Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but nobody says anything about not admiring it. The cover designer, Christopher Stengel, worked magic. The monochromatic colors are cool and beautiful and mysterious and subtle. The red dot, of course, just pops. Stunning. See it in real life; this picture doesn't do it justice.

Shiver captures the intensity of first love perfectly; the longing, the breathlessness, and the giddiness. Nothing is more essential and no obstacle too great for this love. This powerful current that drives the two characters pulsates on every page.

The opening chapter does everything a first chapter should: sets the tone for the book, introduces the main character, plunges us into action and conflict. It is also dramatic; I mean, a girl describing herself being attacked by wolves? What's there to stop us from reading on?

Of all the characters in the book, I found Isobel the most varied and dynamic. She is introduced briefly at the beginning, and over the course of the book, her role becomes more important and her character more sharply drawn. In contrast to her, Grace seems to possess traits that occasionally don't jive, at least in my mind, When we're in her head, she seems to be serious and sensitive and passionate and introverted. But when she is interacting with others, her witty quips seem out of place. A serious and sensitive and passionate and introverted person can be witty, of course, but she seems to come up with these clever remarks abruptly, in the middle of a quiet rumination. Or maybe these remarks jump out at me because they are so similar to those of Sam.

The story contains multiple threads that eventually intersect. Every once in a while, I feel as if a thread has been dropped too abruptly. For example, the chapters leading up to Sam's meeting with Beck were well done; we get a deeper understanding of their relationship and can empathize with Sam when he finally meets up with Beck again. But right after the meeting and the resulting confusion and heartbreak, Sam doesn't mention or even think about Beck again. Their eventual reunion is tender, although I'm not sure Beck's explanation for why he did the thing that made Sam mad is a very convincing one.

I can easily imagine myself as a teen devouring this book and dreaming of having the relationship between Grace and Sam. The sensitive young man who reads poetry and composes love songs and make scrambled eggs and who brings his girlfriend to the bookstore to read Rilke to her? Where was that young man when I was 17 and in love?

So do you think the success of Shiver will spawn a slew of copycat werewolf love stories?


Yat-Yee said...
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Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I love that cover, and agree that a beautiful cover is meant to be admired over and over. I have even purchased books because I was captivated by lovely covers. I didn't read your review because I have that book on my nightstand and don't want spoilers. :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Oooh sounds interesting. I'm not sure if I can get into the werewolves thing, but I'm willing to give anything a shot once.

Yat-Yee said...

Tricia: I know what you mean. Even if the review doesn't technically contain spoilers, the attitude and opinion of the reviewer can color our own experience of the book. Would love to know what you think after you finish it.

Karen: The werewolves thing is not at all icky. The world building is very tastefully done.

MG Higgins said...

I have to admit I also skimmed through most of your post because I was worried about spoilers. I loved Lament and plan on reading Shiver soon, although I haven't bought it yet. I read enough of your post to know you liked it, so that may speed up my purchase!

Yat-Yee said...

Melissa: thanks for trusting in my opinions.I hope you don't regret reading it. And after you do, you'll have to read my review again to tell me if you agree.

tanita davis said...

...or is Shiver a werewolf copycat story?

I'm knee-deep in Cybils reading. And let me tell you: the werewolves. They are out there. In spades. In love.


I kind of blame Twilight. But I'm loving Kelley Armstrong's version of werewolf -- acne laden, body-odor bearing, ill-tempered ...and all teen.

Yat-Yee said...

Oh, I guess I haven't yet known of other werewolf love stories. Sorry 'bout the ignorance.

Thanks for shifting through the werewolves for the ones you recommend.