corner, so when I was checking out the cover later on I had this great experience of suddenly realizing something was looking right at me; not dissimilar to the sensation of looking into a forest and suddenly seeing something looking back at you. So, well-done to the cover artist.

And the insides of Shiver didn't disappoint. This is a unique werewolf/shapeshifter novel; the mythos developed for Sam and his pack, the rules and laws of werewolves in this world, is new. Although I would argue that Shiver is more of a book about shapeshifters than werewolves. Actually, Stiefvater meshes both myths toegther to get what she needs for the story, and it works. Once bitten by a werewolf a person will spend some time switching back and forth between wolf and human until only in cold weather will he or she remain a wolf. Then, after so many years of living as both, a person becomes a wolf fully, leaving their human life.

Grace was dragged into the woods by wolves when she was younger, but never changed. Ever since she has had a connection with one yellow-eyed wolf in particular who watches her from the edge of the woods by her house. Until one day she meets Sam and can't shake the feeling that she "knows" him somehow. Grace and Sam have a few dilemmas around their romance as Sam's pack attack a too important human and the whole town is up in arms, and a few of Grace's friends discover their secret.

Shiver is aptly named. Even though the book is set in September, I couldn't shake the chilled feeling I had while reading it, as if it were December. Grace's woods, also, were amazingly described.

I enjoyed the developing relationship between Grace and Sam; it had this fated quality. They were sweeter with each other, there wasn't this focus on the sexual tension between them, or at least I didn't feel like "okay, just do it already" while I was reading. Actually Sam might have been a little too sweet; at one point he turns to her while they're watching a movie and is all like "tell me about the strained relationship between you and your parents". It's a little too emo for me. I was like "dude, seriously, there's a better time for it and she'll tell you when she's ready not when she's being put on the spot". But he DOES take her to a bookstore on their first date, so he made it up to me.

Shiver was a quiet, beautiful, and unique read. It's also nice to see some werewolves represented. Also, I am hugely not a fan of the paperback art (bottom, right). The tone doesn't touch the content of the story and it looks vampirey.

Shiver. Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic. 390 pages of pure werewolf love.


Tales of Whimsy said...

1. I can not wait to read this. I've been dying to actually. I need to just breakdown and buy it.
2. Can you believe I've looked at this cover so many times and never noticed the wolf?
3. Great review.
4. I like the blue and white better too.

Mandy said...

Juju: Oh good, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't notice the wolf. Wasn't it awesome, though, when you relaized he was there? Now THAT's a great cover.
The black cover is all wrong, I think.

Cecelia said...

I'm loving this book. I'm about halfway through and trying to make it last. The little bursts of humor (mostly in dialogue) are my favorite bits so far...I somehow wasn't expecting comic relief in such a 'serious'-sounding book. But it's awesome.

Love your review. The blue & white completely rocks, paperback is disappointing. Can't wait to read more!

Mandy said...

Celia: Yeah, the humor! I also was surprised to find it in this book! And it was quirky!

Linda Nguyen said...

I think the black cover is scary (and where did the wolf go?)

I went to Chapters in mid August and had my mind set on buying a copy of Shiver, but then I found out it's ~$32. (OMG!) I thought I should buy it online instead with the online discount, or wait (if I can) for the paperback, but if the bottom right cover is for the paperback one, then uh, umm... hmm... I'll think about it. o_O

Pat Bow said...

Beautifully written, with some good characters and a lovely romance. My only two quibbles: Olivia's decision at the end is not well enough accounted for; and Grace's parents are just too oblivious to be true.


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