BBAW: Unexpected Treasure
I previously featured Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater at Number 2 on my list of books to read after (or instead of) the Twilight saga.
Back then I said: I read this book on the recommendation of the fabulous Kerri Anne, and I loved it. LOVED it. The book makes a significant but not unwelcome change to the archetype, featuring werewolves whose transformation is triggered not by the full moon, but by the coming of winter. Unfortunately, the werewolves in question live in Minnesota, where winter doesn't screw around. Fantastic, believable characters and a tightly-woven plot made for a serious page-turner. I had this book with me the day I had to sit in the waiting room at the lab for four hours to have blood draws done, and the time flew. If that's not a hardcore endorsement, I don't know what is.
Shiver centers on the relationship between Sam, a teenager by summer and a wolf by winter, and Grace, the girl he saved from his wolf pack when they were both twelve-ish. He has watched her from the woods every winter since their first encounter, and she has loved him with a depth she doesn't understand since he started watching. When Grace meets human Sam, their relationship is finally set in motion. Stiefvater has written a tight, believable story, and despite her characters' youth, I didn't find their "true love" tale as hard to believe as I usually do with teenaged characters (because, come on...finding "the one" at sixteen?). As the only child of inattentive parents, Grace has basically raised herself, and Sam was raised from a young age by his pack of grown wolves / men, giving both characters a maturity beyond their years. While Grace and Sam are dealing with the problem of Sam's impending transformation, he is also coming face to face with the harsh truth of his entrance into the pack. There are some dark surprises and some tender moments to be had, and the tension of the subplot involving some new and unwelcome werewolves kept me turning pages.
Last month I read the sequel, Linger, which picks up where Shiver left off. I don't want to spoil anything from the first book, but I don't think it's giving too much away to say that Stiefvater expands the scope in Linger, adding chapters in two other characters' voices besides Sam & Grace's. Sam is thrust into the role of human pack leader and forced to deal head-on with some questionable decisions made by his surrogate father and former leader Beck, while Grace finds her health suddenly deteriorating. By the end of the book, it's clear that Stiefvater intends to stray further from the path of the clichéd moon-fueled werewolf mythos, and I frankly can't wait to see where she goes with it. Linger exposes one of my only regrets about discovering a great new series while it's still in progress...it's always so hard to wait for the next book.
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