The Kindiverse Where everything's made up and the posts don't matter.

Taking Out the Trash: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I don’t like to trash books. I really don’t. Maybe because I haven’t published one myself and therefore have no street cred, or maybe because I hope to publish one and would be super sad if people hated it. But every once in a while, a book comes along that makes me ask myself, “How did this get published?” Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is one of these books.

When I came across this New York Times Bestseller (let that sink in), I was excited because a.) Young Adult Urban Fantasy is pretty cool and b.) so are werewolves. It didn’t take long for me to hate this book, and it wasn’t just because of the overuse of adverbs throughout.

Grace is the novel version of Emily, a.k.a. Egg, from Arrested Development. She is the epitome of uninteresting – even her own parents aren’t interested in her. Luckily, only some of the book is told from her perspective. Oh, no, wait – not luckily because Sam is even worse.

homophobic-seal-300x300

Sam the werewolf – Sam the guy who is doing to werewolves what Edward did to vampires – is every stereotype any uninteresting twelve-year old girl would come up with for her fantasy boyfriend rolled up into one. He has a lot of unbelievable, unrealistic qualities (I don’t know any heterosexual males who can tell me what a camisole is), but what made me close the book and almost walk away before I hit the hundredth page is his tick of writing lyrics in his head any time anything happens. I could’ve let this cheeseballishness slide if said lyrics were any good or at least mediocre, but they’re complete, cringe-inducing crap just like everything else in this book.

I can’t really say there are two distinct voices because both viewpoints are told in the same Ben Stein-esque monotone in my head. If each chapter wasn’t labeled with its designated POV, the only tell-tale signals would be Sam’s crappy lyrics and Grace’s “wahhh my parents let me do whatever I want and I hate that because they shouldn’t have their own lives.” There’s also no strong plot that I could figure out until the last forty or so pages of the book, and even then I wouldn’t call it compelling. There are, like, two or three problems the cast of characters has to deal with, and none are convincing as things the reader should invest their emotions in.

At one point, there’s a scene where Egg and Samantha and the popular rich girl from Egg’s school, who at the time is nothing more than an uncomfortable acquaintance to Egg, all make quiche together for no clear reason. For five pages. Then there’s a whole chapter where the author tries to convince us that her protags are the bestest couple the literary world has ever seen by having a complete stranger ooh and ahh over their Super Apparent Cuteness and Perfection.

Maybe what should be the biggest problem with this book is the lack of credible fantasy rules concerning the werewolves. A discussion following the Quiche Scene points out all the holes in Stiefvater’s set of non-rules for her wolves, and these holes never get filled. They’re left as flawed and contradicting for the remainder of the “story.”

Reading Shiver made me rethink my opinion of Beautiful Creatures, which I wasn’t crazy about. By page 300, I couldn’t care less what happened to Lena or Ethan, but that was because they bored me with their repetitive conversations and long stretches of who-gives-a-shit non-activity. However, Ethan’s voice was totally believable. S.E. Hinton is still the most convincing woman writing a man’s POV, but Ethan never felt like less than a real guy. It was the great writing that got me through Beautiful Creatures‘ less than great story without ever feeling like I was being tortured.

Shiver has no such redeeming qualities. Remember what I said at the top about adverbs? Count all the adverbs in this post and double that number. That’s how many adverbs, on average, are on each page in Shiver.

Don’t read this book unless you hate yourself and think you deserve to be in pain. Or if you’re just way too smart and need a way to dumb yourself down.

One Thought on “Taking Out the Trash: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Pingback: jesse

Post Navigation