The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

Read by Natalie 2010-2011

Natalie recommends these as very beautiful & very romantic

ShiverBook Cover of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy, although another YA story is a lot more enjoyable than many of the others. The writing is beautiful, the story is very romantic and it is nice to see a female lead that doesn't instantly become submissive and pathetic as soon as she gets her guy. The first book Shiver introduces us to Grace and Sam. Grace has been obsessed by the wolves in the woods ever since she was taken and attacked by them as a little girl. She particularly remembers the one with the yellow eyes who saved her from being eaten. Now 15 years later, she meets a boy with the same yellow eyes who takes her breath away. Sam has always looked out for Grace, either as a wolf or a boy and when circumstances finally allow them to meet they are instantly drawn to each other. When Grace learns the truth about what Sam is, it then becomes a race to keep him in her world. Fighting the winter cold that forces Sam to shift and the knowledge that this would be his last year as a human, they are both desperate to stay together, going to great lengths to do so. As a possible cure is discovered, aided by the circumstances surrounding Graceís survival of her wolf bite years ago, they risk everything to keep Sam human. This book is both funny and sad, and so very, very romantic. The scene in the candy store will have you swooning. Maggie's writing is very lyrical and descriptive and you can almost feel the cold and taste the flavours she describes. Told from both Grace and Sam's point of view, she does an excellent job of distinguishing her characters from each other. The ending, when you discover if the cure has worked is just perfect and it was hard to see where the second book would take us.

LingerBook Cover of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Although I was eager to read Linger I was afraid of how the story would unfold, now that Sam has found a way to stay human and stay with Grace. The second book is this time told from 4 perspectives. We still have Sam and Grace, but now also Isabel, who lost her brother Jack when trying to cure him the same way they did Sam, and Cole, a new wolf who chose this life to escape his previous one. Now, Sam and Grace are trying desperately to stay together and afloat, he has to adjust to life as a human again and trust that he is here to stay, while Grace is fighting with her parents who have suddenly decided to play a part in her life and want to remove Sam from it. Along the way, Grace is becoming increasingly sick and no one knows why or seems willing to talk about it. In the meantime, Cole is determined to just stay a wolf and escape his life, while Isabel is trying to work out how to live hers now her brother is gone. These two collide and try to outdo each other's damage, all the while recognising themselves in each other. This book is different to the first and although I liked Cole and Isabel's stories, I really wished we had more of Sam and Grace, they are such a beautiful couple. It is still very romantic, but this time it is also very, very sad and I couldnít help but feel a little frustrated at the lack of communication, the idea that if they didnít discuss what was happening to Grace, then it would simply disappear. The ending however, when they finally realise what they have to do is very sad, for Grace but especially for Sam.

ForeverBook Cover of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever, the third and final book begins several months after Linger. Grace is now lost to the winter and the woods in wolf form having been forced to shift after the toxins from 15 years ago finally built up and Sam is stuck back in Mercy Falls as a human. As the town questions Graceís disappearance with most of the attention and accusation focused on Sam, he counts down the days to spring when he hopes she will walk out of the woods again. When she finally starts to shift back, it is a race for Sam to get to her before he loses her again, the instability of her first shifts causing them both heartache as they try desperately to get back to each other. After another girl is killed by the wolves however, the hatred of the wolf pack, led by Isabelís father Tom intensifies and an aerial hunt, designed to eradicate all the wolves at once is set in motion. As Sam finally gets Grace back, close to death after an attack by another wolf, he brings her to his house, determined to keep her safe. As Graces struggles with the pain and uncertainty of shifting back and forth, Sam struggles with what is happening with Grace. While he has survived his cure, Jack (Isabelís brother) did not, making it a risk to try the same thing with Grace. In the meantime, Cole and Isabel continue to dance around each other. Isabel consumed by anger and loneliness, Cole finally finding something to keep him going Ė finding the cure for the wolves. Grace and Sam, although desperately in love and wanting to be together, are nervous and cautious, neither of them sure of how the other is feeling, afraid that too much has changed between them Ė Sam now human, Grace now wolf. When finally they realise that everything between them is the same, stronger even, they rediscover each other and set out to save the wolf pack and themselves. In doing so, Sam finally confronts his demons and fears, the ones he has carried with him since he was a child and Grace finally confronts her friends and more importantly her parents. With help from an unlikely source, they are able to rescue the pack (although not without casualties) and each other.

Then there is The Ending. Itís one of those endings that you will either love or you will hate. Having read it a couple of times now and even read other peoples and the authorís thoughts on it Ė I would say I am part of the former. It isnít a cliff hanger, but it isnít a tidy resolution either. But if you read and remember everything on the journey, the science of the wolves, the way Grace and Sam feel about each other, I think itís obvious what the ending will be, it just isnít spelt out for you in the way that some people like. In my mind, I know how it ends and I am very happy with it. The books are all slow, melodic stories that are incredibly beautiful and romantic. The love between Grace and Sam is very moving and you never once doubt how they feel about each other, any uncertainty is a product of their circumstances. Cole and Isabel on the other hand smash into each other constantly. They are perfect for each other but they both have too much baggage at this point in their lives, and the cryptic authorís note at the end suggests this may not be the ending you think it is. Yes we are leaving Mercy Falls for unchartered territory, but are we leaving these characters behind? I hope not. Shiver, without a doubt remains my favourite of the books, probably because the urgency and actions of Grace and Sam trying to stay together was so raw and so real, while in Linger and Forever they both suffered with their indecisions and uncertainty. However, the trilogy overall is very good and is definitely worth reading in one go, because there is so much more to this story than the love between Grace and Sam and the wolves (the history of the wolves, the reason for Sam, Beck and the pack, Sam and Graceís parents, Cole, Isabel, Shelby). Having read them over the 2-3 years they have been released, I feel like itís been too long between instalments and look forward to going back and reading them all again.

Beautiful, moving and so very romantic, these are not your typical YA supernatural romance (no love triangleÖ..yeay!) and I (a definite non-YA) absolutely adored them. For more, check out Maggie's website.

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