Friday, August 12, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Final book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls Series)
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
Release Date: Already on the shelves!
The Sisters say: Beautifully written, but somewhat underwhelming
I received an ARC of this book in conjunction with a book tour from “I Read Banned Books” 

This Review is for the third book in the series, and does contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Summary (from goodreads):
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

There is no question that Maggie puts words together in a beautiful and vivid way that triumphs over the writing of many other YA authors. It’s one of the reasons that I kept reading the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, even when I had no desire to ever pick up another werewolf book again.

Forever is right on par with the rest of the series—beautiful language, insightful characters, and wonderful landscaping. I think Mercy Falls is so well described in these books that it almost becomes a character in and of itself.

However, I just feel plotwise, this book really didn’t live up to what the last book in a series should be. Linger and Shiver both had some pretty epic plot twists and turns that gave a concrete story arc to support the beautifully imagined emotional arc of the characters.

But I’ve got to be honest… not a whole lot happens in Forever. I can pretty much sum up the plot in about twenty seconds. It feels at times like a lot of false starts as Grace struggles to stay human, and the wolves struggle to keep from being killed off by Tom Culpepper and his supporters.

And the ending…. well… it doesn’t feel much like an ending. Maybe because there is not a lot of build-up. And the major question that has been raised by the series—is there a way for Sam and Grace to be together? Is left largely unanswered by an ambiguous ending that leaves the future too unknown, in my opinion.

The best part about this book was Cole’s storyline. I almost wished that Sam and Grace’s storyline would have taken more of a backseat to Cole’s story.  Depressed and Suicidal Cole channels his self-destructive energy into a good cause—using himself as a test subject as he attempts to find a cure. So much more could have been done with this storyline, but instead it becomes a subplot to an action-less romance between Sam and Grace. I think, too, this is the dangers of a book with a multi-voice narrative. It’s so rare that a reader will like all the characters about the same. I, for one, tended to skip forward to see how long it was until I got back to Cole.

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept about this last book is the length. When I pick up a YA book that’s over 400 pages, I expect it to have the plot to backup that huge wordcount, and this book, just didn’t.

I will give this a small disclaimer, and say that like I pointed out at the beginning, I read this series for the writing, plain and simple. I enjoyed Sam and Grace’s story, but that story alone never would have been enough to hook me. If you adored Sam and Grace’s relationship in the earlier books, you might feel very different than I did about the conclusion to this series.

I’ll end this by saying that I will most definitely continue to read Maggie Stiefvater’s books. She’s an excellent writer, and I look forward to her next book, The Scorpio Races, about which I’ve heard some amazing things.