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Shiver Paperback – 1 Jun 2010
|Paperback, 1 Jun 2010||
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Several years ago, Grace was attacked by a pack of wolves in the woods -- and unexpectedly rescued by a yellow-eyed wolf. Ever since, he's appeared in the woods in the winter, and vanishes in summer. What she doesn't know is that the yellow-eyed wolf is a werewolf, who also lives as a boy named Sam.
Then a teenage boy is killed by wolves, and his body is stolen from the morgue. The town of Mercy Falls is thrown into a frenzy, but Grace knows that something supernatural is afoot.
When a bunch of illegal hunters try to kill the wolf pack, Grace rushes in to save her wolf -- and finds "her wolf" as a wounded, naked human boy. It turns out that cold triggers his transformations, while "warm makes me me. Makes me Sam." But as the cold approaches the town again, Grace may lose Sam in more than one way -- if she isn't destroyed as well.
"Shiver" has a poetic quality that most urban fantasy lacks -- it's a delicate, hauntingly crystalline book where even the humdrum high-school stuff takes on an ethereal quality. Maggie Stiefvater really came up with a unique idea for werewolves as well, where their transformation is dependent on the temperature -- cold makes them wolves, warmth makes then human. (Why don't they move to the tropics then?)
And her prose has a shimmering beauty that envelops you in black-leafed forests, wintry skies, snow-encrusted fur and icy air ("Despite the chilly air that made ghosts of my breath..."). She writes dramatic, intense situations that really grasp your emotions (Grace stumbling across a transformed Jack), but without melodrama or excessive dialogue.
I'm also rather sick of hormonal teenagers obsessing on each other and calling it "true love." Grace and Sam's relationship is a much more moving one -- hesitant, unsure, but deeply caring and rooted in true affection. Stiefvater explores their personalities in detail before they ever "meet" each other, and she constructs a delicate web of other relationships -- Shelby, Beck, Isabel, Jack, and so on.
Maggie Stiefvater's "Shiver" is a werewolf novel that deftly sidesteps many of the genre cliches, and leaves you in a chilly cocoon of beautiful prose. A must-read for those who want something more substantial and less creepy than "Twilight."