Even though I adore Maggie Stiefvater's books and her unusually beautiful writing, I resisted picking up her latest, Linger, out of sheer perversity. Really, let me explain. Hands-down, Shiver had one of the loveliest endings I've read in quite some time and I just wasn't ready to watch life unravel for Sam and Grace as I knew it ultimately would. Eventually I gave in. And I'm glad I did. Maggie Stiefvater is truly an amazingly talented writer. Her words flow so easily from the pages, full of incredible imagery and sensory descriptions so strong I found myself thinking about particular scenes from Linger - in detail - days after finishing the book. I also quickly fell in love with the additional narrative voices of Isabel Culpeper and Cole, one of Beck's new wolves. Isabel was a stand-out character from Shiver and her straight-forward approach to life could not be more refreshing. Undeniably, Ms. Stiefvater is unparalleled at her craft but I did find myself bothered by a couple of aspects of the novel.
Which leads me to the list of... Things that Bothered Me in Linger:
1. Another Absurdly Talented Musician. I get it that Maggie Stiefvater herself is something of a musical genius (I am not, so I will simply bow down to her prowess) but do we really need yet another dreamy boy with a passion for all things music? And then the fact that Cole and Sam never even once discuss their shared interest in music (highly improbably in my experience with musicians) is incredibly suspect. Can we not just find another interest for our characters? Which leads me to...
2. Cole. While I love me a bad-boy rocker, I have issues with certain aspects of his character. The bad-boy part I'm totally on board with - especially the whole: I'm jaded, where's my next big high? persona. Love that. It's the tortured genius thing I don't really believe. That whole explanation seemed rushed and basically wound up as a convenient plot solution. Hopefully this is addressed more in Forever, because I really, really like Cole - I just don't think he's been fully developed yet.
3. NARKOTIKA. Can someone please explain to me why in heavens name Cole's band is called NARKOTIKA?! And WHY is it always written in caps? I feel like I should be yelling it every time I read it. (Gee, I guess I'm supposed to.)
4. Crappy Parents. Yet again. And this award doesn't just go to Grace's parental units (Hello! Can you not tell your daughter is sick here?). The Culpepers, Cole's smarty-pants family, and even Sam's adopted father, Beck, all seem to be gunning for this coveted title. I know Grace tends to envy Sam's upbringing, but Beck has always seemed a little off to me with his whole "let me bite and create more unstable werewolves" thing.
Harsh, right? I know. But it's not to say that I didn't like Linger. Really, I did. It just isn't my favorite although guaranteed I'll be tracking down Forever (which, HELLO! has a gorgeous new cover) once it's released next year to find out how it all ends for Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole.
series reading order:
~ Shiver - my review
~ Forever (July 2011)
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Presenting Lenore review
Not Enough Bookshelves review
The Compulsive Reader review
YA Highway review
book source: ARC tour