Release Date: 5th October 2009
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Source: Purchased (Amazon UK)
Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance.
Shiver is the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls saga. I was recommended this book by several bloggers and the hundreds of great reviews. After reading too many vampire books, I wasn’t sure how I felt about a werewolf book, but I was mistaken. While it did take me three attempts to make it past the first few pages, it was well worth it once I got into it.
The book itself is an interesting approach to telling the story of Grace and a wolf called Sam. Grace grows up with a horrid past, where at the age of six she was attacked by wolves, only to be spared by a wolf with yellow eyes. Instead of being afraid her whole life, she becomes fascinated with the pack and the yellow eyed wolf, Sam. She spends the years after the traumatic event watching the woods behind her home, where the yellow eyed wolf is also keeping watch on her. It is only when another attack occurs on a teenage boy, several years later that the town of Mercy Falls begins to pay attention and launches a hunt against the wolves. Grace is against the attacks and does all she can to protect the wolves. Unfortunately there is a victim.... her wolf, Sam. Sam turns up shot and bleeding in his human form on Grace’s porch. Without giving you too many spoilers, the story sets off from there with Grace and Sam finally be able to communicate with each other.
There are some interesting bits:
When it comes to the format, It is written in alternate chapters, from Grace and Sam’s point of view, sharing their story. While it is confusing at first to have to switch between two characters, it is in fact more insightful as you get to read both sides of this teen romance.
We find out that the wolves in fact turn human during the warmer months, which gives Grace and Sam a chance to form their relationship. However, before you think it’s a simple love story, we find out there is a set number of years this happens and then they become stuck in their wolf form for the rest of their lives. With that whole hiccup right there, you know the whole story will be about fighting to save Sam.
A very unique and a great little detail - the chapters are headed by the temperature at the present time... giving the reader a better feel of how hard it is for Sam to stay in his human form, especially when it’s freezing cold. Depending on what country you buy it in, you can find this in Celsius of Fahrenheit. This to me was a blessing because the last thing I want is to have to convert temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius every chapter.
By far one of my favourite covers for the past few years. There seems to be two different designs, depending on the country you buy it in, but both are equally brilliant. I love the graphic style of the black, white and red, detailing branches of the woods and giving off that cold, dry winter night feel. To give credit to the illustrator, it was created by Christopher Stengel. The US cover (below), while using a different colour palette gives a more day snowy winter feel. Which do you prefer?
While I loved the authors writing and love of poetry, I will do my best not to compare it to other books. While, in the beginning it did remind me of Twilight sans vampires... the Bella and Jacob story, had Bella had this pure obsession for Jacob, I got over it. There is this intense love between Grace and Sam and it definitely matches the passion teenagers cry over today. I only wish this book was around when I was a teen. To give this book an honest review without being bias, it was a great read. The wolf part isn’t too grotesque, so don’t be put off by a teen wolf romance... It may have taken me a while to warm up to the idea and finally give the book a chance, but I highly recommend it to YA fans.
I would love to know what you thought of the book. If you have also read the next book, please do share links to your reviews in the comments section as I would love to see if the next book lives up to the first.