It occurs to me that I finished listening to Shiver, the first book in this trilogy, in early September of 2010, driving to and from the hospital. I didn’t get the books I read those couple months reviewed at all. And while I’d normally prefer to write the review of the first book of a trilogy rather than just the second, my memory is just not that good. And I just now got around to listening to this one.
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. Read by Dan Bittner, Pierce Cravens, Emma Galvin, & Jenna Lamia. There isn’t really a way to tell this story without spoilers for the first book. In the first book, Sam, a young werewolf, and Grace, bitten as a child but somehow never turned, fall in love and risk it all to find a way to stay together, as Sam will otherwise just turn into a wolf and stay that way forever. A new werewolf, Jack, also attempts a cure but dies instead. And Sam is horrified to see the leader of the pack and Sam’s adopted father, Beck, turn up with a truck full of new werewolves to ensure a future for the pack.
In this book, it is March in Minnesota, freezing days alternating with warm. The narration also alternates between main characters, here four instead of Shiver’s two. The audio version of this is wonderful, as each is narrated by a different person. Sam is essentially secretly living with Grace in her parent’s house. This works because they are pretty classically neglectful parents, assuming that she is perfectly obedient without supervision and able to take care of herself (and them) on her own. Isabel, Jack’s sister, is struggling with Jack’s death. She’s the high school’s popular mean girl, but adversity has given her a prickly bond with Grace. Sam is still struggling some with what he learned about Beck in the last book, but more trying to trust in his cure enough to make plans for his own life and also to adjust to his role as the new leader of the pack in Beck’s absence. Everyone is waiting for warm weather to turn wolves human again and answer mountains of questions. Are Beck and Ulrich really permanently wolves? Did the new wolves, including Grace’s friend Olivia, survive the winter? Will the pack be able to survive the impact of Cole’s turbulent past? Will Sam and Grace remain undiscovered, and what will her parents’ reaction be if they find out? I was really wishing that I had more time in the car (something I rarely wish) so that I could finish this sooner. Stiefvater has for me a perfect combination of good characters, compelling plot, just detailed enough world, and beautiful writing. She’s able to make me believe that two teenagers could fall in love and know it’s forever, even when most of the time in real life, I’d advocate for waiting a bit longer. I love the shifting theories about how being a werewolf works – rules that, like real-life science, exist but aren’t easy to nail down. This is the middle volume, and so of course you’ll want to start at the beginning and end at the end. But even with all of that against it, this was a story that grabbed me and hasn’t let me go yet. I recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoyed Twilight, especially Team Jacob, as supernatural romance done better.
[Cover for Shiver posted as well, because I find these covers so beautiful.]