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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater


I read the Shiver Trilogy because my nine year old daughter asked me if she could read it, and I thought it might be a bit too old for her.

I expected to like the story, as it seems fairly popular. However, I wasn't really all that impressed.

As I was reading Shiver, I kept wanting her to get on with the story. It rambles and swerves and goes off on side tangents and it just didn't work for me. At the end of the book, there is a good chance I'd have not gone onto the second if I weren't reading this for my daughter. Though, to be honest, by the end of the book I'd already decided that I would rather she wait a few years to read it.

Linger was a much better book, and I began to get more involved in the characters.  It still had slow moments, but all in all, I enjoyed Linger.

And then comes Forever. I mostly enjoyed Forever, right up until the last twenty percent or so.  It was predictable, I knew how the author was going to play it, almost exactly.  It felt like a cheap way for her to create as much drama around the final events as possible, to be honest.

But I didn't expect her to weasel out of an ending the way she did. She didn't give us a satisfactory ending. At all. She left pretty much everything up in the air, which made me wish I hadn't started the series at all.

What did I tell me daughter? I don't believe in censoring books (with exceptions, she's not reading my erotica books, but she doesn't have access to them, so she doesn't realize she's being censored). Hmmm, let me try this again: If my daughter's friends are reading a book then I have a choice of letting her read it and keeping the conversation open so I can get my two cents worth in about the sensitive bits, or censoring it and letting her friends tell her about it (and there is no telling which parts they will feel are the juicy bits), or risking that she'll borrow it from a friend and read it and then won't be able to ask me questions because she wasn't supposed to have read it. So I told her the truth -- it's not that great of a series, it moves slow, and I didn't like the way it ended at all. I told her she can read it if she wants, but that I don't really think she'll like it. I warned her that if she decides to read it, that the girl and the boy sleep together and do a lot more than just kiss, but I also assured her that it doesn't detail more than the kisses, it just lets us know they do more. She's chosen not to read it, for now.

For the other parents deciding if they want their child to read this, here are some details -- minor spoilers, but they won't spoil the basic plot.  Her parents aren't around much, they seem to be the flighty creative sort, so she's left to her own devices much of the time. The boy sleeps with her, in her bed, every night for more than a month, but nothing much happens for a long time. He is ultra careful around her, and we find out later it's because he doesn't want her to see him as an "animal", so he doesn't want to give in to those urges. They do have sex in the first book though, and then they have an argument about it the next day, where he accuses her of having sex with him just to get even with her parents. She didn't, and she is hurt by the accusation.  Throughout the series we are only told when they have sex a few times, the rest of the time their sleeping together is more about intimacy and closeness than about sexual energy. However, when they can't sleep together, they often can't sleep without the other. Protection is only mentioned when they get caught and her mother asks if they used protection and she says they did. On the good side, education and school and learning is given high marks. Both kids are responsible about where their life is heading, and responsible for taking care of their friends.  The sex and kissing isn't a huge part of it, and for the most part it shows kids who are making plans for the rest of their life, and being very responsible as they attempt to maneuver their way through the challenges thrown at them in the books.

She is seventeen and he is eighteen, so I'm not sure how they got away with allowing a minor to have sex.

As for the writing elements:
  • The plot had so much potential, but sadly wasn't really actualized.
  • Pacing was horrible.
  • Prose and dialogue were mostly okay.
  • Character development was very well done. Perhaps too much in places.
  • World-building was exceptionally well done.
  • Book Rating: Shiver: 5 of 10
  • Book Rating: Linger: 9 of 10
  • Book Rating: Forever: 6 of 10
  • Series Rating: 6 of 10
I would feel comfortable with my daughter reading this around 13 or after, I think. Before then, I will allow it, since at least two of her friends have read (or are reading) it, but I don't think it's a good book for her age. Still, my mom censoring my books didn't work, and I doubt it will work for my daughter, either. So I prefer to keep communication open, and that means allowing it and talking about it as she reads it. I am thankful she chose not to read it, though.


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