Series Review – The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver, Linger and Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: August 1st 2009, July 13th 2010 and July 12th 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edition 402 pages, Kindle Edition 369 pages and Kindle Edition 405 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: December 2016, January 2017 and April 2017

Maggie Stiefvater — Goodreads

Shiver

Synopsis
From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT.

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.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This is a re-read for me so I wasn’t expecting to be surprised by anything and I was right. The plot was kind of slow, sometimes confusing and sometimes boring. It’s a good pace and easy to get through, but it had insta love. However, I really liked the kind of werewolf lore the author decided to go with, I think it’s a really interesting concept that I can’t wait to see explored more.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
In general, the writing is really descriptive and detailed. However, it’s really slow paced so I felt like it dragged as I was reading and made it hard to keep my interest. It’s lyrical and poetic and there’s also in my opinion some great dialogue.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t really know how I feel about these characters. They’re all kind of strange in their own peculiar ways and the story helps by creating a very peculiar atmosphere.
Grace is the protagonist in this book and she’s kind of stoic. She’s really independent and has had to basically raise herself since her parents tend to leave her alone a lot. She’s a little bit obsessed with the wolves outside her backyard which starts this entire adventure and she’s determined to understand everything that’s going on. I found her to be kind but also she’s kind of a stickler for stuff haha.
There’s various other side characters involved in the story, including the male love interest and while I generally enjoyed them, I feel like all the characters to have a bit more complexity. They all seem a little bit cardboard, as in that they have a singular personality and this is the kind of person that they are within the story and there’s not much room to grow beyond that.

Linger

Synopsis
The astonishing #1 New York Times bestseller. In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Again this book is really slow. The romance is the main focus in the entire series but in the first two books specially which can be annoying for some people. There’s a lot more information of the werewolves which I really appreciate and I think it was really well thought out. This one was full of angst and it kind of got on my nerves.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Again, descriptive and detailed. Super slow paced though it’s very poetic and lyrical and easy to read. This one in particular had several points of views which was okay, but they never really felt distinct between one another. The narrative dragged a bit while reading but it was really emotional so I liked that.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed the characters much more in this one. Part of the reason is because it’s a second book so we get more page time with them but also because there are more points of views so I can see into the minds of those characters that I was more detached from.
Grace is still pretty stoic, I’ve accepted that it’s just her personality. She’s much more emotional in this one though. She’s defiant of her parents and the way they treat her and independent and itching to spread her wings and do something for herself. She’s a little bit reckless, a lot scared but just as kind as she was in the first book. She’s kind of winning me over.
Sam is pretty much exactly the same way I thought he was in the first book, maybe a little more sad in this one. He’s lost, vulnerable and scared with everything that’s going on in his life. He’s still very earnest and I can’t even explain what I mean by that but that’s the kind of vibe he gives.
There’s more side characters in this one as well but they’re definitely getting more development than they did in the first book. They’re a little bit too crazy and too dramatic for my taste but I understand what they’re doing within the story.

Forever

Synopsis
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.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly, I was hoping the plot of this book would improve over the previous two but it was very similar. There was a much bigger conflict which was interesting but then another angsty romance was added to the lineup. It got boring sometimes again and I felt like the ending was interesting but kind of sad all the same.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There’s nothing much that’s different from this book to the previous one. The writing style is descriptive and detailed though slow paced. The narrative dragged a bit and kind of made it hard for me to keep engaged. However, it was still poetic and lyrical in delivery.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I kind of wish I could say that I ended up falling in love with these characters by the end, but that’s just not true. I like them all well enough but the whole story as well as their personalities were just too dramatic for me.
Grace changed in this book. From the end of the second book to this one, she’s quieter, much more vulnerable. She kept her defiant spirit as well as her independence. But she’s tired and that really came through.
The rest of the side characters are also much more stressed out, specially since the plot of this book is pretty intense for them. They’re all dealing with a lot of different things and it affects each of them in different ways.

Emotionally

I finally managed to re-read and finish this series after reading it in middle school the first time and I have to say that it’s not as good as I remember.

I was really excited to re-read the first book but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first time I read it. The plot is slow. We follow Grace, a girl obsessed with the wolves who roam behind her house during the winter and one fateful day she encounters something that shakes her world. I remember really loving this book when I first read it, so much so that I actually did a high school project on it, but this re-read left me a bit disappointed. I remembered the basics of the plot so nothing really caught me off guard or surprised me which didn’t help anything, but I didn’t remember the details of the story. The first time I read it, I think I went through it really quickly. However, this time it took me forever to get through. It was really slow paced and the romance didn’t captivate me as much this time. It’s a lot of insta love and I guess that’s just something I’ve grown out of enjoying these kinds of romances. When I was younger, the romance totally blew me away and made me fall in love with this book but it just didn’t feel the same the second time around. I loved the folklore and style of the kind of werewolf the author decided to explore. The weather being the catalyst for change is really interesting to me and I want to know more about that and how it first started. The concept is just so intriguing and unique in my opinion. Though the majority of the story wasn’t really engaging that much, I really enjoyed the last few chapters and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the series. Grace is tough. She’s very stoic and independent. She has a really tough shell but she’s also sweet and kind to her friends. I feel like I don’t know her enough because of her personality. I feel like she needed more than that, the stoicness made her impersonal and hard to get to know and hard to connect her in general. As for the side characters, they all got similar reactions out of me. Sam is a very vulnerable person. He has a rough past but he’s shy and sweet. He has almost an earnest personality that was kind of cute and slightly annoying. He’s scared about a lot of things and it was almost the soft to Grace’s toughness. Jack is a huge fucking douche. I did not like him at all, I wasn’t surprised with how such a shitty situation he found himself in. I wish he wouldn’t have been such a huge part of this story because he singlehandedly made everything that much more complicated for everyone. Isabel is a different kind of tough compared to Grace. She’s kind of a bitch honestly. And though it was made me feel alienated from her, her one liners are really freaking funny and she’s kind of a badass.

This second book was another re-read for me and I’m glad that I enjoyed this one as much as I did the first time I read it. The plot is angsty. We follow Grace, who is defying her parents to be with her boyfriend Sam as well as struggling with her health and what that means for her life as she knows it. This series tends to focus almost exclusively on the romance so it’s that’s not your kind of thing, you’re definitely not going to like it. There are other things within the story like Grace’s struggles with her relationship with her parents as well as the werewolf issues but the romance and their struggles with being together is the main focal point. There’s a lot of angst, pain and vulnerability involved. Star crossed lovers is the way that I think of it, mostly because they’re being slightly kept apart by different obstacles throughout the story. I really liked how there were more point of views in this sequel. I feel like it gave more depth to the characters and showed their personal development much more. I had trouble reconnecting with the characters in the first book, most notably Grace even though she’s the main character. This one however improved on that, though I still feel like the characters are too boxed in where their personality types place them to be. I feel like they lack complexity even though there’s a lot of emotion and angst involved in each of their personalities. My favorite part of this book and the series as a whole is the werewolf addition. I love the mystery behind why they turn and how it really happens. That was a huge part of the storyline in this book and that’s kind of what kept me reading for the most part. I wanted to see the mystery solved as soon as possible because it was intriguing the heck out of me. It was basically the most engaging part of the entire book. Since I had issues with connecting to Grace’s personality in the first book, I really loved how she finally embraced her anger and defied her parents. She complained about them in the first book a lot but never really did anything, so I was glad she did it in this one. I needed her to do that to connect with her because without it, she just got constantly more annoying to me. But yay for getting what I need! Let’s talk a bit about the side characters. Sam is exactly the same, except much more lost which is insane to me. He’s dealing with a lot and I quite like his habit of thinking in song lyrics though cheesy, but I just feel like he’s way too soft. I’d never actually date him in real life. Isabel kind of has a stick up her butt though totally within reason! She’s a really angry, bitchy person. She’s also dealing with a lot of crap, most noticeably her brother dying which she feels really guilty over so I understand why her personality is that way, it just again makes it hard to connect. Cole is a new character in this book and he’s a douche. He also deals with suicidal thoughts and actual attempts so be aware of that if you’re reading this book. He’s rebellious and mysterious and a rock star so I’m sure that tells you his role in this whole thing. I liked the intelligent part of his personality because it was so unexpected from him.

In this third book, I was looking for something much more intense than what this book was, but I liked it. The plot is dramatic. We follow Grace, now shifting into a wolf which brings a whole new set of problems into her life and the life of her loved ones. I don’t know what I was really expecting from this book but it definitely could’ve used more action in the plot. It was pretty simple in general, but the characters spend most of the time thinking, plotting and dealing with drama which is what gives the book its length. I was really invested in the saving of the wolves. This thing that has brought the main characters together, kept them apart and brought them together again is in danger and they all do their best to make sure they can keep the pack safe. I wanted to read and be involved in that more but most of the time the story revolves around the separation between Sam and Grace. I was just generally annoyed with the fact that they were the most important thing in the entire trilogy, by now I’m just beyond caring about the angst in their relationship and want something more. What I get instead is another angsty relationship, much more toxic than the first and a lot of trying to figure out how to do something good. There were a lot of interesting elements within this finale that I wanted to explore a lot more: Grace’s time as a wolf, Cole’s family and his intelligence, Beck and his past, etc. All these things were part of the narrative but they weren’t developed enough. The things that could’ve actually made the story the most entertaining were not really taken as much into account as I wanted. I liked how they managed to get everything together though those last few chapters were really intense and much too close for my own comfort. I think the ending was sweet but overall, it left me unsatisfied. I wanted more from the story. I like Grace in general, really, but I wished for more growth throughout the series. I feel like she started on a great path in the second book but because of the change to werewolf, the growth was more stagnant than I generally like from my main characters. I wanted her to be more daring, to just be more than she actually was. I liked the romance. That sounds weird since I’ve complained about it a lot but I really did like it. It just had too much attention throughout the series. I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if the werewolf story was the focal point, instead of the romance. The pairing of Isabel and Cole are the most complex characters but not in the best way possible. They are almost toxic personalities and they are definitely not in the best state of mind at all throughout the series. I kind of just want to wrap them in my arms and give them love.

Overall, this series let me down. I wanted to love it as much as I did when I was younger and I read it the first time. The romance is the focal point of the entire trilogy and while I enjoyed it overall, it made the story kind of boring and didn’t keep me engaged throughout the whole thing. I really liked the werewolf lore, what attracted me to the trilogy in the first place, and I wish it would’ve had a more important role in all the books.

So that’s it for this post! I’ve had the worst two days in a really long time so I’m surprised that I’ve managed to complete this only one day behind my own schedule. I’d love to know what you guys think of this series if you’ve read it and if not, if it interests you at all. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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7 thoughts on “Series Review – The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. It’s funny – and also kind of awesome – that you’re reviewing this series: only a couple days ago, I was wondering whether or not to buy the first book and decided to pick out another one and wait a while. I’ve been wanting to read more of Maggie’s books but for some reason I wasn’t sure. Seems like I did well. I’m so sorry to hear this was such a let down, the synopsis sounded quite promising but I feel like the thrill of the story wasn’t entirely there, which is a shame :/

    Liked by 1 person

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