Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[review] Maggie Stiefvater - Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased, personal collection
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
Random paragraph: "Once upon a time, Mom had really liked Sam. She'd even flirted with him in her mom way and asked him to sing and pose for a portrait. But that was back when he was just a boy that I was seeing. Now that it was clear that Sam was here to stay, Mom's friendliness had evaporated and she and I communicated in that language of silence. The length of the pauses between sentences conveyed more information than the words within them." (p. 68, paperback edition)

This review may contain spoilers for Shiver.

I really like Maggie Stiefvater's other books. She's excellent at conveying atmosphere and feeling and writes with a very poetic flourish. The Scorpio Races remains one of the best books I've read this year, and I also enjoyed her faerie books. Shiver didn't sit well with me at all -- I found Grace and Sam annoying and the world-building terribly unconvincing -- but I went ahead and read this, anyway.

The result? While I'm still not 100% on board with Grace and Sam, I'm thankful I read this because of Isabel and Cole.

Isabel was one of the few things I liked about Shiver. She's blunt, snarky, and she brought some levity to Grace and Sam's endless twu wuv. Whenever they do something stupid or act annoying, she's the one who calls them out. And I loved her POV in Linger.

In this book, we also meet Cole St. Clair, a former rockstar hotshot turned wolf. The contrast between him and Sam was fascinating. Cole's made a lot of bad decisions in his life, and he's always looking for an escape, which turning into a wolf provides. For Sam, whose only goal in life was to find a cure, this is bewildering and offensive. Cole's POV provided some pretty gritty insights on turning into a wolf and his human transitions. Without going into too much detail, there was one scene that really made my stomach turn. There's a ton of chemistry between him and Isabel, and I thought that was one of the high points of the book -- she's the type who seems too grounded to go for somebody like him, yet it happens.

As for Sam and Grace? Well... I'm not sure. I enjoyed Sam's adjusting to becoming human; now that he doesn't have to worry about changing into a wolf, he suddenly has a future that he never had to concern himself with before. I liked his indecision because it felt real. However, I still didn't like Grace at all. Some of her choices made me want to shake her. When she becomes ill, she decides to hide it from anybody instead of seeking outright help, which I found bizarre. And the problems with her parents mostly made me roll my eyes instead of feeling sympathetic.

While this shed more light on the "science" of the wolf toxin, I still had a lot of unanswered questions, one of the major ones being Olivia. She turned into a wolf in Shiver and disappeared. She was mentioned a few times in this book, and then... it was dropped? What? I was expecting to see her and was surprised that she didn't turn up.

Will I read the next one? I really might. I blew through this one pretty quickly and was surprised at how much I liked it, and though I'm cringing at the thought of more Grace and Sam, I'm curious about Cole and Isabel. Also, there were some big changes happening at the end that legitimately made me worry about the survival of some of the characters. I do wonder how it'll all fall together.

Overall: A step up from Shiver, though with some loose ends.

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