I know. It’s been over a month since Linger, the second installment in Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER series was released. But when your working life is all about deadlines (I’m a reporter), sometimes it’s nice to just, you know, digest.
My first thought, as I closed the cover with tears in my eyes (really), was “I loved it. Start to finish. Through and through.” Stiefvater effortlessly blends sorrow, romance and humor with Linger, which adds two more point-of-views to the narratives, Rich it-girl Isabel and Genius/drug addict newcomer wolf Cole.
The new POVs courtesy of Isabel and Cole were a brilliant addition to the book, balancing the true love and seriousness of Sam and Grace’s perspectives. It’s interesting to see the vulnerable person behind Isabel’s bitchy façade, and while Sam and Grace dance around Grace’s possible wolfiness throughout the entire book, Isabel calls it like it is immediately.
And as a reader rooting for Sam to stay human in Shiver, it’s almost as shocking to you as it is to Sam that Cole PREFERS being a wolf. I’m a sucker for smart bad boys with a sensitive side, and Cole fits the bill perfectly. Isabel and Cole share an instant attraction, and although Isabel doesn’t think their “relationship” could ever measure up to the true love of Sam and Grace, I think it’s possible, and I look forward to seeing this relationship develop in the final
Thanks to Cole’s smarts and scientific background, we are introduced to a new concept concerning the wolves’ changing: does heat and cold really cause the wolves to shift? Cole thinks not, and comes up with a plan to ultimately saves Grace. How is something you’ll just have to read to find out.
As to the main plot of Linger, Stiefvater masterfully builds suspense throughout – foreshadowing Grace’s possible transition to wolf and making you guess/wait/wonder/worry when, or if, Grace will no longer human.
At Shiver’s end, Sam, against all odds, becomes human again. Like O. Henry’s famous short story (The Gift of the Magi) about the poor couple who exchange hair combs and a watch fob, only to find that the woman has cut her hair and the man has sold his watch, now that Sam is human, Grace may not be for long.
This situation inspired profound sadness in me, but I still couldn’t put it down. You literally care too much about the characters to mind that you’re sad and apprehensive the entire time.
Linger’s story is hampered only by a subplot involving Grace’s parents, who have suddenly decided to act like parents. The problem is, their idea of parenting is not, you know, caring about their daughter, but instead keeping her away from the only person who truly loves her. Their actions eventually frustrated me to the point that I wanted Sam to punch one or both of them in the face. I suppose Grace needed something to complicate her relationship with Sam, but honestly, there was plenty of that with her possible wolfiness.
I don’t want to ruin the ending, but it was perfection. I will be first in line at the bookstore when Forever hits the shelves.