“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.”
Thoughts: Maggie Stiefvater is a master at building anticipation and leaving a reader breathless for more while assuaging a reader’s need for closure. At the end of Linger, Sam and Grace’s story is by no means finished, making it easy for a reader to dive for the next book immediately upon finishing this one. Yet, certain aspects of the story end satisfactorily, thereby diminishing a reader’s impatience and annoyance. While the two might sound counter intuitive, Ms. Stiefvater perfectly balances that line between teasing and spoiling the story.
Linger not just breaks the bad sequel phenomenon, it completely blows apart the idea of a rocky or slow sequel. In truth, Linger is simply better than Shiver. The niggling issues that bothered readers in the first book are either directly addressed this time around or explained in such a way that they make complete sense now. For example, the lack of parental involvement in Shiver was bothersome but becomes a major issue in Linger, thereby solidifying the story and building even more tension between Grace, Sam, and her parents. Similarly, there is a lightness between Grace and Sam that did not exist in the first novel either but which also creates a stronger bond between all of the characters and the reader.
What really gives Linger its strength however is the addition of Cole. Not as emotional or introspective as either Sam or Grace, he adds an air of lightheartedness among all the drama, even though his past is just as tragic as Sam’s. In fact, his growth as a person and as a werewolf make for some of the more intriguing passages within the entire story. All of the characters in Mercy Falls are damaged in some form, but Cole’s story is the most human.
In Linger, the teenage angst that surrounds Grace and Sam in the first novel dissipates as they finally begin to come into their own. They face the consequences of their actions with adult aplomb, and for the first time, readers get a glimpse of their future as it might be. More importantly, Linger crosses over from a typical YA paranormal romance/coming-of-age story and moves into more adult fare with a supernatural bent. With a storyline that only gets stronger as the series progresses, the series finale stands to be spectacular.
Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.