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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2010
What can I say? I have waited for this book for SO LONG (the worst part of the fangirl job-description), and it made its way across the Atlantic for me, and I've read it and I love it and I have no idea how to a) start this review, or b) write it without spoiling it for everybody. For everyone who is waiting for this book, and everyone who loved Shiver, and everyone who loves Sam and Grace, and everyone who was so ready to cry their eyes out at the end of the previous book - you won't be disappointed. You really really won't.

After Shiver, I admit I was a little bit doubtful about where else this story would or could go, how it wouldn't be repeat of it but in reverse - I had faith in Maggie (even though I thought Lament was a little shaky), but judging from Shiver, I couldn't see where this was set up to go. In fact, it was a while before Maggie revealed it HAD a sequel (and the SEQUEL had a sequel).

Linger takes a step up from Shiver and really works its momentum, introducing two new first-person narrative voices in addition to Grace and Sam. We've already met prickly and spunky Isabel, and now we meet Cole, a new wolf - and a complicated jerk - creating an ambitious four-way narrative.

Can I take a moment to do some Isabel-fangirling? How awesome is she? The girl's a...not a nice person, but totally honest with it...and actually, it turns out she's not such a...not-nice person after all, but she would rather have you think that she is. Grace's history gives her character depth and complexity, but with Isabel, it's her personality. It was skilful contrast at its best, and the reason why you could laugh your way through so much of it.

Grace: What are you feeding them?
Isabel: Babies.

This. This is why I really like Isabel. I like tough girls in fiction: the ones that give no quarter but secretly have hearts in places where they hope nobody will ever discover them. I noticed several times how the description of her expressions were telling you...she looked `inadvertently cruel', she had a smile that `always looked like a smirk', her `sheer insensitivity'. In some ways you feel like she has all the appearance of a, er, not-nice person without any real evidence that she actually is one.

You know what? I want to be FRIENDS with Isabel, the girl makes me laugh like a chimney-sweep on drugs. BE MY FRIEND, ISABEL.

You know what else? Even though it was all of the things Shiver was - lyrical and quiet and a necklace of moments - it was also really funny. I laughed to myself a LOT (on the bus, as usual), even at the most serious parts - Isabel's a magic ingredient. And this is another thing that was just great about Linger. A writer with less intuition would hamstring themselves by taking it all too seriously - boys who turn into wolves, wolves who turn into boys, girls who love them...it can all get very angsty very quickly - or it can go Twilight - but it doesn't.

It's not that it's `real' or realistic - I mean, hello, it's about werewolves, and werewolves somewhat lack ecological validity - but what is at the core of it is its honesty. The characters are far from perfect - they might be self-involved jerks, but they are unflinchingly honest with it. This is why you can love them - they never pretend to be anything else, not in their own heads. And that's true for every one of the main characters - their narratives burn with it. You can love them because you can be them.

In other books, first-person narratives often suffer a loss of quality because...I think the best way I can describe it is to go a little academic and talk about something called `social desirability distortion', which is jargonese for when people make themselves appear how they think they ought to be, rather than how they truly are. Writers are serial perpetrators where this is concerned; with or without realising it, characters are idealised and `tidied up' - even their flaws and inconsistencies.

Live a little or live a lot, you know the things you do, say or think aren't always consonant with each other: consistency is a goal and a work in progress, it rarely truly exists in a person as completely as a lot of books would have you believe. So much depends not only on the person you are, but on the situation, the different internal pressures that might make you react in different ways to the same situation - there are so many variables, so many things, that even your inconsistencies must lack consistency, and `the person you are' is as much a sum of your contradictions as anything else.

These four - Sam, Grace, Isabel and Cole - they are so different, and yet in all their differences, they remain steadfastly honest characters, and so earnestly human. And at its heart, I feel like this is what this whole story comes down to: not just staying human, but *being* human - even when you don't want to be, even if it kills you.

On finishing this book...I feel very tired and very sad, and about a hundred years old. I wonder if anyone will be able to read this without it sharpening any pain or grief or loss they might have felt in their own lives. Linger is like a song, aching and wistful and beautiful. It happened that I was finishing the book off to the soundtrack of someone playing `Memory` from Andrew Lloyd Webber's `Cats' on their piano, and it's become woven into my memory of it, its theme.

And you know what? It's perfect.

---
This review was originally written for therockpool (dot) wordpress (dot) com. If you liked it, head over and enjoy it with all its links and footnotes. Because footnotes are awesome.
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on 18 April 2013
When I saw that Shiver was being made into a film I decided I had to read the trilogy. I really enjoyed Shiver. I really liked the characters, Sam and Grace.

However, I must say I loved the characters in Linger even more. There was something about Cole that I just loved. Also, it was great to see Isabel in a more friendly way. I love how we still get a bit of story about Sam and Grace, but there's other things going on in this book with Cole and Isabel.

I'm really enjoying this series and would definitely recommend. I'm just about to start reading Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls) which is the last book in the trilogy.

I'm really glad I've read this and can't wait to see what new gripping story the author has wrote for us! She really has a way of making you want to keep reading. I think I may read her other books.

I give this 8 out of 10!
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on 31 January 2013
What's Good About It

Well, you've already had me ranting about how great Shiver was. I won't bore you with the same spiel.

What was different about Linger? Well, it introduced two new viewpoints. We now not only hear from Sam and Grace, but from Cole and Isabel as well. Having Cole, this completely new character, thrown straight into the mix is a bit disorienting at first, but as ever, Maggie Stiefvater writes her different viewpoints so well. Despite the fact that he's not a terribly sympathetic character initially, you can't help but be sucked into his view of the world.

The werewolf mythology is developed even further, with new twists and turns on the temperature shifting thing. These developments were essential to keeping the story fresh, otherwise this would have been a stale rehash of Shiver. As it is, Stiefvater strikes the perfect balance between giving her readers more of the Sam/Grace relationship we've come to love, while injecting enough new and exciting to sustain the novel over its 416 pages, and the next 400 odd in the final installment.

Second books in trilogies often suffer simply for being the second book. There's no real sense of threat, because we know there has to be a third book. But Linger manages to avoid this. I think having the Isabel and Cole perspective introduced left it feeling like a new book, set in the same world, rather than a direct continuation. And by the end, the climactic scenes were so intense it was hard to believe everyone was going to make it to Forever.

Brilliant characters, tense narrative, and the wonderful balance between real life issues and the paranormal - Linger is every bit as good as Shiver, if not better. I now will be wishing my life away for this time next year to arrive so I can lay my hands on Forever.

What's Not So Good

Maggie Stiefvater's name is very hard to spell. I am a spelling moron.

Rating: 5/5
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on 22 August 2011
Freed of his wolf skin Sam and Grace finally have a chance at a future together, if they can overcome the obstacles in their present. Sam has been left with the responsibility of not only caring for the pack as a whole, but mentoring the new wolves Beck brought back to Mercy Falls. Grace struggling to deal with her parents suddenly taking a parental role and their new dislike of Sam. But neither realises that Grace is slowly slipping away...

This is the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (the first being Shiver and the last Forever). I loved the first and couldn't wait to read this and it pretty much met my expectations. Shiver told the story of how Grace and Sam fell in love, and this continues that story on showing their relationship. Unlike the first book, however, this is less intimate introducing a wider cast and taking the focus wider.

The first sentence sets up the entire novel 'this is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one' so tension is introduced from the beginning as once more Sam and Grace's relationship comes with an expiry date. The story is well told but has a feeling of inevitability which carries through, and without the influence of the other characters (like Cole and Isabel) it wouldn't have been as enjoyable to read.

One of the most interesting parts is the new wolf Cole. I love his back story and it was great to see what could motivate someone to choose the werewolf way of life. It was also great how he brought a new perspective to the scientific aspect of being a werewolf and I can't wait to see how his theories carry on.

All in all this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Forever.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 46/50
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on 30 August 2012
Although the plot is predictable right from the beginning, the addition of new characters, and therefore more points of view, makes it really interesting and brings a new romance into the scene.

Cole and Isobel are soul searching and the book explores how different people react to fear, pain and grief: denial, silence, self-destruction, distractions and running are all aimed at numbing the pain. Very interesting and it left the ball on the other side of the court, so I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.

Stiefvater's easy flow makes it irresistible.
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on 15 April 2014
I will admit that I didn't read the first book in the series, but actually it probably would not have changed my opinion on this one.

As it was a busy time at work, I decided that I would be able to listen to this rather than be slower and read a copy, so I borrowed my copy from the local library. Was the difference between listening and reading any different?

Not really. In point of fact the narration was very good, and it didn't detract from the reading experience.

Towards the end I did find that the teenage angst in the plot began to grate a little, however it was a reasonable offering of Young Adult fiction.

I also should comment on the weird German quote at the beginning - I couldn't see the point of it, and didn't feel it added to the tone of the book at all.

I will give the third book in the Mercy Falls series a go, just to see how it all pans out.
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on 29 October 2010
Well, as I read this series later than they were published, I had the fortune of reading them back-to-back. I'm not sure this was the best way to really enjoy the books.

After finishing 'Shiver' I couldn't wait to see how Sam and Grace's relationship would progress, but whilst reading 'Linger' I was kept waiting for those moments until I realised they weren't going to appear! Linger takes us on a whole different journey away from the main charachters of Shiver with the addition of Cole and further insight into Isabel. To be honest, I speed read most of the book as I just wanted to find if I was right about what would happen - I was - and so probably missed a lot of the detail and plot development that makes the book better for others.

Maybe I am a little too old to be reading teen fiction (mid 20s) and that's why I lost interest. I will read 'Forever' when it comes out though just to complete the trilogy. To refer back to my initial point, I do believe the book would have been more enjoyable had I had to wait through the suspense for the publication of 'Linger'.
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on 19 February 2013
Linger is the 2nd book in the trilogy and sometimes, 2nd books can be a bit too narrative but this was just right. All the characters were developed perfectly and I really warmed to the main characters a lot more. A really good read!
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on 16 November 2015
"This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf, and a girl who became one."

Honestly, Sam and Grace made me sad in this book :(

I loved that Maggie added Cole to the story. He's such an intriguing, messed up, self depreciating character. A suicidal boy who wants to escape his life my turning into a wolf and completely losing himself, which honestly is just another form of suicide. I love tortured souls. I can't wait to read more about him in the next book and about his relationship with Isabel (who I really started liking in this book). They're just so sassy
Also, let me just say that while I was reading this I kept imagining Cole has Cody Christian. Maybe because he's also a werewolf in Teen Wolf.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book (like in shiver) was Sam's songs. They're so beautiful. I really like Sam. He's such a sweetheart and so awkward and shy sometimes. He's also a tortured soul. I really do have a thing for those.
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on 8 December 2012
This is aimed at the younger adult but was recommended to me by someone older , I enjoyed as something quite different from my usual book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a different type of story.
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