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!