Review – Shiver

Posted February 20, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterShiver, Maggie Stiefvater

Hmm, what do I think of Shiver? I tried reading some other reviews to try and clarify my thoughts, especially since I know reviewers I often agree with (like Cait @ Paper Fury) love, love, love everything Maggie Stiefvater produces. And I see the comparisons to Twilight, and bear with me here — I think it’s actually kind of true. At least as far as the relationship between the protagonists goes. Because “I saw you naked when I was a wolf” is kind of not cool, and animal instincts only partly excuse it, since a wolf has no reason to stalk a human girl and memorise every move she makes.

But. The writing is much better. It’s called Shiver, and that atmosphere really does permeate the novel. You can feel the cold, the lateness of the year, the shortness of the days. The scent of the air. It’s definitely a sensual, sensory book — and that works especially well for the physicality between Sam and Grace.

I’m not always convinced by the characterisation of Sam, the way he thinks and the way he makes decisions, the kind of poetry he writes. I’m not exactly the authority on the way a teen boy thinks, and I did know some very sensitive people at that age, but it doesn’t quite ring true. It doesn’t even feel like the way an adult woman might think a teenage boy thinks, to me — it feels like Stiefvater just went for a “people are people approach”. That can work, but… society shapes all of us, and Sam isn’t really insulated from that enough for it to ring true.

As for Grace being boring, well, no, not really. I found her interesting because she was so down to earth and practical, because of her longing for the life of the wolves, because of the way she responded to her family situation. If all she thought about was ice cream and calories, people wouldn’t like her either. There are girls like her and they’re not boring — they’re just different, complex like anyone. People complain about frivolous teenage girl protagonists… and then apparently also about their opposites.

It’s not as if she’s inhuman. Her connection with Sam, with the wolves, her longing for that life… all of that feels real, and more absorbing to me than worrying about her looks or something (though there’s a place for that too).

I did enjoy Shiver, overall; Stiefvater certainly can write, even if I found this a little long for the plot (I got the “solution” before we were halfway through the book, and plot-wise it’s fairly thin). I don’t know if I’ll read the other books in this series. Maybe. They’re pleasant enough.

Rating: 3/5

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