When she was a child, Grace was attacked and bitten by werewolves. She was only saved by the intervention of a yellow-eyed wolf, who has continued to watch her progress throughout her life. Now 17, Grace is making her way through high school but maintains a strange feeling of kinship with “her wolf”. When she meets a boy, Sam, with those same yellow eyes, Grace immediately feels drawn to him, especially when she realizes that he truly is a werewolf. As they fall in love, Grace and Sam struggle to find a way to be together before he turns into a wolf permanently.
I really, really wish I had liked this book more than I did! I’ve had a number of comments already from people who just loved this book and I was really looking forward to it. I think in this case, expectations really ruined the book for me. With the use of the word “chilling” on the cover and the fact that it was a book about werewolves, and that was more or less all I knew, I guess I expected it to be creepier. Or at least creepy somehow. Instead, “chilling” referred to the fact that winter’s cold turns the werewolves into their wolf selves. I felt a bit misled and perhaps if I’d paid more attention to reviews beforehand, I wouldn’t have been particularly annoyed.
As it was, this book is basically a teenage paranormal romance. As I was reading it, I could tell that my sixteen year old self would have been head over heels for it. But since I expected more, or at least something else, I wound up disappointed – I often do when I think I’m reading something and it turns into something else. The romance was sweet enough but it was clearly predetermined from the beginning and the story didn’t really have any twists that set it apart from a regular romance novel. I’m fine with all of these things when I know they’re happening, but for some reason this book and I didn’t click at all. Many of the scenes were slow-moving, focusing on just Sam and Grace and their developing relationship. There was a bit of drama focusing on Grace’s friends and a boy that goes after the wolves, but I was just reminded a little too much of what it was like to be a teenager.
I also really disliked how absent minded Grace’s parents were. It really brought home to me how much this is a flaw in YA books; I found it hard to believe a father could just forget his small daughter in a car days after she’d been violently attacked by werewolves! And what parents would miss the fact that their house was now inhabited by another person, sleeping in their daughter’s bed? It’s hard to believe parents could claim to love their child and then completely ignore everything she does. I’m sure they’re out there, but Grace’s parents just annoyed me every time they appeared in a scene.
Regardless of my disappointments, I still felt that the book was well-written, with Sam and Grace having distinct voices that made it easy for me to tell the difference between them. Stiefvater’s prose is lovely, with a number of gorgeous descriptions – that special part of the woods comes to mind immediately and I wish I had the book with me to quote it. I would certainly be interested in reading another book by her, but I think for once I’ll investigate a little more about the plot before I commit myself.
Would I recommend Shiver? I don’t know; probably not to someone who expected a creepier book! But I do think people who enjoy paranormal romance (or Twilight) would like it, as attested by its popularity.
I am an Amazon Associate. I borrowed this book from my local library.