Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)

Score: lemon_1 lemon_2 lemon_3 out 5 lemons

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I’m slow to jump on The Wolves of Mercy Falls train, a supernatural young adult series. Although, it seems like the train was overtaken at times by bandits–I mean–ravenous fans and haters of Meyer’s Twilight saga. It has been shaken and rattled, but remains on its unclear course.

Now, I’ve read the first book of the Twilight saga (as that’s all I could manage), and Shiver moderately surpasses that train wreck of a story. Stiefvater’s storytelling is magical, and her characters were passable than the seemingly unattainable, perfect, and tragic vampires. Though, this story is not without its flaws.

Things I liked:

Beautiful, captivating writing: Stiefvater has a gift of blending whimsical imagery, horrifying sequences, and carefully crafted suspense. The tone is romantic, dangerous, and captures the mood of fading summer into the cold of winter. The author approaches the topic of werewolves differently, as the wolves shift form based on the temperature. These shifts vary depending on the wolf. The wolves communicate based on images rather than words. They are able to change humans into wolves with one bite, but they are also likely to kill them in this process.

Things I struggled with:

Characters: Grace is the mysterious heroine of the story. In the beginning of the story, she is very calm and patient with her friends. She obsesses over the wolves who attempted to kill her when she was a young girl, particularly her wolf, the wolf with piercing yellow eyes who saved her from the childhood attack. While she was bitten, she did not transform into a wolf, and this remains a mystery to the characters.

What is strange is how Grace’s character lacks stability. One moment, she is calm, awkward, and introspective. The next moment, when she meets her wolf in human form as Sam, she is flirting and seducing him. I just couldn’t believe it. At this point, while investing time with her wolf, Grace rarely spends time with her friends, who begin to become distant. Grace is consumed with her obsession, as her fantasy of being with her wolf is now a reality. All that stands in the way is Sam’s… condition and the crazy wolf stalker, Shelby.

Grace aside, Sam was the sensitive wolf with his own secrets. Though, his secrets and conflicts are not as interesting. He struggles with his adoptive fatherly figure’s actions, spends his time with Grace, and generally avoids attempting to find a solution to his condition. I much preferred Grace’s friends and Isabelle in the story, as they appeared to have at least a bit more depth.

Things I disliked:

Insta!love: It might as well be. Sure, it was six years between the attack on Grace and meeting Sam, but as soon as they meet (under chaotic circumstances both times), it is love. Stiefvater merely mentions the length of time between without narrating the events that occurred during that time. I flipped a page, and suddenly, six years has passed. The characters meet with no smooth relationship development. We jump right in! Wouldn’t they have something to talk about?

“Hey, remember that one time I tried to kill you with my pack?” No?

Instead, they both readily accept each other and begin kissing and sharing a bed together. Like, what? Please, give me a break.

Lack of direction: I wasn’t quite sure where this story was going. It seemed to drag and didn’t have a clear direction. There is not a solid plot, and the story seems to wander. Things just sort of happen without much cohesion. Stiefvater does a great job at writing the romance and intense suspense in some of the scenes, but in this story, it didn’t seem to come together well.

Overall, I’m giving the first installment 3 out of 5 lemons. It was entertaining and established my curiosity, but it did not meet my expectations. Mediocre.