Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls (#2)
Publisher: Scholastic Press (2010)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“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.At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget." GoodReads’ blurb
Usually, when I’m reading a series, I worry about the second book keeping up with the first book’s quality and so on. It’s difficult, and not every title is up to the challenge. This time, though?
Linger blew Shiver out of the water.
We’re still mostly dealing about Sam and Grace and their love, true, but this time around I actually could relate to them. Why? Parents. Grace’s absent parents finally make an appearance and factor in her life, in her relationship. That she could sleep with her boyfriend with her family none the wiser in book one was one of the points that bothered me the most, because I found it unbelievable – more unbelievable than the werewolf part, as a matter of fact! This time around, arguments and friction and everything you can expect out of a teenager relationship that might be moving a bit too fast in the eyes of an adult is present, and boy, did it help to improve the romance in the book!
Then, we’ve the inclusion of two more points of view. Isabel and Cole do have the burning chemistry, and they do have their dose of romance, but it’s so different from Grace and Sam, and so different from the plot-weakening scenes of book one, that they seem the real deal. Isabel is trying to cope with her family falling apart, and with being part of a secret she never wanted anything to do with in the first place. Cole is someone burned out, scared, looking for an easy way out and finding something entirely different along the way. They both change and, dare I say it, mature through the book, through their encounters with each other and through their interactions with the rest of the cast, and I think this development is what made Linger so much better: they are not as perfect as Grace and Sam are, not nearly as perfect when put together either, and because of that they’re that much more credible.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Linger has a deeper plot than Shiver. I’d say that it does have a plot, but that’s kind of cruel, mostly when I did find Shiver to be entertaining. But the thing is, instead of just having a separation lingering in the horizon and revelling in the soon-to-be-lost love, Linger goes right into the werewolf “curse” and tries to explain it. Why different people are affected by different temperatures? Why does the amount of changing years vary? Was Grace really, truly cured? Is Sam?
As it stands, I can say truthfully that I can’t wait to listen to Forever. And yes, I meant to say “listen”. Again, I went the audiobook route here, and I will never be able to say how glad I am that I did. All the complains I held about Shiver? Well, except for Grace, the whole cast is new. Sam manages to sound boyish and a bit too attached to ideals, and cute, without overacting. Isabel has the perfect dose of weakness and hard edges, like the ice queen of high school should. And Cole? Don’t get me started. I could listen to his chapters in repeat for hours on end. Literally. I’ve heard that they’re keeping the cast for Forever, so I’m really looking forward to it.
I guess I should say something that I didn’t like. I always try to point out pros and cons. Mmmh... Sam’s guitar playing bothered me a little, I guess. Mostly because I play the guitar, and, having just a few months each year to practice while spending six or eight months with wolf paws instead, you just can’t play well enough to go professional. I should know: I broke my arm and had to stay away for just two months and a half, and it took me just as long to bring myself back to where I was before, so... more than half the year? Not possible.
If that’s the only complain I have about this one, I think you can safely guess it was a good, enjoyable title. Really, check out the audio version. You won’t regret it!