Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

10 March, 2011 Reviews 7 comments

Review: Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterShiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic Press on August 1st 2009
Pages: 392
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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two-stars

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.

I started reading this book and a curious thing happened. Suddenly my house was sparkling clean, my bills were filed away, I started playing Farm Story and reached level 13 in one day, I did my tax, I spent two hours chatting to the chatbott, Jabberwocky…Anything, and I mean ANYTHING to avoid the boredom of reading Shiver. Shiver, the story of a girl drastically into beastiality, only to find out her wolf lover was really a boy. As I read this book I had the strange urge to lock up my German sheppard should Grace ever decide to visit my home because she really does fall in love with a dog… for YEARS before she ever finds out it’s a boy or that things like werewolves exist. I can’t even begin to express how creepy her obsession with a wolf is.

I get the whole eternal love thing.  Perhaps Stiefvater was trying to show that Sam and Grace’s connection transcends all the things love actually isn’t supposed to transcend.  Maybe I’m just weird and completely unromantic, but I’ve never looked at Fido and found a kindred spirit. I never passed a dog down the street and found that I couldn’t be attracted to men because they just weren’t going to cut it for me anymore.

So, other than the fact that this book disturbed the fucking hell out of me, bored me to death and dragged on like a visit to the old folk’s home, it was also poorly edited. The writing wasn’t TOO bad. Some of the poems were down right rubbish, and some of the others were alright.

Grace and Sam’s voices were near identical. Oh, and another thing, Sam was annoyingly chaste for way too long. Where were all of these careful, thoughtful boys when I was in high school? It’s a disturbing trend, really. Edward Cullen, Sam Roth, Daniel Gregori… they all came pre-pussy whipped and I’m kind of wondering what the attraction is.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for bad boys. Maybe I like boys that I COULDN’T imagine comfortably playing bridge with my 80 year old grandma (not to mention enjoying it!) What is with the sudden need to keep us women in line? If I read one more paranormal, male hunk refuse the supposed love of his life, who is literally flinging her naked body onto him, then I think I’m going to start a convention… a Ball Replacement Convention.

C’mon, Stiefvater! Give the boy his balls back, please! He complained that a jacket made him look bulky!  He wrote a poem about a leaking womb!  What teenage boy doesn’t shudder at the thought  of menstrual blood? What next? Chipped nail, PMS cramps? Is he going to stamp his foot and mutter, “Drat! I can’t believe Jennifer is wearing the same dress as me! I think I might just die!”

Look, I know I’m being incredibly sexist. After all, it was kind of nice to read about a “stoic” female character and an emotional, gentle male character. But Sam felt and read far too much like a middle aged woman and not like a teenage boy.  I didn’t feel like he was well characterized or fleshed out enough.

So all in all, I can’t muster the energy to rant about this book. It was REALLY boring. It was average on the writing scale. It’s secondary characterization was pretty good but the main characters didn’t do it for me. The plot was SLOW.

Her parents were stupid. I could complain that they were unrealistic – but I’ve met some fucked up parents over my life, so I’ll buy that they really could be that moronic. What I will complain about is where they get this amazing and varied social life in a small town. It never explains why Sam’s fate is mysteriously different to Jack’s. Maybe I’m just stupid… No. I don’t buy that. Was it because he was out in the freezing cold so it kept his temperature reasonable? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of giving him a crazy-ass fever? Was it actually because he processed it as a wolf? Well that doesn’t make sense because Grace never changed.

And what’s with the dramatic ending? Really? He gets cured and goes home and gets dressed and reads a few books, checks his mail, gives himself a mani and a pedi, goes on a diet, waits for his skin to clear up, buys the perfect set of shoes and THEN tracks down the love of his life who he thought he’d never see again? I DON’T FUCKING THINK SO! How about stumbling through the forest naked and desperately arriving in Grace’s backyard because he can’t believe the complete miracle of his cure and can’t wait to have the love of his life back in his arms? Yeah, that ending makes so much more sense.

I don’t get why this is popular. But then, I don’t get why Fallen is popular either. It’s just all beyond me. Now I’m off to see if I can cram the word “balls” into this review anymore.

Balls, balls, balls. Oh my goodness she fell in love with a dog! Balls.

Balls.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
I'm supposed to have a crochet date where I chill and crochet but hahahaha overlay crochet and chill? Will never happen. - 9 hours ago
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7 Responses to “Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. SM Johnson

    I’m over here laughing because I agree with most of your reviews here of books I’ve read… and yet… I thought the writing in Shiver was absolutely beautiful, sometimes almost transcendent. It was a sit back and nibble kind of book for me, a quiet, dreamy read. I read all three and was sad that Forever is the last one.

    There were some science and plausibility issues, for sure. But for pure enjoyment of the written language this one really worked for me. (LOL – reading Stephanie’s review of Forever, it seems we have similar feelings about the language).

  2. ellaangelus

    “Shiver” was the first book I rated with 1 star. And it wasn’t even like I’ve read better books at the time, I started Shiver when I was just beginning to see the wonders of books, reading crappy, soapy ones that mainstream peeps recommended and some I even slightly liked back then AND SHIVER STILL FELT LIKE IT WAS BLEH.
     
    “I’ve never looked at Fido and found a kindred spirit. I never passed a dog down the street and found that I couldn’t be attracted to men because they just weren’t going to cut it for me anymore.”
     
    Best. part. of the review. Seriously.
     
    Ella
    http://readintohiding.blogspot.ro

  3. ellaangelus

    “Shiver” was the first book I rated with 1 star. And it wasn’t even like I’ve read better books at the time, I started Shiver when I was just beginning to see the wonders of books, reading crappy, soapy ones that mainstream peeps recommended and some I even slightly liked back then AND SHIVER STILL FELT LIKE IT WAS BLEH.
     
    “I’ve never looked at Fido and found a kindred spirit. I never passed a dog down the street and found that I couldn’t be attracted to men because they just weren’t going to cut it for me anymore.”
     
    Best. part. of the review. Seriously.
     
    Ella
    http://readintohiding.blogspot.ro

  4. Kitty

    These reviews are utterly brilliant! Even on really bad days I know I can take a peek at this site and will come away doubled over, crying with laughter. Thank you so much for remaining one of the few sane reviewers left when it comes to YA fiction, it is this kind of book that has put me off the genre entirely. I mean, really, ITS A FREAKING DOG! I got the first few chapters for free and I couldn’t even finish that. The book literally made me angry, I’m sick of authors opting for that “dreamy” writing style as an excuse for any old reactions they want to flog as acceptable and normal when they blatantly aren’t! The only reason I hope such novels continue to be published is so that I can continue to enjoy these rants.

  5. Georgia

    I know this review was a while ago but it really pisses me off, I have passed this review a few times and every time I want to burst into a fit of yelling, I really need to get this of my chest though and I don’t mean to be a … Bitch, but I know anyone would want to defend there favourite book with a review so negative. I know you admited to being sexist but that doesn’t make this right. Your pretty much saying that emotional guys are unrealistic, only writien in shitty teenage stories. Your saying realistic teenage boys have balls and and are some bad ass sexist dick head. there are realistic teens who are as emotional and ” whimpy” as Sam. (I’m more defending boys then Sam btw.) I had a friend who got just as emotional as Sam, who was almost a replica, who said things like Sam who was timid and shy like Sam. and really it hurt to see him upset no matter how many times it happened, and he was always pressured to be mature and have more “balls” which just made things worse. I’ve seen a 27 and 40 year old cry in my face to something most people would expect the manly way of dealing with it is to push it aside. People pressure men or teen guys to be the strong one. There are plently of dick head boys In my grade for sure, but I know a whole heap from both around the world and at my school who really are gental and some having been majorly effected by this image. I know plently hide behind this bad ass or boyish image to hide the things they would be presured to avoid. I guess Im annoyed about this because I’ve been really close friends to plently of guys and I guess you see the real person behind there boyish character when your so close. ( oh also guys read surprisingly) Sorry if I’ve repeated my self a million times. Moving more onto the book I respect that you do not enjoy the book personally I loved it. I found it to be poetic. About the creepy falling In love with a dog part it was more like she felt connected to it and then it was human and then dada she fell in love. You make it sound like she actually feel in love with a legit dog. I would seriously be worried if that was the story but she feel in love with a boy who is also a dog, I don’t know, there is that many werewolve stories I don’t see how this one story is completely bizzar compared to twilight ( I will meantioned I hate this book) or mortal instrument or teen wolf or whatever else. is your dog a human boy also? Should I check my dog doesn’t turn human and fall In love with my brother? When it comes to the poems yeah some where pretty meh like the lovely summer girl song that was pretty terrible. But I still liked many of the poems because it added to the beautiful poetic writing she used. I thought it didn’t drag on but I know books always do when you don’t enjoy them. My opinion of this book was pretty much the same sm Johnson. I don’t find many authors who write “dreamy” and this is honestly the only book I’ve read like it. ( I’ve read plently of teen books) Many of this authors other books arnt all dreamy like i believe she is using her own technique. Not being clique ( in writing style) Maybe the STORY was a bit clique but you realise if you don’t want a dreamy boring book about a girl falling in love with a dog look for something else about a war that never ends or some book that replicated someone’s life. Books should be as realistic or unrealistic as they want to be. Please do not eat me alive this is my opinion and um yeah :I oh
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