I read this, and for the first hundred or so pages, I was going "Ahhh, it's Twilight again! Gahhh!!!. (Ms. Stiefvater, if you ever read this, I'm sorry for the comparison, which you must get WAY too much from stunned persons such as myself.) Then after said hundred pages, I had a realization, after which I had to make myself tea and braid my hair to cover my shame. Saying Shiver is like Twilight is like saying Nancy Drew and the Secret Of The Old Clock is like How Come The Best Clues Are Always In The Garbage. It's because they're The Same Genre. You know, Paranormal Romance?
- Boy Meets Girl,
- Magical Eyes happen as True Love Blossoms
- it turns out Boy (usually the boy) is Not Exactly Human, (This is what makes it Paranormal,)
- Girl (usually the girl) Doesn't Care,
- Things Happen to Keep Them From Each Other,
That's just the basic plot of a romance, like a mystery follows the pattern of
- Mysterious Things Happen,
- Clues Are Found,
- Police Are Involved,
- Dramatic Showdown with Threat To Life,
- Friendships/Romances are Threatened then Strengthened,
And it happens to be a genre I enjoy, but it's not one which possesses me in the same way in which stories where the main motivator is the THINGS WHICH HAPPEN, instead of the ROMANCES. It is entirely possible that this will change when I have experienced a romance of my own, but right now, the fact remains, it's just not my favourite genre.
And with that out of the way, on to the book its self! There is a pack of wolves which lives in the woods behind Grace's house. And despite having been dragged off her tire swing when a child and nearly mauled (it never really goes into too deep of detail about the extent of her injuries,) she's convinced that they are not dangerous. In fact, there's one wolf in particular who watches her, who she is slightly obsessed with. Him and his golden eyes.
But then as the book really gets started- one of the boys at her school turns up dead, to all evidence killed by the wolves. And suddenly no one is believing her when she says that they aren't dangerous, as the boy- who actually no one liked when he was alive- becomes a local saint and martyr. She becomes desperate to save her wolves, for purely instinctual reasons, and runs into the woods after a posse of men with guns.
And then she comes home to find a boy with golden eyes, bleeding at her front door. Named Sam.
I don't want to give too much of the plot away, so I won't go into detail about the plot, but as a reader, it felt like everything was cartwheeling out of Grace's control- and then she met Sam, and everything slowed down, steadied. It's very clear that for both of them they're grounded in each other, and to live without the other is like returning to grade ten at home after living on your own at university. And you're moving from colour to black and white. Also you're put on an all-unflavoured-tofu diet. And your curfew is seven PM. (Teenage reaction: I'd rather DIE.)
I loved parts of the story, like the inclusion of the fact that werewolves' changes are related to temperature, and Isobel's loyalty to her brother. And Oliva, I wished to see more of. And the overall THING THAT HAPPENED to keep Sam and Grace apart, I thought it was wonderfully clever and urgent, and made me turn up the heat just in case. There was just too much focus on the magic eyes and kissing for me to be able to honestly say I loved the book. I gave it three stars out of five. However, I hear there is going to be a sequel or few, and I'm definitely going to be picking it up!
(I think one of the reasons Sam didn't really do it for me, is that he's an Angst Muffin. See here. I just like pastries and sandwiches better! Especially pastries. (Just read the essay, it'll make more sense then.))