Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Young adult fantasy
Publisher, Year: Scholastic, 2010
Other Works: Shiver
Flags: Teen angst, Tenuous references
Rating: B-, or Not Sorry I Read It
Premise: Another girl meets another wolf. Plus, the continuation of the first girl and her wolf's life together. Then, things start to get sticky.

I read this book awhile ago, so I hope I can do it justice. For me, it wasn’t as good as the first in the series, but still held my attention.

Grace and Sam have happily found a way to be together. Sam has stopped shifting, which is great because he can be with Grace always, but at the same time, an entire part of his life that has in many ways been important to him, is now gone. However, he is still connected to his wolfish past, although not physically, because there are now new wolves that need to learn the tricks of the trade. Enter egotistical, terribly good-looking, spasmodic Cole St. Clair—former rock star turned depressive wolf. And although everyone has a hard time working with him, he proves to be the one person who can provide an important solution to a life-threatening problem that no one has yet encountered.

I just couldn’t get as connected to the characters (ie. Sam) as I could in the first book. Grace was always a bit lacking for me, and she seemed to turn it around a little bit. I didn’t find her spineless in this book, and maybe it was the influence of her earlier experiences that made her grow up a little. I think Stiefvater was faced with a common problem when it comes to sequels, and that is that the ending of the previous story was so perfectly tied up that the characters don’t have much to do but go through their very normal existence together. When the new conflicts crop up, the story’s momentum began to rise, and with it, my hopes.

However, this book also introduces two new narrators, one character that we’ve met before, Isabel, the other a new werewolf, Cole. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy being in either of their heads. Maybe I’m just the type of person who doesn’t get Isabel, but she seems a cookie cutter “poor little rich girl” type, and Cole, I’m sorry to say, seemed simply her male equivalent. And that fact meant that I found everything about their interactions a complete bore. The split narration in the first book was difficult enough, to double that, I think, was asking too much.

I was disappointed that this book also lacked a certain feel that the first did so well. Sam and Grace were haunted by the onset of winter. That cold weather was almost a third main character—a sort of ghostly presence that was always lurking, waiting to pounce. It gave the book an appealing creepiness that I felt was deficient in the continuation of the story. As the temperature rose and fell, so did my anxiety. I felt that sense of urgency was missing.

With all that said, Linger still held my attention, and there were plenty of bright spots of suspense that kept me turning pages. Though I wish the story would have been more concise, once I came to the conclusion, I was satisfied and happy to have spent the time. I will definitely be checking out the final installment.

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