How I got this book: ARC won from Angie. Linger comes out July 20, 2010!
Sequel to: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (this review contains slight spoilers for Shiver).
I loved Shiver, the first novel in the series, and I was both surprised and excited that it had a sequel. Surprised because Shiver ended so perfectly that I wasn’t sure what there was left to say except Happily Ever After over and over again. I was excited because I wanted to know just what exactly Stiefvater could think of next for our two young protagonists, and I knew she would write it beautifully, whatever it was.
As the days get warmer and longer, it seems as if Grace and Sam have everything they could have ever wanted. Sam has been “cured” of his werewolf-ness, and the idea that he has the rest of his life as a human stretched out in front of him is something he wakes up to in wonder every day. Our two young lovers have dodged what seemed like the inescapable bullet, but they are soon confronted with other growing problems.
First, the new wolves. Beck, Sam’s adoptive father (and also werewolf) returned at the end of the first novel with several newly “turned” werewolves. One of these new wolves is Cole, former lead singer of the band NARKOTIKA. His face has been splashed across millions of tabloids and magazines, and while music is his life, becoming famous has nearly killed him. Or, more accurately, made him want to kill himself. You name it, Cole’s done it. Booze, drugs, hundreds of faceless groupies… the life of a rockstar, the life of endless entertainment and meaningless existence. Becoming a wolf, fated to stay an animal forever in a few short years, is the next best thing to suicide.
Secondly, Grace’s absentee parents have fully re-entered her life upon realizing that Sam is much more than just some high school fling. Along with the fact that her parents are interfering with her hard-won love life, Grace is starting to feel sick… a sickness she and Sam thought had been cured, a sickness that is inhumane, wild, and uncontrollable.
I was just as drawn into Linger as I was Shiver. I think it’s safe to say that Stiefvater avoided the “sequel slump” and was able to keep the story of Grace and Sam together and still romantic. The introduction of Cole as a new character and Isabel as a stronger presence also made for a great story, and while at first I was skeptical of Cole being a cliche drugged-up rockstar with problems and a magnetism that draws every single teenage girl to his self-destructiveness, Stiefvater made it work and Cole didn’t feel awkward or contrived at all. I especially enjoyed his interactions with the always entertainingly-prickly Isabel, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go in future books.
Sam and Grace were just as well written as in the first novel, and made me very nicely nostalgic for that unique, once-in-a-lifetime teenage-first-love-passionate-bliss. Ahh. To contrast this, and to provide a conflict, Grace’s parents were cold and stupid and a little unbelievable in their newfound stiffness towards Sam. The parents were a little cardboard-cut-out in their dumbness and Total Evil Parent crusade against their daughter’s boyfriend, and while it made for great emotion, it felt a little contrived to me.
But what makes me really enjoy these books is Steifvater’s descriptions of the forest and landscape around Mercy Falls (Grace’s hometown) and the world that Grace and Sam live in, whether it’s a rundown little diner that you can almost feel the grease on your fingers, or a wild, cold forest. The way the author describes the deadening, bone-shattering cold of the Midwest is so real and all these little details really suck the reader in.
Great sequel. I really advise readers to start from the first book, otherwise Linger will be all too confusing! There’s still another 2 months or so till Linger comes out, so you have time to read Shiver and catch up before then. 🙂
Second Opinions: Angieville’s Review
Author Website: Maggie Stiefvater