Wednesday, June 23, 2010

War of the Book (1) - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For today's post, we thought we would do something different. Elyssa came up with the idea to have a book war. As I am all for fighting whenever possible, I jumped up at the prospect of a book war. We of course had to choose a book that we had differing opinions on otherwise the fight would be pointless.

So, how this will go is I will post Elyssa's review of the book. Then following that will be my (Jen's) review of the book. After, everyone will comment on which one they believe the most or feel should win and why. That way Elyssa and me can post our rebuttals (comebacks).

I hope everyone is as excited for this as we are, we've been working on our reviews for sometime trying to spice them up for the kill. We've pulled out all our verb weaponry and our artillery of expressions to bring to you a battle of epic proportions.

Please reply with all the comments you would like concerning our banter (just make sure it's clean and no profanity please). We cannot wait to find which one of us have conquered the book war and become the champion!
--Jen the Bibliophile

Title: Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page: 392
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction, Coming of Age

First Line: I remembered lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves.


(UK Cover) Elyssa's Review

Review: I read this tale spun by Maggie Stiefvater back in January. I remember being so excited to see what this book was about and then being fairly disappointed. *Sigh*

I hate to do this, I really do because I don't ever go into a book expecting it to be like another. To me that isn't right. I even know that the draft for Shiver was written before Twilight was published but I cannot look past the bad similarities. We have a boring dull girl, who cooks for her parents, and is on the line of obsessive with the hard to imagine supernatural boyfriend. Now that I got that off my chest lets continue onward.

Grace is supposed to be the main character, ah, can we order her a bit of a personality? Please. Flat personality is just not entertaining. She was saved by a wolf when others wolves were trying to make a meal out of her. She is now in love with her beloved hero wolf, weird. Can anyone say bestiality? Now on top of that "her" wolf just happens to become human who just happens to love her too. What is that? Their conversations that were not about weather felt forced. It just was not very believable. Yes, it is fantasy but I would still like my story to have a touch authentic possibility.

Now that I established that the relationship between Grace & Sam is less then convincing lets talk about Grace's parents. Apparently they have such a culturally artistic rich life that they do not really bother themselves with their daughter who is in love with a wolf. Speaking of said wolf that turns into boy... How do they not notice that he is sleeping in their daughters room? I can believe in an artsy couple in NYC, LA, and even Chicago but not in some small Hickville Town, MINN.

As much as I don't care for the storyline I do like that the chapters 1st person narration alternates between the main characters. Or at least I should say if Grace and Sam had different personalities. I found myself flipping to the beginning of the chapter to see who's brain I was in. Sometimes while reading a book I sit back and wonder what the other character is thinking or feeling just not with this book.

The most amazing aspect of this book was the ink. Yes. The ink. I loved that the ink was blue. To me it was the only demeanor of the book that I found unique. Even the cover to me seemed so similar to other books, for example: Her Fearful Symmetry.

Quite frankly, this book did not make me "Shiver" in a good way. This is a book I would not tell you to read. I would not want you to waste your time on a book with such huge plot holes and horrible prose.


"What do you eat?"
"Baby bunnies." She narrowed her eyes, so I grinned and said, "Adult bunnies, too. I'm an equal-opportunity bunny-eater."

"Books are more real when you read them outside."

"I'd found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold."

"Of all my pet peeves, condescending adults were probably at the top of the list."

Rating: 2 Kisses PhotobucketPhotobucket


(US Cover) Jen's Review:

Before you read this review, you have to understand something about me. My favorite genre is YA, specifically paranormal fantasy. The problem with this is that a lot of the books in that particular genre tend to be along the same lines, just with different characters. So, that being said, I'm always on the lookout for different books with stories I haven't heard before. Something different, something new, although that is not to say I will not read it. It just depends...

I remember skimming the synopsis for Shiver and seeing the word "wolf" and moving on to the next book.

Big Mistake.

I'm very glad I went back and re-read the synopsis when my book group read came out. This book turned out to be something different and something new (it also turned out to be something borrowed (library book) and something blue *winks right eye* the cover and the ink inside are blue!).

That evening after checking it out, I'd squished myself in between the ironing board and the door to the closet with a pillow between me and the wall. It was about 10:00 p.m. when I was finally able to start. I made it halfway through the 392 page book before I had to give into the evil sleep monster.

I finished it two days later, which was when I decided on 3 things:

1. This definitely makes my Top 10 best books I've ever read
2. Maggie Stiefvater is now one of my Top 5 favorite authors

3. I must now go out and buy a copy for my closet library (which I did this last Monday)

Stiefveter tells the story from a double first person narrative, alternating between the 2 main characters points of view. This, I think, above all else helps the beautiful development of Grace & Sams' characters.

Grace: Strong, Independent, Smart...thoughtful
Sam: Sweet, Intellectual, Loving, Sensitive...wolfy :P

It was a nice change to meet a younger female character who wasn't always questioning herself and whining about… well, everything. Sam though, he was a breath of fresh air. He was so... aware... caring, sweet, and even though it sounds contradictory, unaware of his wonderfulness. He was sensitive without the skinny jean look and still a nice slab of muscled 18 year old man.

I loved the unique story line of boy turned wolf in wintry cold and wolf turned boy in warm summery goodness. Of a girl that cannot understand why she is drawn to the woods outside her house and the wolves who live in them. Of a young wolf who saves a young girl and when they are all grown how she must try to save him. I loved the authors tone, her words. How she could make me feel like I was sitting there with Sam and Grace, feeling everything they were feeling. It was so beautiful, so eloquent, so real.

I cried.

Yes, her parents were – out of control – weird. Like the fact that they didn’t know there was a wolf-boy staying in their house. Turns out those actual characters with the working all the time father married to the painting all day mother who party most nights was based upon an actual couple Steifvater knew (and she is from a small town in Virginia). Proving you can find crazy no matter where you look.

Despite parents like those, Grace was strong. She could take care of herself. It was a nice flip from the whiny female characters of today who wait for the man/boy to rescue them. I loved her strength and stoicism throughout the book and how it lent to the mood in the novel. I loved the slow pacing of the poetic prose and how it facilitated the development of my feelings for all things Shiver.

Shiver was creative and alluring, pulling me into the plot making me never want to let go.

I will in fact be putting this book on my to re-read list. If you haven't read it...



"Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window. A hundred little pieces of different color and mood that, when combined, create a complete picture."

"Sam: I didn't think I belonged here in her world, a boy stuck between two lives, dragging the dangers of the wolves with me, but when she said my name, waiting for me to follow, I knew I'd do anything to stay with her."

"right in this moment, I can´t even remember what unhappy feels like."

"Tuesdays were my favorite day. I don't remember why-it was just something about the way that u looked like when it was next to e that seemed very friendly."

"There was no sun; there was no light. I was dying. I couldn't remember what the sky looked like. But I didn't die. I was lost to a sea of cold, and then I was reborn into a world of warmth."

5 out of 5 Kisses PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Jen & Shiver
--Jen the Bibliophile (Broadcasting from my closet)


Anonymous said...

great review Jen, but I must agree with Elyssa... Im going to give LINGER a shot but I dont have high expectations...

JEN - 0

Im sorry

Anonymous said...

oh, and next book war...Im in

Zakiya the Booknerd said...

Okay so first of all, both of you have some really good reviews. :D

Now, onwards:

Jen, to me it took a few minutes to really get into the review. You were sort of putting parentheses everywhere and it slowed the flow of the review down. I love how you used a bigger vocabulary *applause*; if I have to look up words from your review, you know you used some great words. Overall I enjoyed reading this review.

Elyssa, you went right into the review, which is something I liked. I really liked the way you expressed your "hate," so to speak, for this book. You told everything that you didn't approve of and what you thought could have been a little better. Your writing was really fast-paced; you were just sort of jumping from topic to topic. You, like Jen, did use a higher vocabulary, but just not as many. I also enjoyed your overall review.

To be honest, I think that Jen's was the better review. Like Leonor, I will read this book, but I will restrain from having high expectations until I'm done with it. That way, there is no room for disappointment - hopefully.

JEN - 1

Zakiya the Booknerd said...

I'm with Leo. I want to be in a book war. Maybe we should go head-to-head, PD (paperdoll)!

Anonymous said...

yeah, thatd be good Z!*evil laugh* we shall be on the biggest book war ever

Zakiya the Booknerd said...

LOL! Def. Now we just need to figure out a book to war on, but we'll need to have different opinions or there's no point.

Kate said...

Okay so I skipped over everyone elses comments so I feel mine are my own and not copied.

First off I loved both reviews. I think they were both really good and got me thinking about the book. I have to agree with Eylssa though. I read about 150 pages in the book then put it down. Eylssa seemed to have lots of what I thought about the book in her review, mainly the characters needed personality. I was however pleasntly surprised with Jen's review. It gave me some new things to think about. I own the book and I'm going to try to read it again sometime this summer. I liked both reviews a lot but I have to give a point to Eylssa since our opinions seem to be very similar.

Oh, and I really liked that you both put something about the blue writing. I just noticed it a while ago and I love it!

Kate said...

I should probably keep up with the scoring so....

Hawk said...

Sweet. I love Jen's review and ofcourse, my own. It has to be like pulling teeth with this voting thing.

Z are you telling me I need more big words? LOL! I agree. I'm so used to technical scientific writing that I have to open up more. :) Truth is great!

Zakiya the Booknerd said...

No problem, Elyssa. And yes, big words, but not some foreign, gargantuan word.

It is like pulling teeth. I was trying to be fair, while trying to say exactly what I thought at the same time. Pulling teeth is probably easier. :)

Anonymous said...

hehe big words rule

Jen the bibliophile said...

LOL! You guys all rock. I have a very high affection for big words. I love the thesaurus!

Zakiya the Booknerd said...

Hehe; I love the thesaurus as well, Jen. :)

And Leonor: Yes, big words are the bomb diggity!! :D

Anonymous said...

let me rectify:

big words rule and thesaurus...uh...rules

Zakiya the Booknerd said...


Ang said...

Well I liked both the reviews. I agree with some points in each of them. The writing in Elyssa I thought flowed a little bit better BUT
I agree with Jens opinion so I think I shall have to give the point to her

Elyssa - 2
Jen - 2

Anonymous said...

aww its a tie

Hawk said...

Yup. Stalemate. Hmm... I just we will have to bring on the next book war. I want to see a slaughter. :0

Hawk said...

Just is supposed to be guess. I think I started to type a different thought and went with a new one. Come on brain and fingers, let's all work together and get along.

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