Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's hot then it's cold

Maggie Stiefvater

Why are werewolves SO much hotter than vampires? If I were forced to choose between these two supernatural beings, werewolves would win. Hands down. Every time. Shiver is an interesting twist on the traditional myth of werewolves set to the same old (well-loved) tune of teenage star-crossed lovers.

When Grace was 11 years old, she was attacked by wolves that live in the woods outside of her Minnesota town of Mercy Falls. She survived the attack and while most people would have developed a healthy fear of these canines, she develops an obsession with a wolf with yellow eyes that always is hanging around. She finally realizes that the wolf morphs into a man, Sam, when the temperature is warm and, as winter approaches, they both struggle to keep him human as long as possible.

I really liked the story of the werewolves and thought the the temperature-induced shifting was an interesting concept. The story was also alternately told from Grace and Sam's perspectives and it provided a more well-rounded story being able to get into both of these characters heads - it cut down on the contrived dialogue that would have been needed to fill the narrator in if it was only told from one POV. The story was tween-cheesy-overly-dramatic-the-world-will-end-if-we-can't-be-together....and I wouldn't have my tween romances any other way! There were some really interesting relationships between characters aside from Grace and Sam; unfortunately, the peripheral story lines were not developed nearly to their full potential but I give the author credit for at least trying.

I didn't like that some parts of the story were so unrealistic - I mean parts OTHER than the shape-shifting werewolves who fall in love with local girls. Grace's parents were borderline neglectful, which resulted in me being angry at them any time they were mentioned. I know that absentee parenting is the hot new trend in teen dramas - perhaps it's because teens who read the books view themselves as independent and not needing invasive parents who do things like make sure they aren't falling in love with non-humans - but parents that don't qualify for a call to social services would be a real breath of fresh air.

The big points deduction for me came from the bazillion unanswered questions I had at the end! Let's see if I can speak in code to those of you who have read this: 1) Ummm, what happened to the newbies that showed up at the end? It was like they were vaporized right out of the story! 2) How in the world does a 17 year old girl have working knowledge of drawing blood? And how did she do it with NO ONE noticing. Oh wait, adults are oblivious. 3) What is up with the white princess that spontaneously shows up and disappears without any explanation what-so-ever? 4) The ending!!! OMG, I want to know who? what? when? where? why? and how? 5) What are the walls of Grace's bedroom made from - fully sound-proof material and a magical spell that causes anyone approaching to be confused and walk away? I am 27 years old and I want my walls to be made of that.

Overall, once I just decided to let go of some of the dangling questions that will never be answered, I really enjoyed this book! It still didn't compare to another popular tween novel that I will not name (it rhymes with "highlight") but this definitely piqued my interested and the second installment (Linger, which comes out late June) deserves a read.

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