Audio Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

17

April 19, 2012 by Heidi

Title: Shiver [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Maggie Stiefvater [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: First in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series.
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Published: August 1st 2009 by Scholastic Audio
Format: Audiobook; 10 hrs, 43 min.  Read by Jenna Lamia and David LaDoux.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

When Grace was six, she was attacked by wolves.  But something (someone?) saved her.  Since that time, she has been obsessed with the wolves that live in the forest behind her house in Mercy Falls, Minnesota.  Obsessed, in particular, with one wolf.  She thinks of him as her wolf.  There’s something in his eyes that makes him seem so intelligent, Grace knows she should fear him and not get too close, but she can’t help herself.  The wolf watches her too.  When a boy from her high school is reportedly killed by a wolf attack, the townspeople of Mercy Falls step up to eradicate the danger, legal or no.  Grace is desperate to stop men from shooting the wolves she feels such a kinship to, but finds herself engulfed in a world much more dangerous and mysterious than she had anticipated when she finds a boy bleeding on her back porch.

I was pleasantly surprised and happy at having chosen to listen to the audiobook of Shiver.  Being completely out of the reading loop for a few years due to school and other real life business, I hadn’t even heard of this series until I was browsing the shelves at Barnes and Nobel this past year and came across the paperback of Forever, the final book in the series.  I fell in love with the cover immediately, and subsequently with the covers of Shiver and Linger as well (okay…so Linger‘s a little GREEN for me).  The books didn’t sound overly exciting to me, basically Twilight without the vampires (this is also how my friend Alyssa of Books Take You Places described them to me), so I wasn’t in any rush to actually read them.  That said, when I found them available for download through my library, and the mood for paranormal romance struck, I put Shiver on my i-pod and proceeded to savor it over several weeks.  

Listening to Shiver was addictive.  I found myself unable to put down the i-pod when I had other things to do, and looking for more brainless activities to give me more listening time.  Needless to say, the kitchen was cleaner than normal for the time it took me to get through this book.  It helped me realize some things about myself and my book preferences.  For instance, I much prefer dual perspectives when read by several narrators (I haven’t listenened to many multi-narrator books before), and while I enjoyed David LaDoux as Sam, I have completely fallen for Jenna Lamia as a narrator.  Her narration as Grace was wonderful, she locked me into the story and made me enjoy the characters immensely.  It’s so nice to have someone narrate a YA book who actually sounds like she could be in high school!  This made Grace more believable than some of the other YA audiobooks I’ve listened to in the past.

Now for the story.  I honestly had fairly low expectations going in, and found myself pleasantly surprised by the story of Shiver.  Yes, it’s your classic YA paranormal romance, but Maggie Stiefvater created a unique and interesting werewolf mythos that kept me hooked and wanting to learn more.  Without giving too much away, I’ll say that the title (and the temperatures given at the beginning of each chapter) are a reflection of the werewolves physical changes as a reaction to temperature rather than moon cycles.  All of the questions that were raised for me at the beginning I felt were answered (like, if the werewolves change in reaction to temperature drops, why don’t they just move to Hawaii?).  Other factors that I greatly enjoyed were the fact that there was no love triangle (Ms. Stiefvater I could kiss you!), no cliff hanger, and there was enough side story going on to keep me from gagging at the gushy stuff.  Okay, I gagged a little.  I’m sorry, I can’t stomach poetry and song lyrics very well in text, but when you put them on an audiobook I have that whole ‘omg this is so embarrassing’ reaction where I feel nauseous and turn beet red like it’s happening to me.  Unfortunately, Grace and Sam’s connection was that “I’ve always loved you” type, second only in play to insta-love, but whatever.  I can overlook this trope every so often when I enjoy the story.

I do kind of wish that I had finished Shiver before reading The Scorpio Races, because quite frankly that book was so much better it hurts.  Still, I did enjoy Shiver, and plan to read the rest of the series, but am hoping that future Stiefvater work is elevated to the level she presented in The Scorpio Races.  It’s kind of hard to go back to ‘pretty good’ after you’ve achieved ‘excellent’ (also see: why I’m not sure I’ll ever read anything else J.K. Rowling publishes even though I’m sure it will be all well and good).

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  I’m gearing up for The Raven Boys, but I’ll admit that when I tried to listen to Linger, I just couldn’t get into it. I’m not writing it off though, and am thinking I’ll come back to it when I’m more in the mood.

Recommended for:  This is a good series for any paranormal romance fan, particularly those of us who like the wolf boys.

Real life repercussions of reading this book: I discovered, to my horror, that Maggie Stiefvater was born a Heidi.  She changed her name to Margaret when she was 16.  Now I love the name Margaret/Maggie, but it saddens me that anyone would dislike being a Heidi that much.  I love it!

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17 comments »

  1. "Needless to say, the kitchen was cleaner than normal for the time it took me to get through this book." XDDD That's why I can't read audiobooks, because they just get in the way of NORMALCY and make me do mundane THINGS.This is a definitely lovable story. By the end, I had grown attached to Sam and Grace, and the way the werewolves lore was presented is equally compelling. I still have to read Forever, the final book! I hope you finish the series!

  2. Heidi says:

    Lol, that's why I LIKE audiobooks. I like feeling EXTRA productive in everything I do, so being able to read while I walk to the grocery store or something of the sort? WIN. And yeah, I liked it, and probably will get back to the rest of the series at some point, I just wasn't getting into Linger. I'd gotten to like Sam and Grace, and throwing in an extra two narrators kinda turned me off.

  3. I have got to read this series still. I don't know why I still haven't read it. I have so many books to read right now, it's ridiculous. Great review.

  4. Heidi says:

    Thanks, Ashley! It's certainly a decent series worth reading, but I didn't love it to the point that I'll insist it's a MUST read either. I'd say make sure you're in the mood for some paranormal, and you should be good to go. =)

  5. Oh yay. Okay, so I am NEVER a huge fan of anything with wolves. They are my LEAST favorite paranormal thing of all. But I COULD NOT for the life of me get over the beauty of the covers and the colored print (great marketing!) so I gave Shiver a try. I liked it. I liked the exact same things you did except I read the print version and not audio. Linger – you know, I think you should give it another try because I REALLY liked the new character(s) in that one. Maybe even more than Sam and Grace?? I flip-flop on that from time to time…I haven't read Forever yet…I HATE closing out on a series. It always feels too final for me. But I'm slowly becoming more comfortable with this, so I'm sure at some point I'll actually read Forever. Great review! I'm excited to read The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys – they sound more my speed.

  6. Heidi says:

    Lol, wolves are probably my favorite thing paranormal, which is WHY I read this book. I think it's awesome that you gave it a shot even though it's not your thing, AND that you liked it! I have heard good things about the other guy in Linger, and I feel like the series might have been honestly boring if it'd just stayed Sam and Grace. I really do plan to give it another shot, I even still have it on my i-pod, it just kinda felt like the wrong time. Maybe when the weather gets cold again. :PI totally know what you mean about closing out series. I get super excited for the last book to come out, and then I put off reading it forever. That's part of the reason I prefer to wait until series are done publishing before I start them, for some reason I feel like if I don't have a year to anticipate it ending, I do better with the actual reading of it. You should totally check out The Scorpio Races sometime! Another one that counts for the AWR challenge. 😛

  7. Sandy says:

    I loved Shiver and promptly proceeded to read Linger, and Forever, and then The Scorpio Races. Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors these days. And I was really excited when I saw your review of Shiver. I, also, downloaded the entire series on audio even after reading the books, and I agree with you, hearing the song lyrics and poetry through audio makes a huge difference. I hadn't started my blog when I read Shiver, but I do have reviews of Linger, Forever, and The Scorpio Races. I'd love for you to check them out if you have time. Warning though, if you haven't read Linger, you might not want to read my review of Forever until you finish Linger.http://sandyfarmer.blogspot.com/2011/06/review-linger.htmlhttp://sandyfarmer.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-forever.htmlhttp://sandyfarmer.blogspot.com/2012/02/scorpio-races-review.html

  8. Amy says:

    I'm so glad you liked Shiver! I, too, appreciated the different take on werewolves and the mythology behind their shifts; I thought it was clever and a little more believable in some ways than other books' explanations of them. And I liked Sam and Grace. I thought they seemed largely like normal kids or something. Obviously, NOT including the werewolf business. I did read this series before I read The Scorpio Races and obviously THAT book is setting the bar for her stuff for me, but the Wolves of Mercy Falls was a good series. Her faerie/fairy/fairie books are good, too, if you dig the urban fantasies. I mean, they're no Scorpio Races, but they're good :-)

  9. Heidi says:

    Yeah, I do like urban fantasy, and think I'll probably read those books at some point as well. I agree, Sam and Grace WERE normal, and that's part of why I liked it. I mean, yeah, werewolves, but even so there weren't like uber powerful or special things about them, or things that made them seem not-real.

  10. Heidi says:

    Thanks, Sandy! I will check them out (though yes, I'll hold off on Forever until I actually finish Linger). I'm glad to hear you did enjoy the audiobooks, even after reading the books. I feel like they're really well done!

  11. So…I read this book AND listened to the audio and I still didn't like it :( I read it twice because I felt like I was the only person on the planet who didn't like this book. This is also why I'm afraid to read The Scorpio Races for Award Winning Reads Challenge…I bought it though, so I will get to it eventually :) The fact you say TSR is better than Shiver makes me happy :)

  12. Heidi says:

    Jacinda, I think a lot of people didn't click with Shiver! I'm really impressed that you put that kind of effort into a book you didn't like, I don't think I would no matter how many others liked it. I actually didn't expect to like it very much, but the low expectations helped I think. :PThe Scorpio Races is entirely different, I hope you give it a shot. I personally think it's a much stronger book for many reasons. I know some people prefer the Mercy Falls series, but most that I know of prefer Scorpio Races.

  13. Jasmine Rose says:

    I adored Shiver and Sam and Grace's relationship. It was all pretty mushy and gushy, yes, but it made me swoon too ;] I hope for your sake you're not as disappointed in Forever as I was, though.

  14. Heidi says:

    Haha, yeah, half the people I talk to tell me I MUST read the rest of this series, and the other half are like 'um…if you don't, it's okay'.

  15. Janicu says:

    Hmm, I'm on the fence about this series myself. My only Stiefvater read is THE SCORPIO RACES and that's a high bar! Also – wow, I didn't know she was a Heidi.

  16. Heidi says:

    I know, random right? At least that's what her Wiki page said, so I can't attest to 100% certainty that it's true. I'd say that Shiver is certainly one of the better YA paranormal romances out there, but at the end of the day, it's still a YA paranormal romance. If you're in the right mood, it's great, but if you're not, I imagine it's easy to find faults.

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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