Because I was absolutely enthralled with my ability to listen to books, I scoured the library’s database and settled on Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I quite enjoyed Shiver and it ended on such a dramatic note my fingers were trembling as I downloaded Linger. I could hardly even wait for the download to complete before pressing play and watched the screen impatiently as I mixed ingredients for scones. I’ve been on a huge scone kick and found the most awesome and versatile recipe. Anyway, the second Linger was downloaded I hit the screen with my still somewhat floured finger and the anxiety eased out of my body as the story filled the air.
Here’s the thing, it’s impossible to talk about Linger without spoiling Shiver. So. You are warned. You can stop reading this review and not be spoiled, in fact head on over to my review of Shiver instead, or you can keep reading and be spoiled. Either way, it’s your choice, so don’t come crying to me.
At the end of Shiver, Grace and Isabel work together to heal Sam of his werewolf virus by giving him meningitis. However, the same cure does not work for Isabel’s brother Jack, and he dies in her arms. Even though Sam and Grace have gone to so much trouble to stay together in spite of Sam’s werewolf past, her parents are against him, and most of Grace’s story is her struggle with their sudden smothering parenting. Sam tries to be patient with Grace’s parents, but then Grace gets sick and sneaks away to be with Sam. Added to this, Sam has to deal with Cole, a brand new werewolf that Beck brought back because many of the werewolves this year will stay wolves and the pack needs wolves who can stay human to keep them all safe. Cole has secrets of his own and has a hard time cooperating with Sam’s idea of the way the pack should be run. Grace becomes their mediator even though she doesn’t feel well. Isabel develops an interest in the pack, particularly in Cole, but she has has to work through her own grief about her brother dying while she tries to ensure the pack survives enemies from nature and man.
To be perfectly honest I got a little bored with Sam and Grace’s relationship. I mean la de dah, the young couple dost find their true loves and there the book endeth. And yet here the story of their relationship lingers…. get it? But I felt it kind of putters around in this book and doesn’t really stay all that interesting. Much more captivating are the other relationship dynamics that emerge. I particularly like how Cole and Grace interact. There isn’t any romantic feelings between them, but as they spend more time together a solid friendship develops. Grace deals with Cole’s disengagement from his life much better than Sam does. Sam feels the pressures of adulthood and a new realization that he could stay human forever and maybe even go to school and that kind of floors him. How these dynamics play out was far more interesting to me than Sam and Grace True Love FOREVER!
By far the best relationship to emerge in Linger is Cole and Isabel. There is heat and sparing and it is not all love and fairy tales. Rather it is rocky roads and kissing toads. Nothing seems to quite fit with these two in spite of the heat between them. Isabel is my favorite character in this series, and I don’t think this has to do with my propensity for liking supporting characters or the underdog. Isabel is no underdog, she is strong, and sure of herself, and oh so vulnerable. Perhaps it is because she develops the most emotionally across the two books as her character comes into focus, but I found her thought process and forward action focused life fascinating.
The story is told from each of the character’s perspectives. I listened to the audiobook version of Linger by Maggie Steifvater as read by Dan Bittner (Cole), Pierce Cravens (Sam), Emma Galvin (Isabel), Jenna Lamia (Grace). Jenna Lamia was the only person who was the same from Shiver. I was a little annoyed they changed Sam, I really like how David LeDoux read his portions in Shiver and some of the magic of Sam’s story was lost because it was coming from a different person. I think one of the reasons I really like this series, even though it has some serious TRUE LOVE flaws , is the fact that I listened to it rather than read it. The narrators really do an excellent job of bringing life to the written words. And because it was being read to me I couldn’t easily skim around and find Cole and Isabel’s portions and was forced to listen to the story as written, and that really helped me understand the pacing of the book. Perhaps it is because Cole is the bad boy character in the book but I really think Dan Bittner has an incredibly sexy voice. Stiefvater is an excellent writer, and listening to these people speak her words was a highlight of the experience.
As I said, I’m not the biggest fan of Sam and Grace’s TRUE LOVE bits, however, in Linger there are some relationship struggles, and I appreciate that side of a good relationship was shown. I thought the pacing was good, everything built up to the end of the book were there was a mad dash to the finish. I do enjoy those kind of stories. I felt the book was very Young Adult at points, but I just kind of rolled my eyes and listened with a smirk until something happened that made me go, “Yikes!”
Linger is an excellent second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy with interesting character development, the plot thickens, and histories are revealed to culminate in an action packed ending.