In short: Poignant, raw, filled with deep longing. Maggie Stiefvater does it again.
WARNING: Spoilers for Shiver, the first book in the series
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 Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
The first time I ever heard of the Wolves... series was at the tender age of eleven. Shiver was in my school's Scholastic books catalogue, and the moment I noticed it, I decided it had to be mine. My mother, yet again displaying her wisdom, thought otherwise, and refused to buy it for me because she thought it would be innappropriate. Days of cajoling and theorising as to who the mysterious wolf in the summary was - her father! her brother! the wolf could be female, for all we know! - finally wore her down, and thus began my journey into the world of Stiefvater.
At the time, I'm not sure what I wanted from Shiver, but with my pre-teen scorn for anything romantic, it failed to satisfy me. My mother had no idea that I'd read it - she had banned me from touching it within days of its arrival in our house. In fact, she probably still thinks I haven't. Our conversations about the series thereafter consisted only of rueful smiles and laughter. Because I really did not like Shiver. I reread it later too, hoping to find something in it that I'd missed the first time - spurred by my undying love for Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races - but nada. Zilch. But somehow, one of my friends convinced me to finish. "It's worth it, in the end," she said. "Cute."
Sceptical though I was, Linger blew me away. It managed to do everything Shiver couldn't for me. Infused with that trademark Stiefvater style, it literally called to me every time I set it down. The thing about Maggie Stiefvater is, you can hate her books but you can't deny the palpable energy in them. There is a distinctive aura to every one of her books. With Books of Faerie, it is a haunting song; with The Raven Cycle, it is a thrumming undercurrent; with The Scorpio Races, it's a pounding heartbeat. And with Wolves of Mercy Falls, it's the sharp bite of a desolate winter, drowning in longing. These are the kind of books that make you feel.
Linger carries forward what Shiver began: the story of Sam and Grace. There's a certain something about the boy who never wanted to be a wolf and the girl who always felt at home with them. Our protagonists are as raw as ever, Sam in all his mournful glory and Grace with her sense and longing. Added to this is Isabel Culpeper, what you'd call the typical broken mess, and a new wolf that could spell trouble for them all, Cole St. Clair.
Aside from the brilliant cast, the plot itself is gripping in its own quiet, Mercy Falls way. Something is happening to Grace, and perhaps the cure that gave Sam his life back isn't as final as the gang thought. I'd definitely recommend this to all fans of Stiefvater if they haven't read it yet, and for those of you who were sorely disappointed by Shiver... maybe this will be the U-turn.