Thursday, 30 July 2015

Reviewing the Evidence - Shiver

Title: Shiver (US Link)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: paranormal, romance, ditzy, werewolves, ya
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls (#1)

A few starting notes:

I didn't really have many preconceptions about this book - I knew it was YA, and a paranormal romance, so probably also ditzy (I was right.) For those of you who aren't familiar with my own special brand of genre designation, ditzy is best described via personification - she's like a teen girl who keeps laughing in that way that sounds like dolphin noises. You know, the dolphin noises? Yeah, her.


When she was 11, Grace was attacked by wolves. Unlike most normal people, who would probably stay away from wolves after that, she becomes obsessed with them. Lucky for her (and for the plot) these wolves are not quite what they appear to be. Cue a teenaged Grace, another kid getting attacked by wolves, and a heap load of s**t hitting the fan. (Sometimes I think I write far better blurbs than the ones on the backs of books...and then I remember that's because no-one's paying me.)

Best bits:

The character of Isabel is awesome sauce! At first, I didn't like her - because she's painted as the kind of girl that we're not supposed to like: popular, gossipy, b***hy, rich, and privileged. But after a while, she comes into her own. She rocks. Honestly, she makes up for all the craziness.

I also like Sam - it's nice to have a book where the boy is more in touch with his feelings than the lead girl. Plus, a slightly traumatised bookish boy who's head over heels in love, and plays guitar, is pretty much what any girl would fall over themselves for, lets be honest. His song lyrics are terrible, but I'm willing to overlook it.

Ms Stiefvater also has some interesting twists on werewolf lore - can't say anything for fear of spoilers, but I was pleasantly surprised by the attempt to bring some originality to the genre.

Not so great bits:

There's some stuff in here that'll upset some people - negligent and sometimes abusive parents feature, references are made to self-harm and suicide attempts, and there's much blood 'n' gore and an unfortunate syringe scene (*shudders*) but it probably won't bother people who don't have the paralysing fear of needles that I do.

There's also some virginal sexy times involving older teens (I think they're 18, or close to it,) which may offend the sensibilities of some, but it doesn't get that explicit.

I found that the urge to slap Grace was pretty high - though she was better in a crisis than I thought she would be. Generally speaking though, she's not a character I really liked all that much - maybe because she's so bland and yet so very incredibly stupid. Who obsesses over the wolves that attacked you in such a creepy way? Argh! It just felt like she was a bit too cookie-cutter paranormal romance heroine (I'm talking Bella Swan levels of cardboard and lack of chemistry) and that was slightly disappointing. But, like I said, she perks up in a crisis, so there is hope yet.


This is readable and enjoyable - and will certainly appeal to tweens and teens who like to dive into paranormal romances. Isabel and Sam are the saving graces - unlike Grace, who needs a suffusion of personality before the next book.

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