I’ve really loved Stiefvater’s other works. She allows the plot to unfold gently and organically and populates her worlds with a wide assortment of colorful characters. With Shiver (and later book Sinner), I found the characters to be flat, uninteresting, and far too self absorbed. Ultimately, with Shiver I found there to be no room left for me in the narcissistic needy bubble of a world created by the narrowly focused characters. This is one series where Stiefvater’s usually seamless prose turns the story leaden and the characters completely unrealistic.
Story: When Grace was a child, she was attacked by wolves. Every Winter since then, a strange wolf with golden eyes appears in her back yard and haunts her dreams. When she meets a boy with the same golden eyes at a bookstore one Spring, she becomes obsessed. That boy, Sam, involuntarily changes into a wolf with the cold – and has been obsessed with Grace since he saved her from death that fateful day so long ago. Together, the two will navigate their obsession with each other as well as the tricky politics at Grace’s high school and the wolf pack. Neither is happy with the lovers and it will result in deadly consequences.
Shiver should have been a slow burn of a novel. But Stiefvater’s usual conflicted and nuanced characters in this series become atypically unlikeable. I found I wasn’t rooting for or even liking Grace or Sam. That’s problematic in a book that is essentially a romance with a few subplots meant only to add some angst into the relationship (but failing to add a spark at the same time). And as much as I loved Stiefvater’s Scorpio Races and Raven Boys, there just wasn’t enough meat to the plot to make me want to continue reading. I was bored half way through and found myself skimming the last half just to get it over with. I later received an advance reader copy of Sinner (#5 in the series?) and actually liked that book even less – the characters were completely self obsessed. Clearly, this wasn’t the series for me.
I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did a decent job.