While waiting for The Raven Boys to be available at my local library I discovered that Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series was available in eaudio format from my library. I immediately downloaded Shiver, read by David LeDoux and Jenna Lamia, and listened to it as I cleaned my house and did dishes. Shiver is a story of werewolves, but it is not just a story of the supernatural. Like her other books, Stiefvater’s stories always revolve around relationships and friendships. It is less a story of werewolves and rather a story of growing up, standing up for what you believe in, and both of these lessons are lessons of the heart and head.
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. (Synopsis from GoodReads)
What I enjoyed about this series and this book was the wonderful cast of characters Stiefvater created. Grace is an only child of absentee parents, her only focus in life has been good grades in school in order to go to college and she spends time with her two best friends. But Sam, in one form or another, has been with her all her life and so when he finally appears in a more intense way, she is surprised to find a life outside of her normal routine. She comes alive with Sam in her life. Sam had a hard childhood, and his life as a human is coming to a close. Soon he wont be able to change back again once winter comes around, and of course this is the summer where he finally meets Grace and gets to know her. Sam is calm and steady, he is an artist and sees life in a bigger way.. The side characters are just as intriguing. I particularly liked Isabel, who is not Grace’s favorite person in the world, but who becomes invested in the werewolves and manages to be independent, quirky, and smart.
Some of the TRUE LOVE portions of the book had me giggling, I’ll admit. And I had the “twist” figured out far ahead of time. But I enjoyed the prose of Stiefvater’s story, and the images she evokes. I liked the story and the reading of it. In fact, I’m not sure if I would have liked it so much if I had read it myself. David LeDoux and Jenna Lamia, in alternating chapters, gave the voices of of Grace and Sam depth and nuance. Sometimes I think I read books too quickly, skimming over some of the descriptions, but that wasn’t possible listening to the eaudio version. Therefore, I focused more on the prose and the story because of the format. Plus, I’ll forgive a young adult series some of the angst I wouldn’t forgive an adult series. They are in high school after all, this is pretty much what I would expect the emotional reaction of a teenager to be. To be fair, Grace isn’t just angsty, she’s also smart, and thoughtful, and grows throughout the series, which is all that I ask of a YA heroine.
OK. So the TRUE LOVE thing might turn some people off, so I am going to put a SPOILER in white (you’ll have to highlight the next portion with your cursor if you want to read it) why this particular TRUE LOVE story did not upset me like some other ::coughTwilightcough:: series have in the past. Spoilers!!! For one thing, Grace and Sam’s relationship grows. They work on it. And they stick it out. This requires emotional vulnerability from both of them throughout the series, and I think shows that you don’t give up on a relationship just because it gets hard. I’m not a big fan that Grace isn’t yet 18, but it’s YA so I let it go. Secondly, this is the only TRUE LOVE story line. Isabel has a romantic relationship in second and third book that is not true love, and it ends without marriage and baby carriage. Thirdly, I quite enjoyed that there was no Love Triangle, there wasn’t even a hint of one. Sam and Grace are for each other and everyone sees it and no hidden vampires leap from the shadows and try to spirit Grace off. I’ll forgive one love trope. End of Spoilers!!! So that is why I still liked this series despite the TRUE LOVE thing.