Book Review – Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: July 1st, 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Hardcover, 357 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: April 2017

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads



Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes…but what’s the point? What is there to win?
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.


Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book is really slow and it’s really dramatic. It got really boring sometimes and the story felt like it stretched out too long. I liked the setting since it was a change of pace from the rest of the series but the narrative was full of angst and I’m not a big fan of that. Also, I feel like for how big the problem felt to the characters, the resolution went by too quickly.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m feeling kind of meh towards the writing in this entire series. It’s descriptive and detailed which is good but it’s really slow paced. This book is told in dual point of view but both of the voices sound really similar to each other, something that’s not easy to see in the original trilogy. In general, the writing is poetic but super dramatic as well.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I haven’t had the best connection with the characters in this series and now that half the original cast is gone and there’s new characters in this book that we don’t really have a lot of space to get to know, I’m even more like meh towards this cast of characters.
Cole is really intense and kind of depressed. His narration was really emotional. He’s confused about a lot of things but also determined to create the life he wants for himself. However, he’s still a bit lost and not sure how to deal with everything that’s going on around him.
Isabel is the other point of view in this book but honestly, her narrative wasn’t that much different than Cole’s. She’s very angry inside but also working hard to ignore the affects the world has on her. She’s kind of cold and stoic though all of that is just hiding her vulnerability and her emotional side. I don’t think their relationship is the most healthy honestly.
I feel like there were too many new side characters and none of them had enough page time to really get to know sufficiently. It just made the story like depth and realness.


I don’t really understand why this is a published book. I don’t think there’s really anything more to get from this book about the series. It’s mostly because readers wanted to read more about Cole.

The plot is dramatic. We follow Cole, who moves to California in pursuit of Isabel while entangling himself in a crazy reality show. I really don’t know how I feel about this book completely. I definitely liked it while I was reading it, it was easy to get through and interesting enough to keep my attention. But there was so much drama and angst that looking back it’s not something that I can really praise. I am not someone who thrives on reading really complicated or complex relationships, specially when they can sometimes be toxic so this book didn’t really do much for me once I started to sit and think about it. Both characters are dealing with a lot of external and internal struggles throughout the book and yet their focus is on each other and I kind of feel like this book is sharing the “someone can help fix your mental health” narrative but subtly. I may be reading too much into it, but I felt like both characters needed some serious therapy and help from people who can be objective third parties and to really help them heal and move on from past pain instead of just being together and falling in love because that doesn’t really change anything. I was generally uncomfortable with their relationship, not because there is no chemistry or that I felt they shouldn’t have been together, but because I feel like they were kind of toxic for each other. It made me feel like each one was using each other to feel better or to ignore the issues in their lives and that’s not really healthy in any relationship, let alone one for teenagers. I understand feeling an attraction toward someone or even falling in love with someone but using someone else to make yourself feel whole or to fill a sadness inside you isn’t healthy, if it works at all which usually it doesn’t. There’s also a lot of mentions of drugs and self-destructive behavior within the book that could be triggering for people. I guess I understand why other readers would want to read more from both of these characters as these story lines were left hanging in the end of Forever but I don’t think it really helped express or give perspective to the plot of the series a whole and I feel like it would’ve been better to just have a novella. It could’ve been short, have the same ending which was really sweet overall but without all the unhealthy and toxic relationship angst and drama that dominated 80% of this book.

Cole is crazy reckless in a way that is hurtful to himself and not really good for his sanity. He’s really charming and funny and intense but I just don’t get the appeal. Maybe if I was younger, I would’ve liked reading more about his point of view. But honestly speaking, I’m over the “bad boy” who’s actually an asshole and toxic to himself and to you and I don’t really think falling in love is the cure for the kind of despair and depression that Cole carries around not only in this book but also in the original trilogy. I wish there would’ve been some therapy positive narratives throughout the book because they definitely needed it.

Isabel is really rough around the edges. She’s really angry and that was how the majority of her narrative felt. Her being angry and lashing out in different ways to different people. I was kind of hopeful part way through the story when she tried to distance herself from Cole, but the author made it obvious that that wasn’t going to last. I feel like the story would’ve been better if they would’ve had a longer resolution. The majority of the book revolved around the conflict and the resolution and wrap up only took up like two chapters total which was not enough. Also there were a lot of new side characters in this book but none of the were developed well at all. I liked a few of them but they don’t really matter much in the story which was kind of disappointing. They were literally just there to help the main characters get together.

Overall, I was disappointed in this book. I’ve had it for a really long time and it’s the first hardcover I’ve been able to read in four years so I wanted it to be special and it wasn’t. The relationship is kind of toxic and it’s the focal point out of the whole book. The side characters didn’t have much of a part in the story unless they were needed to help the main characters get out of a tough spot. It was just kind of okay in general.

So that’s it for this post! I am really excited to start reading more of my physical books and being able to buy books. I’d love to know if any of you loved the original trilogy and what you felt about this book if you read it. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!


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