Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Well worth the wait!  I loved this sequel to Shiver so much, I read it twice.

Before I even begin talking about Linger, I must say that I will do my best to keep this review free of spoilers.  When reviewing a sequel, though, it's hard to not mention key points from the first book.  If you haven't read Shiver...go read it first.  (Click here for my review).  For the rest of you who have read Shiver, and can't wait to get your hands on Linger, oh, are you in for a treat! 

The first time I read Linger, I allowed myself to become totally and completely absorbed in the story that I devoured it in one sitting.   Maggie Stiefvater adds two new voices to Linger.  Sam's and Grace's points of view are joined by a new couple - Isabel and Cole. 

Isabel and Cole.  I love this couple, even though they are the complete opposite from Sam and Grace.  They are friends, enemies, confidants, kindred spirits.  They have a connection and a fire in their relationship, I was torn between wanting to read more about them and wanting to read more about Sam and Grace.

Isabel.  She has always been a feisty character - never afraid to speak her mind, and has less than stellar patience when she feels someone isn't being completely upfront with her. Isabel has grown into one of my favorite characters, and the addition of her point of view works on every level. It's also nice to see Sam and Grace's relationship from an outsider's perspective, especially when the outsider demands nothing less than the truth.  Isabel had so many great lines in Linger, but my favorite must have been, " matter what Grace thought, I know that in Mercy Falls, it's never over." 

Cole.  Oh, boy.  What can I saw about Cole?  He's hot.  He's the bad boy girls can't help but fall for, but he's not proud of it.  He is a new wolf...with a swagger, a sense of humor, and a bad boy past...and Victor, is his best friend, who was dragged into this life.  Cole chose to be a wolf, and clashes with Sam over it.  While Sam would rather die than become a wolf again, Cole would rather die that stay human.  Cole's character really becomes important later in the book, but for the first two-thirds, all I kept thinking to myself was, "Isabel has met her match!"

Grace.  She was always the girl who was bitten, but didn't change, thanks to a heavy dose of parental negligence.  She doesn't feel right, even though the doctors diagnose her with a simple virus, and send her home with Tylenol and a fever.  What is happening to her?  Will we find out? 

Sam.  Oh, can I just swoon all over Sam for a minute?  He is the rare good guy in YA fiction, and I heart him all over the place.  He can't lie, misses his mom, works in a bookstore, and bakes bread for crying out loud!    Sam's "cure" proved to stay steady all through winter and into spring, but with the emerging warmer weather comes the shifting of the new wolves into their human forms.  Sam must be the new Beck, whether he's ready for it or not, and whether he agrees with the new wolves' presence or not. 

There is a shift in Linger - a shift of energy, power, lust, love, family and leadership.  All four of the main characters are trying to find their find their place, and they each take on a role much different from what they are used to.  The characters we already know and love are growing, and the new guy fits in, I can't imagine what Shiver was like without him! 

Linger also had a science vs. magic element.  What was once a story composed of myth and legend is now broken apart as chemistry and biology.  Don't worry.  The magic is still there!   

Criticism? There is only one small issue I had with Linger.  Cole said he would rather die than stop being a wolf.  Sam said he would rather die that stop being human. There was a desperate ache within these characters, who felt that if they couldn't find their way out, they would have killed themselves.  I'm not sure how I feel about two of the main characters feeling their only way out is suicide.  Maybe this was a bit too melodramatic for me?  Maybe it was the young adult audience reading it that I want to insulate from this way of thinking?  I hurt for Cole and Sam, I really did, but I'm a bit unsettled over this.

Grace's Chapter 47 gave me chills.  I so badly want to quote the whole thing.  I can't say anything about it, because I would ruin the whole book for you.  So beautifully written, I could hear Grace's voice, just the way she would say it, I can even imagine the music playing in the background.  Oh, I just loved it!! 

Only after I read Linger for the second time did I take the time to contemplate the name of the book.  The first time through, I was too absorbed in what was happening to appreciate the subtle intricacies, and beautiful language for which Maggie Steivfater is so well known.  The word "linger" will never quite mean the same thing to me.

Brava, Maggie! 
Book Extras:

Maggie Stiefvater's webpage
Scholastic Press webpage
Shiver series Website
Maggie Stiefvater's Blog
Maggie Stiefvater on Twitter
Maggie Stiefvater on Facebook
Link to Book Trailer
Scholastic's Shiver/Linger page

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of the ARC from Clinton Book Store (I couldn't wait for the publisher to send it to me!) AND received an ARC from the publisher for review. 

About the Book:
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (July 20, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545123283
ISBN-13: 978-0545123280

About the Author:
Maggie Stiefvater is a twenty-seven-year-old writer, artist, and musician. Her debut novel, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, was published by Flux in 2008. Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize, called her writing "musical, magical, and practically radiating romance...perfect for engaging sharp minds and poetic hearts." Maggie lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.

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bermudaonion said...

Okay, I have to admit that I'm skeptical of werewolves, but so many bloggers have recommended these books, I feel like I need to give them a try.

Alison's Book Marks said...

@BermudaOnion - Maggie's books are set apart from any others in this genre, because they are so beautifully written. Even when she's not writing song lyrics or poetry, her words are like music.

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