Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book review: Shiver


Shiver
A young girl obsessed with wolves, a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breathe away and a new twist on werewolf folklore makes for one of the most beautifully written YA fiction books ever.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)

Ever since she was saved by a yellow-eyed wolf when she was young, 17-year old Grace has developed an obsession with wolves.

Keenly observing the wolf pack in the woods just behind her home, her instincts tell her that the yellow-eyed wolf she sees is the very same wolf that saved her back when she was but a little girl. It's his presence that she always looks out for, and it is his presence that she just can't seem to live without.

When she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose startling familiarity leaves her breathless, she can't help but be convinced that the boy and the wolf are one and the same. 

Sometimes a boy, sometimes a wolf, Sam spends the icy and cold winter season in wolf form, while summer times sees him  shifting to his human form. When Grace falls in love with Sam -whose seasons of becoming human decrease each year - they have to decide just how much they're willing to risk in order to be together.

Ever loved a book so much that you actually can't even begin to find the words to describe just how much you loved it?

Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver is one such book.

I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect when I came across this book as I've never heard of Maggie Stiefvater before (even though she had previously released Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception and Ballad), and for some odd reason, the book didn't grab me at first (Looking back now, I can't for the life of me figure out why I was so reluctant to read this book).

I loved everything about this book. The writing, the characters and the way the story just flowed seamlessly and beautifully together. Anyone who is a fan of werewolf books will love the completely different twist on the werewolf lore that many people normally associate werewolves with (read: full-moon transformations, silver as a weakness, etc.)

Considering the fact that Maggie's love of music is exquisitely incorporated into the book, I thought that if I had to find a musical instrument that could sum up what her writing style is like, then the musical instrument I would most likely compare her writing to, is a harp.  Lyrical and compellingly beautiful with traces of melancholy that seems to linger (I had to get that in somehow) behind and tug at one's heartstrings.

And the characters?

Don't even get me started on how much I love the characters. I've read a lot of YA fiction where the characters are completely modelled to be just another Mary Sue cliché, but not this one.  Grace is, for lack of a better word, far more real and relatable to than most of the girls who populate this genre. She's pragmatic, well-grounded and refreshingly extraordinary in her ordinariness. 

Know what I mean? 

I also loved the fact that Sam wasn't the bad-boy, the charmer or the playboy in need of reformation. He's just a sensitive, all-round good guy who bonds with an almost, but not quite average everyday kind of girl over time.

Narrated in turns by Grace and Sam, Maggie effortlessly and seamlessly showcases the chemistry between them without the change of point of view being jarring at all. In fact, I often had to look twice at the heading to check whose "voice" was resonating at specific points in time.  Two different voices, both riding the same wavelength.

If that doesn't show how well Grace and Sam suit each other, then I dare you to tell me otherwise. 

You just have to read this.  That's an order!

My overall rating: 5 stars - yes, it's that good of a book!

5 comments:

GABY said...

I'm glad you like it, great review :)

Splendibird said...

It's a winner isn't it?? It took me a while to get round to reading it but it is now one of my all time favourites - it's even better second time round. Lament and Ballad are also worth a look, they are totally different but very good (particularly Ballad). Great review.

Aisle B said...

HI Tammy!
I am jealous of your Shiver! It's so much more nicer and the effect is absolutely gorgeous. I have the run of the mill hard copy, yes I still love it but wow yours just beats it completely.

Putting Shiver up to the top of the NEXT TO READ. It's sitting on my shelf and has been beckoning me forever. Your review did it.. Moved WAY UP to PRIORITY READING NOW ;)

PS Thanks for coming by Aisle B and hope you got a chance to dip into the guacomole tacos.

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Great review, Tammy! I loved Shiver too. I am eagerly awaiting Linger! :)

CarlyB said...

Yay, great review Tammy! I loved, loved, loved Shiver so much - but I'm guessing you got that from my fangirl Tweets yesterday :). I know exactly what you mean about loving a book so much you don't quite know how to start reviewing it - I'm having the exact same problem with Shiver myself. I know whatever review I write won't quite get across how much I loved it. And the cover art is gorgeous as well - always a plus!x