So I’m not an urban fantasy book lover, but I do enjoy some great fantasy books like Melinda Lo’s Ash. I chose to read Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver, Linger, and Forever) because I wanted to compare these books with the Twilight Saga. I wasn’t in the crowd that loved those books, and was looking for an alternative to recommend to people, namely the young adults I live with.
As I generally do with series, I waited for all the books to come out so that I could read them all back to back, no waiting. This time I think I wish I would have bought them one at a time. I doubt I would I have finished the series. And I think I would have been more satisfied with having stopped after the first story was over. Shiver was the strongest of the books and I rather like the ideas I had in my head of where the story would go from there. When I read the other books, I felt the characters were left somewhat undone in my head. And I was left with afterthoughts of, “shit, are they going to be happy adults?” For some reason in these books I need a truly happy ending, not an they’re-grown-up-in-a-happy/sad-life-is-hard-but-managable way. Which is probably my problem for having false expectations rather than a problem of the author breaking promises. Shiver ended in that happy way I wanted (still some heartbreak to be had though), so that’s why I should’ve quit there. However, the Wolves of Mercy Falls was a good read as a series and if you’re looking for an alternative to the Twilight Saga or something to do after reading it because you have gotten your fill of Werewolves, than this will satisfy that hunger.
That being said, this book is way more science-based. Which I’ll take over magic any day. I think this was my favorite aspect. It towed a line of Sci-Fi, which worked for me as a someone grounded in my love of contemporary fiction and as person who is rational. I was at times difficult to buy into teenagers discovering the “cure” to werewolfism, especially in the last two book when the primary researcher was a former rock star. The sections introducing Cole into the wolf pack as depressed rock star in the mood to die were difficult, but I did find my way into sympathizing and being interested in his story with Isabel.
I also found the romance between Sam and Grace a little gushy and annoying, which is probably why I bought into the Cole/Isabel story lines. I’m always looking for a good romance within a story and I have two to choose from, I’ll pick teams. So it was fun to go back and forth between the romances, but I would have liked to see more development with Rachel and Olivia. I’m betting that was a bigger part of the story that was cut. Olivia disappears before we really get a chance to know her while Rachel is barely more than a cliche’d supporting character.
Much of the descriptions of characters were drawn from the thoughts of other characters. This bugged me. Grace was always saying or thinking how Sam was pensive and awkward and Sam was always saying or thinking how Grace was not very adept at reading people. And it began to feel like a writing crutch. Most of the writing however was lyrical and soft and enjoyable. The quoting of German poets didn’t grab me, but it also didn’t frustrate me. I really wonder how young adults reading this would respond to it. I’m guessing adults are patient and willing to read those lines, but I suspect many teens skipped them.
The book designs were outstanding including font color inside to match the book covers. These books were wonderful to hold in my hands and are lovely on my shelves.
Conclusion: Didn’t love everything. Didn’t hate anything. Glad I read the series. Would recommend to avid urban fantasy lovers.