Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release date: July 12, 2011
Source: ARC received for I Read Banned Books Tour
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Summary: (from Goodreads) 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.
First impressions: Man, Maggie Stiefvater sure is a gorgeous writer. She writes as if each word is carefully chosen, in this specific and beautiful way. I fell into the rhythm of this book very easily, and it took me right back into the world.
Lasting impressions: This was my favorite installment of the trilogy. Based on my so-so reactions to the first two, I wasn't sure if this one would be any better. I wanted to see how the story ended, and ultimately I'm glad I read not only this book, but the whole series.
Conflicting impressions: I've come to accept that my problems with this series are ones of personal taste. I don't think the way the parents were written out of the story came through for me the way Stiefvater intended. I also will never be able to tell the multiple narrators apart. I realize, though, that these things don't bother most fans of this series.
Overall impressions: This one is certainly not vying for "special shelf" status. Grace's relationship with her parents drives me bonkers. I can't ever keep the narrators straight without double-checking the designation. The science of the wolves is overly complicated. Yet there's something that has kept me reading all three books.
The writing style is very specific to Stiefvater. She is a master of prose, no doubt. She beautifully captures the isolation and cold of the Minnesota woods. I think she's at her best when the scenes have a lot of internal conflict and are light on dialogue. When Sam is trying (still) to process his bathtub fears, for instance, or when Cole goes on another depressive bender. There's an incredible scene with Grace in the woods in the middle of the book that is terrifying, and I was totally swept away by it.
But JEEZ-US! Sometimes I had no idea where the story was going or how much of the backstory I was supposed to have memorized. I tried finding a detailed recap anywhere online for Linger because for much of this book I just felt lost. Authors! It's been a long time since your last book came out! You can't really expect all of us to re-read the series each time, can you?
I remained frustrated with Grace's parents in this book, although her mom tried to redeem herself. Mostly, though, they remain self-absorbed little shits (pardon my French) who show up when typical parents would be needed and disappear when it suits the story. They are just awful, and I get that that is the point, but then why is Grace so forgiving? Why does she even try to involve them anymore? I wish I could define that breaking point a little better, but since I can't, this point goes woefully unresolved for me.
This book is made much more tolerable by the growth of Cole and Isabel. Cole takes over for Sam as Most Interesting Despairing Wolf, and Isabel shows much more depth of feeling and introspection than ever before. I loved Isabel in this book. She showed why she is the way she is and so I understood her much more. Why didn't we get more of this before this book?
Despite my personal hang-ups toward the book, it resolved the Mercy Falls story adequately enough. It had some major shockers toward the end, and though it teases us with a few twists, I'm not angry that this is the end of these characters' stories. I can let my imagination fill in the blanks.
I definitely recommend this one to fans of the series, but for anyone on the fence, I'd say this book makes the trilogy worthwhile. If you have the free time, I think it would be best to knock them all out in a row so you stay invested and caught up in the action. I also recommend them in the summer, because reading these cold, depressing books in the middle of a cold, depressing winter does not make for an enjoyable reading experience. Should you choose to ignore me, I will not be held accountable for any side effects you suffer.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Interested in reading my reviews for the rest of the series? Click to read my reviews of Shiver and Linger.
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