Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvator

Book description

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.


Shiver explores the relationship between Grace and Sam. When Grace was young she was attacked by wolves. One of the Wolves saves her and Grace develops a fascination with them and in particular the wolf that saved her (Sam). In time, Grace discovers Sam shivering on her back porch, then witnesses his transformation to wolf. The world falls into place for Grace with this discovery but it might all be taken away because Sam might not be able to turn into a human again. Instead, Sam may be stuck as a wolf forever.


I think the key feature of Linger was the beautifully written prose. There was a lot of descriptive language including metaphors, similes and poetic writing but it was also just really well written. To me the word beautiful can sum up the whole book. When, in the future, I think back to Maggie’s book that is what I will best remember.

The love story between Grace and Sam felt like a real, once in a life time, true love relationship. I think this feeling was, in part, largely created by the beautifully written prose, in contrast to gaining this impression from the story line or what the characters think or say. In spite of this it was still believable. In fact, I think it was more believable than if Maggie had explicitly stated how much they loved each other.

The character creation was also very well done. Both characters had a lot of depth and dimensions. Maggie created a complete view of the characters instead of a basic outline of a person. I felt that I really understood them as people and could understand their reactions to events and possibly even predict their reactions to future situations. Maggie achieved this though a detailed personality analysis, a clear character history and descriptions about their current environmental situation.

There were a few things that reduced my enjoyment of the book. First of all, Grace’s initial obsession with the wolves was a little weird. I thought it was sweet that there was such a connection between her and Sam after he saved her as a girl but it was a bit strong and a little unhealthy. After Grace’s attack looking for ‘her’ wolf and the wolves in general, were what her life seemed to revolve around. In addition, when she said her relationship had changed with the wolf lately (i.e. since she got older) and she couldn’t talk about it as easily with her friends, in combination with her previously made mention to not finding the right boy yet to have a boy friend, I couldn’t help but think ….. ‘beastiality’. I knew he was a werewolf, but she didn’t (at that point). 

Second, there wasn’t a lot of falling in love. They almost started out as ‘in love’ from the first meeting and at most the relationship developed over the first few nights after Sam had turned into a human. If you’re a fan of love at first sight this might be a good romance for you but for me it left the story a little lacking.

Finally, the story line was also a little lacking. The story seemed very slow. Not much happened in terms of a main plotline except descriptions by Grace and Sam to with their relationship and the problems involved with it, such as the possibility of Sam turning back into a wolf forever, at any time. The sub-plots were not explored to any great degree and they were in general far too predictable. In fact the whole story was a little too predictable. There was also a noticeable absence of tension between the characters. This made me a little bored with their relationship despite the obvious connection between them.

Of note for parents, there is a reference within the book to making love with the use of protection. However, the scene was discrete. It did not have detailed descriptions instead there was only a vague outline of the act.

My rating out of 5



  1. Good review! I thought this was a pretty good read as well, even though some things nagged at me as well. Still look forward to Forever though!

  2. Thanks Jessica :) It was a good book. I'm currently reading the next one (in fact I'm nearly finished it). Still finding it a little slow though.