Sunday, August 14, 2011
Pages: 360 (paperback)
Published: 2010 by Scholastic
Recommended for: everyone who enjoyed Shiver
Warning: mild spoilers follow...
After the events of Shiver, Sam feels hesitantly hopeful about his future, but more concerned than ever for Grace. The werewolf bite she received ten years ago as a child seems to finally be taking its toll on her. As spring approaches, Sam tries to come to terms with the wolf he was and the human he is now, even as Grace struggles to deny the signs of her seemingly inevitable transformation. Meanwhile the newest member of the Mercy Falls pack, a wolf called Cole, fights to remain a wolf as Minnesota warms up. Eccentric and dangerously impulsive, the last thing Cole wants to do is face his human past, even if being human means he gets to see the equally standoffish Isabel Culpeper.
The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is one of the few paranormal romances I've really enjoyed. As a reader, I tend to lean more towards complex magic systems and sci-fi worlds, lots of action and less romance. But in Linger's case, the beautiful simplicity and bittersweet lyrical tone of Maggie Stiefvater's story made for the perfect beach read this past week. This series is simply a fantastically-crafted and intensely addictive love story. I remember Shiver fairly well considering it has been a year since I read it, and overall I think I liked Linger, still fresh in my mind, just as much. The slower yet captivating pace of this book nevertheless kept me hooked, and the four first-person perspectives from which the story is told was much less disorienting than I feared it might be at first.
We have two new narrators in Linger: Cole, aforementioned mysterious and impulsive new werewolf, and Isabel, Grace's friend who previously had been a more minor character. Cole's voice surprisingly became the most distinctive, and I really grew to love him. He's blunt, possibly suicidal, and on the run from the reality of his life-- so what does the fact that I felt I could relate to him more than any of the other characters say about me??? Cole's more like a mish-mash of personalities and qualities: sarcasm and anguish paired with egomania, regret, flaws, and unexpected genius. In a way, he's more like a real teenager than any of the others who are more predictable-- not flat characters, exactly, but they're nowhere near as absolutely spherical as Cole. I've always liked Sam more than Grace, but Isabel grew on me, too. There are quite a few funny one-liners in her conversations with Cole; they were so enjoyable to read.
I always appreciate how different the werewolves in these books are from your average Werewolf John Does... or Jacob Blacks, as the case may be. ;) My one major complaint is the barest hint of Middle-Book Syndrome which became evident towards the end... important things happened and the story progressed, yes, but not nearly as much as in Shiver and Forever, which I've already read thanks to a friend who let me borrow her copy. (Thanks, Liz!) Overall, Linger is a strong sequel and has definitely proved to be the ideal beach read.