Book review – ‘Shiver’ by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 2/5 stars

When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace’s small town becomes a place of fear.
But Grace is fascinated by the pack, and finds herself inexplicably drawn to a yellow-eyed wolf.
There’s something about him – something almost human. Then she meets the yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away….
A chilling love story that will have you hooked from the very first page..
-from ‘Shiver’ but not on Goodreads because they didn’t have the same blurb

When visiting bookshops with my best friend and looking for books to buy she would often tell me to get this book. She sang its praises (and she wasn’t the only one) and, as our taste is often so similar, it seemed likely that I would also like this tale. However, the blurb didn’t really catch my attention; I’m not really into werewolf romance as a concept. It seemed I always walked out of the bookshop having spent my money on something else but with this novel stuck on my ‘to read’ list. Staying in a holiday cottage, I noticed this book on the shelf and, naturally, I set myself to reading it.
And now for the review, proper.
I’ve been putting off writing the review of Shiver for a couple of days as I hategiving a bad review. Not only is art subjective, which means that this is only my opinion among many, but the artist has to give so much of themselves during the process and to have that rubbished is rather like someone stamping on your soul. So, sorry Mrs. Stiefvater. If it’s any consolation, I liked Lament! Anyway, I’m going to keep this short for the sake of not being really mean (I can’t face the guilt!)
I actually quite liked the wolves within the mythology of the book. The idea of temperature prompting the change was really rather clever and served the plot well. I also feel that the fact that the wolves have a limited number of changes allows for an added dimension of character; how do you deal with your impending loss of humanity?
I think the main problem I had was with the characters.
Grace was someone I just wasn’t interested in. Although Steifvater does an excellent job explaining why she didn’t become a wolf when bitten, something that would have otherwise really annoyed me, the rest of her character just does nothing for me at all. Her personality is not particularly likable, her relationship with her parents seems false… and her relationship with Sam seems even less believable. I guess I should have guessed that their relationship was going to be implausible from the phrase “[Grace is] inexplicably drawn to a yellow eyed wolf” on the back cover. The pair’s relationship is incredibly intense from the word go, no one bats an eyelid, and no-one (not even the couple) stop to wonder why they have this overriding obsession with each other.
Overall, the book did not work for me at all. I feel that a lot of the concepts and plot moments were strong and unusual however the lack of connection to and belief in the characters really let it down, for me. It is a shame because I know that Steifvater is a good writer and I feel that there was the chance for a really good story here but sadly, in my opinion, that chance was missed. The second book is also on my holiday cottage’s book shelf but I won’t be reading it any time soon. 

I don’t own a copy of this book but if you would like to buy one then you can buy it here and at basically any other bookshop online or on the high-street.

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