Thursday, 16 December 2010

Review: Linger by Maggie Steifvater

  Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls) 
by Maggie Steifvater

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (Book 2 of 3)
Genre:Paranormal > Werewolves
Age Group: Young Adult - 13+
Release Date: July 2010
Format: Hardcover, 362 pages
Source: School Library
ISBN: 9780545123280
Additional Information:
Forever, the third and final installment in the trilogy, will be released in 2011.
My Shiver Review

Cover love? Absolutely beautiful - the unique forest theme continues on in this second installment of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. From the blood drop, to the wolf and the girl's silhouette, everything suits the theme perfectly. I assume the girl is Isabel, and the boy is Cole?

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.

For some strange reason, I put off reading Linger for a few weeks. I don't know what possessed me to do that - perhaps my neutral feelings towards Shiver? But when I finally got around to picking up Linger, I immediately wished I had started reading it the minute I got it.

The reason for that is: Linger is a beautiful novel, that managed to evolve into a greater, wiser novel than the one before. One particularly wise quote that I feels demonstrates this is:

"Most people had an acquired beauty. 
They became better-looking the longer you knew them 
and the better you loved them."

It's a remarkably true and absolutely brilliant observation.

As I've mentioned in my review of Shiver, Maggie Steifvater's writing is absolutely breathtaking. Poetic, you would say. She has a way with words - each syllable fits perfectly into your mouth, like a piece of sweet and warm chocolate that slowly melts across your tongue. It feels perfect, luxurious and delicious. She uses this magic to forge the realistic bonds between the characters and the readers.

Linger is unique in it's narration. While each character narrates from a first-person past tense, there are four narrators. Rather than adding a sense of confusion, we instead gain perspective and understanding of each of the characters' actions and feelings.

The characters have been developed further, as their personalities are explored and defined. The introduction of Cole was perfect - by the end of the novel, I felt as if Cole was meant to be part of Sam, Grace and Isabel's life.

And while Cole is a celebrity, we don't really see him as one. We see him as a confused, self-destructive boy who has the problem of being famous and incredibly handsome. Cole's issues felt real to me, and as a character he literally leapt off the page at me. (If you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.)

I can't talk about Cole without discussing the dark subject matters in this book. It's interesting to see Maggie Steifvater's delve into the dark side of the world of celebrities. There are drugs, women, fights and loss. She manages to convey this theme into Linger with minimal explicitness, and I think that this should be commended. Cole is a complicated character, and I am glad to see how he has been immersed into the storyline.

As you can guess, I really do like Cole. Not in terms of desirability, but as a character.

Sam and Grace's relationship has a perfect equilibrium. They are completely devoted to each other,  but their unbearable need for each other is understandable, and not overdone. Some aspects of their relationship felt a little fast, but it is overall, a sweet and beautifully written relationship.

The novel ends with a predictable outcome (as Steifvater slowly builds up the inevitable result, right from the prologue), but I was surprised, nonetheless at the reasoning behind it. It's a medically rational plot twister that brings their lives into chaos once again.

Final words: Maggie Steifvater writes with a poetic beauty that draws her supernatural characters seamlessly into reality. The combination of solemnity and light builds a breathtaking novel of love and loss.


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