My rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Scholastic (2010)
Length: 360 pgs
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls (#2)
Genre: YA Paranormal Fiction/Romance
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
I first read the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy back in high school, and I remember instantly being smitten. I was fresh off of my Twilight binge reading and looking for something that dabbled in similar concepts. Maggie Stiefvater’s werewolf series drew me in instantly with the romance, the tragedy, and the emo-tastic, yellow eyed Sam.
Years later, I find myself still enjoying the series but for different reasons. When I was younger I identified a lot with Grace, and I swooned over the romance between her and Sam. Now I find Grace a bit one-dimensional (and this is coming from someone who shares a lot of personality traits with her, such as being uber-responsible, type A personality, etc). Sam captivates me still but not in a romantic way (his passiveness on certain issues irritates me now), but rather in a tragic way, as more about his horrendous ordeal with his parents is revealed in this book. It’s interesting to see Sam fight his own demons, and to see what ultimately will win out: his love of being human or his love for Grace.
What I love about Linger is Isabel and Cole. Both of their POV’s are introduced in this book and add refreshing new voices distinct from the emotionally saturated narrative between Grace and Sam, but still keep Stiefvater’s prose style intact. I really like that Cole has this latent science background, and watching him try to puzzle out what makes werewolves shift is really interesting, as the series looks at the paranormal elements in less of a magical way and more of a logical, disease-based way. Isabel manages to be the voice of reason for most of this book, and I appreciate that she is the one to kick everyone into action through their grief while trying to compartmentalize and manage her own guilt over her own brother’s death in the previous book. She’s a character to be reckoned with and I love that though Grace and Sam are the “main” characters of this trilogy, that the secondary characters’ presence doesn’t feel diminished.
Stiefvater also creates a realistic portrayal of parent-child relationships, which I was wary about at first, since Grace’s parents are MIA in most of Shiver. Even though I’m years past being grounded or curfew, I still manage to cringe and suffer secondhand indignation from Grace’s parents actions.
Like Shiver, Linger starts off slow and has a lot of quiet, introspective moments with its characters, from Sam analyzing his new found identity as a “permanent” human to Grace’s internal grappling with her worsening medical condition. Then the last few chapters of the book slam you with action and a cliffhanger so bad you can’t help but immediately start the next book.
Overall: This book came out during the peak of the YA paranormal romance trend, and it doesn’t fail to deliver on that front, with the added bonus of Stiefvater’s writing style having a lyrical quality to it. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is one of my favorite depictions of werewolves, and manages to balance and large cast of characters well. However, rereading it made me realize I’ve outgrown some of the characters and romantic elements and found myself wishing Grace and Sam would take a more proactive role in moving the plot along (although Isabel seems to be there for that!) It’s also worth noting that the pacing of these books is pretty much 75% slow and steady and then 25% fast-paced drama.