21 February 2010

Shiver (#19)

I picked this book up at Borders completely randomly, because I've always been a sucker for good covers and the storyline seemed like it would fall in with the other books I was reading at the time, namely the Sookie Stackhouse series of books. Shiver falls into the YA category of books that are somewhat obsessed with the whole supernatural phenomenon. And I really wanted to like this book as much as I've liked other supernatural series, like Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse books.  I like Stiefvater's style, in general, and I think that she could have something interesting to develop here.

The plot is relatively straightforward: Grace was bitten by a pack of wolves when she was little, before the story starts (why not include some of the aftermath?) and she feels a particularly strong bond with the wolf who protected her from the others, and she always waits for him to come into the forest by her house in the wintertime. And then she meets Sam, who it turns out is this wolf, and the story of their relationship unfolds to the background of the ever-dropping temperature which threatens to turn Sam back into the wolf at any moment. All the makings of a good YA tale, which are typically easy to read and I tend to finish in about ten minutes. 

But the characters were really lacking in depth and in personality.  Even Sam was not a particularly charismatic character, and I didn't really feel Grace's plight, either. I didn't dislike any of the characters, but I didn't really have feelings about any of them one way or the other, because a lot of them seemed kind of like afterthoughts.  Like, Stiefvater wrote this book and realized that there had to be other characters for the book to work. I really liked the parents, because they didn't need much development.

One thing I did like about the book, however, was the alternating points of view. This isn't something completely new, but I appreciated the varied perspective in that it offers something a little different.  The two characters clearly experience the story in different ways, because they experience each other in different ways and each have something different at stake.  But was it enough to save the book? I don't know.  Will the sequel need two different perspectives, since the two characters aren't still in completely different worlds? Will Stiefvater give more chacters a voice in the story? I hope that she delves more into the characters' lives, because Sam's (or Beck's) story could be really interesting if it had time to develop. Time will tell. I'll probably read the sequel, but this won't be anything that I'm calling friends and telling them that they must read the book.  

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