Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

January 22, 2016 Review 45 ★★½

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 448
Release Date: August 4th 2011
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Genres: Love & Romance, Young Adult
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My first novel by Stiefvater was THE SCORPIO RACES, which I fell in love with. Next was The Raven Cycle series, which I also adored. I figured it was about time to go back and read Stiefvater’s earlier hit series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, especially since I heard so many great things about it. However, I found SHIVER just…average.

SHIVER has been compared to Twilight and while I feel like that is a little unfair, I couldn’t stop myself from making the same comparisons. The underlying concept is the same, the drama is the same, and they both rely on the same tropes.  And the angst. So much angst.

The story itself just feels somewhat juvenile, the writing simplistic and the characters a little bland. You can tell how much Stiefvater’s writing has changed, and it was interesting to see that growth. There just wasn’t much going on, and I didn’t think the characters were strong enough to carry the entire plot.

“Hope hurt more than the cold.”

Speaking of the characters, I also have to mention the romance. It was a little too insta-love for me, and yes, I know that there is reasoning behind it but only after a few days the heroine was already asking herself how she was going to live without him in her life. While in bed with him. Again, after a few days. Which of course was okay because this book also has Disappearing Parents.

The ending of SHIVER felt a little rushed, and of course, everything magically works out. Wrapped up in a neat little bow. I do have to admit this was kind of nice because it allows for closure if you didn’t want to continue with the series, something I am still conflicted about.

“I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling,
an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”

Rating Report
Overall: 2.6

45 Responses to “Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater”

    • Alise

      Thank you! Yeah, I do think I read this one pretty late in the game because I’ve read so many paranormal YA books by this point.

  1. Francisca @Go Away, I'm Reading!

    I’m really glad I read your review, Alise! Unlike you, the first (and only) book I read by Maggie Stiefvater was this one and I was extremely underwhelmed.
    Everyone has been raving about her other books, but I was honestly a bit unsure whether or not I was going to pick them up.
    I’d never actually read a review from someone who had read her most recent books first, and I’m glad I did! The raven boys just got pushed up on my TBR. Thank you!
    Francisca @Go Away, I’m Reading! recently posted…[Wrap-Up] 2015 in Books: a Summary

    • Alise

      I would definitely say to at least try one more of her reads to see what you think, her writing has changed drastically. Yay, I’m glad! :D

    • Alise

      I’m glad you liked it! Back during the time when this book was published the disappearing parents thing was pretty common, it seems like we are finally moving away from that. Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Awww, I’m so sorry that this one just didn’t click with you Alise^^ I was hoping you’d love it as much as I did but hey: you can’t win ’em all ;) I think I was definitely in the right frame of mind when I picked this one up…PLUS, I wasn’t expecting to love it. It seems like people either loved this series or were fairly indifferent to it, so I wasn’t sure if it would work for me at all. Lovely review nonetheless :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Lioness Rampant

    • Alise

      Micheline! I felt so bad that I wasn’t a huge fan of this one :( I was kind of expecting to love it because Stiefvater so I think it was my expectations. Thank you :)

  3. Rachana @ Addicted to YA

    I tried reading Shiver a while back when I was in Middle School but like you, I found it kind of boring and dnf’d. I also felt like it was a tad bit cliché.. I never read Twilight but Shiver seemed to be similar to a lot of other YA books featuring werewolves and whatnot.
    Rachana @ Addicted to YA recently posted…snazzy snippets // 2016 edition!

    • Alise

      It definitely does have some cliches and tropes, especially ones that were popular during the time. Sorry you couldn’t get into this one either!

  4. Lola

    I once picked up this book in a bookstore and read a few pages, but I didn’t quite like the way the story was told, so I didn’t buy it. Maybe I’ll do give one of this author her later books a try as you mention her writing style did change a lot.

    I am sorry to hear there was so much angst in this book and insta love as well. Sometimes I can enjoy a book with angst, but I prefer if there isn’t too much. I do like the sound of how the ending wraps things up nicely, so you still have closure even if you don’t continue the series. Great review!
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: “Speculaas” Muffins with Almond Paste Recipe

    • Alise

      If you do, I definitely recommend The Raven Boys! They feel like they were written by two different authors.

      Yeah, the romance just took up so much of the book. Thank you!

  5. Pui-man

    I thought Shiver was okay and definitely my least favorite of Maggie Stiefvater’s books. I did end up reading the rest of the series, and it does get better. For me, at least.

    • Alise

      The Raven Cycle is a seriously great series-so many twists! But yeah, I think if I read these a few years ago I would have enjoyed them more.

  6. Kynndra-jo @ Diva Booknerd

    I haven’t read this series since I was in middle school.. which was many years ago. What I do recall is that I loved it (albeit I was probably 13 and totally in love with Sam). I have no plans to re-read it because I would probably find I hate it due to the insta-love. But I shall retain my fond memories. I still think it was so cool how the physical copies are printed in color! I do love Maggie’s Raven Cycle series though! Awesome review c:
    Kynndra-jo @ Diva Booknerd recently posted…The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

    • Alise

      I know what you mean, Twilight was like that for me! If I had read this in my Twilight days I’m pretty sure I would have loved it. Same here, such a great series. Thank you :D

  7. Sarah J.

    I’m sorry you didn’t absolutely love this one. I can definitely see how you would see the writing as simplistic, but when I read it I remember I felt so enamored and the writing was what made me love the story so much. The ending, especially, sealed the deal for me because I thought the writing was absolutely magnificent and final, but I do agree that there isn’t much plot. It is all angst. Lots of angst, but I felt like the angst balanced out the chill of the cold that I got from Stiefvater’s writing.
    Sarah J. recently posted…Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter & Emma

    • Alise

      Yep, I feel you. Aw, I hope you do sometime! I’ve read almost all her other books and definitely liked them much better :)

  8. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    I purchased the box set of this series (on sale!) a year ago but have been hesitant in starting it for the very reason you mentioned Alise. I wasn’t a huge fan of wolf-based stories in the first place, but had heard great things so decided to just get it. Hmm…probs won’t be getting around to reading them any time soon heh :P
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…TV Review: Shadowhunters Season 1 Episode 1

    • Alise

      I probably would have done the same thing haha. They aren’t bad reads, just…average? If I owned them all I would probably read them but yeah, no rush :P

  9. Kelly

    It’s been ages since I’ve read the series Alise, but I remember how bizarre it was that she was in love with the wolf first. I did enjoy the writing at the time, but it was just so bland. I still enjoyed it more than her Raven Boys series though, I just don’t think she’s an author I’ll ever really ‘get’. I do have a copy of The Scorpio Races on my shelf, so going to give that a try seeing you loved it so much. Lovely review Alise, interested to see if you continue on with the series <3
    Kelly recently posted…The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

    • Alise

      It was a little odd, some of it just made me uncomfortable. The Raven Cycle is an interesting series, I like it for its originality but can see how it’s not for everyone. If you do read The Scorpio Races let me know :D

  10. Anissa @ She Reads Too Much

    It is actually so ridiculous that I’ve never read any of her books yet. I’m waiting until the last Raven Cycle book comes out so I can binge the entire series haha – I have a feeling I’m going to love it! It’s a shame you didn’t love this one as much, great review! :D <3
    Anissa @ She Reads Too Much recently posted…My Blogger Confessions

  11. Deyse @ Bound With Words

    I read this one a few years ago and it was my first Stiefvater book, have to say it wasn’t really impressed with it either. I don’t remember much of the story, just that it took me over 15 days to read it because I kept falling asleep every time I picked it up hahaha
    Deyse @ Bound With Words recently posted…All-American Girl – Meg Cabot

    • Alise

      Yeah, I wish the plot hadn’t been so focused on the romance. I’ve read her other books and loved them though!

  12. Karin @ schakarin

    I read Shiver a while ago and it was actually my first Stiefvater book. I completely agree with your review. There was just nothing there for me and I was pretty bored throughout the story. I’m glad I still picked up The Raven Cycle series because I love those books so much.
    Karin @ schakarin recently posted…On the Topic of Changing my Blog Name

    • Alise

      Sounds like you had the same experience I did! It’s amazing how different the Raven Cycle books are from Shiver.

  13. Ashtyn @ Wonderland's Reader

    I remember reading this one way back when I first really got into reading (so…pretty soon after I read Twilight), and I loved it for the reasons it was similar to it. However, as the series progressed and my reading experience expanded, I saw some of the same holes and problems that you’ve described. I never actually finished the last book in the series and my experience with it has made me nervous to pick up any of her other books, even though I’ve heard great things. I think I’ll have to try out some of her other works soon!

    • Alise

      I know exactly what you mean, if I had read this one close to the time I read Twilight I’m pretty sure I would have loved it. I hope you give her other books a chance sometime :)

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