Series Review: The Wolves of Mercy Falls

Series Review: The Wolves of Mercy FallsShiver
by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published 2009 by Scholastic Press
390 pages. Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Rating:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I saw this book on a list a long time ago and didn’t think much of it for a while. I figured I’d get around to it eventually. I’m very glad I did. Stiefvater’s wonderful prose was the first thing to draw me in. It’s very melancholy, but beautiful. Once I began, I couldn’t make myself stop.

I’m not sure that I found a theme to this book. Obviously, Grace and Sam are in love, so love is an important aspect. But their love is the intense kind that is complicated and rarely found in real life. It’s an unconditional, constant love. It’s as if they’ve been together for years. They fit together like pieces to a puzzle. But I think the conflict is what is more important in this story. Will Sam be able to keep himself from shifting? If he shifts will he be able to shift back the next summer? Is there a cure that will allow him to stay with Grace? This is what comes to me when I think back on this book. A simple plot with a simple conflict: can they overcome their obstacles to stay together? If there’s some deeper message to this book, I haven’t found it.

As far as characters go, they’re wonderful. Grace is relatively level-headed and responsible. She’s nearly more of an adult than her parents. She’s mature and handles some of the strangest and most difficult of her situations with a cool head and determination that I admire. Sam is gentle, sensitive, and terribly romantic. He’s the type of guy little girls dream of finding when they grow up. I like him better than all the troubled guys of most young-adult novels because he’s not so broody. His sadness is reserved and genuine. He bears through his struggles with a sincerity you won’t find in many other characters. I feel like I’m not explaining him very well, but that’s the best I can do to put it into words.

There wasn’t much character development in this book. They’re all pretty static. It’s definitely plot-driven, but that didn’t really bother me.

Series Review: The Wolves of Mercy FallsLinger
by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2
Published 2010 by Scholastic Press
360 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being a human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life a constant struggle between two forces--wolf and human--with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

I was so excited about this book when I finished Shiver. I just could not wait for it to come out. By the time it got here, a lot of the excitement had worn off. By the time I actually started reading I had to remember what was even going on in this story. None of that is really bad. I just said that to say that it took me a little bit to get invested. I’ll blame part of that on the beginning of the book too. I found the first half a little boring.

The addition of Cole was a wonderful decision of Stiefvater’s part. Without him, there wouldn’t be much of a story. Since Sam and Grace are already together it took a long time for me to get really interested with their part of the story. I wasn’t sucked into what was happening with them until the last sixty pages or so. Cole helped keep me in the book until that point. He’s a great character. I’m eager to see more of him in the next book. He’s the guy you love to hate, but it’s so difficult when you can see into his tortured head. He really loathes himself and it’s so sad. I want him to get better so very bad.

It was also interesting to see inside Isabel’s head. After finding her rather unfeeling in the first book, I like her a lot now. I got to see what’s on the inside and I feel similar to the way I feel about Cole. I really want her to face her problems and get better. She’s become crucial to the story line as well. I’m so glad there’s more to this book. I was a little worried about what this book would be like.

Again, I really like Stiefvater’s writing. She takes some great cues from Rilke and all the other poetry she loves. She paints some very lovely pictures, and sometimes some very sad pictures. This book felt a little less lyrical though. It seemed a little more real and gritty and I think Cole and Isabel had everything to do with that. Especially Cole, whose the grittiest character in the book. He really brought something new to the story. But, I’m talking about writing right now, not Cole. I admit, in Shiver, I was sometimes a little overwhelmed by the lyrical passages. I didn’t feel that way about this book. The writing stayed out of the way a little more.

I have to give props to Stiefvater for not ending things quite the way I expected. I mean, I saw what was coming. I just didn’t expect it to happen the way it did. It was a little twist that made the book much more interesting to me. Now, the characters are faced with a whole new plethora of problems that I really need the answers to. That’s what a good plot is. Reel us all in, then leave us hanging on the last words so that we’ll be begging for the next book.

It didn’t blow me away, like I expected it to. I did really enjoy it though. This is a great series.

Series Review: The Wolves of Mercy FallsForever
by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Published 2011 by Scholastic Press
388 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

then.When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment--a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

I’ve been debating whether or not to do a review for this. Sometimes, I feel silly writing a review for something that’s already been reviewed a million times. However, I’ve read mixed reviews on this one. That’s what swayed me to throw my feelings out there.

First of all, I loved it. I thought it was the perfect conclusion to the trilogy. I know there were some people out there that weren’t satisfied, and I think I know why. Expectations are everything. It’s easy to be let down when you’re expecting too much. It’s also easy to be impressed when you’re expecting something to be bad. Maybe the one or two reviews I read that complained about the book lowered my expectations. I’m not sure. I just think this trilogy is so much more understated than other paranormal books. The ending wasn’t epic, but it was appropriate. Just my opinion.

There’s a note in the back where Maggie says that the love Sam and Grace share is very real, you just have to find it. I have to say I agree. There’s something so incredibly realistic about their love. It’s not crazy, intense, desperate love that could change the world. It’s so much more simple than that. They love each other. They want to be together, and they plan their lives together. They do all they can to stay together. I love the way they are together. It kind of reminds me of me and my boyfriend (though he is no Sam and I am definitely no Grace). It’s easy for them to be around each other, and it’s enough to be together. It’s enough to be in the same room. It’s a pretty great feeling. But enough of my ramblings about love! More about the book!

I just love Cole and Isabel. They’re not exactly a couple or anything, but they’re two screwed up people that understand each other. Cole, particularly, is far more complex than he allows people to see. He might be my favorite character in the whole trilogy. There’s a lot I could go on and on about, but I’d probably just end up ruining the ending for anyone who hasn’t read it. I’ll just say I loved it, and I might have cried a couple of times… just a little bit.

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