Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: Linger

Greetings, blogsphere! How are you this afternoon? Well, I hope!

So on Tuesday I said that I'd been thinking about doing a Linger review, and here I am doing it. WARNING: I am going to try and keep this as unspoilery as possible, but nevertheless, if you have not yet read the book, read this at your own risk.


I was a little worried about it initially, because I was afraid it would fall into the "second book syndrome" category. You know, where everything seems really forced and it's just so that the author can get on to the really good stuff in the third book. This syndrome is probably best illustrated not in book form, but in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

But Maggie Stiefvater is a brilliant writer, and even though Shiver is a beautiful book with a perfect ending, this picks up and continues brilliantly. It's like a look into what happens during the "happily ever after" in fairy tales - and in this case, it's not so happy. I did think it was a little bit "lead in to the third book"-ish, but not terribly so, and it was not at all annoying. I thought the conflict was clever and believable after what had happened in the first book, and I like how at the beginning, it is clearly stated that "it's never over," which I thought set the tone very well, as the events of Shiver seemed finished but clearly were not.

So, enough about Linger conquering second book syndrome, onto the book itself.

Have I mentioned that I love Grace and Sam? Well, I love Grace and Sam. So, so much. Not only are they both brilliantly characterized (some nice quirks I saw for them this time around were Sam's love of healthy tea and paper cranes, and Grace's desire for a red coffee pot), they fit so well together it is insane. THIS should be the model on which rabid fangirls base their relationships, not on certain sparkly vampires and empty-headed girls. I love the way their relationship carried on after the events of Shiver; it was very natural and believable.

Grace's parents play a much larger role in Linger than they did in Shiver, and I think that their attitude to what is happening makes sense, given their characters. I can't say more about that without giving anything away, so I will move on to the one and only thing that sort of set me on edge while reading this book.

That thing is Cole. He's a new character introduced at the end of Shiver, one of the new wolves brought in by Beck to help strengthen the pack. He is cocky, uncooperative to the nth degree, and suicidal. And, to my mind, he exists in the novel for two reasons only: one is to provide scientific know-how to fuel the plot, and the other is to be the perfect foil for Sam.

The first point irritates me slightly more than the second, because he spends the whole book insisting that he is nothing like his scientist father, and yet it is knowledge from his scientist father that is what counts. Not his own knowledge, and I didn't feel like spouting stuff from Dad made much sense for his character, but it needed to be there in order for the end of the book to happen.

The second point makes sense, really. In the absence of Beck, Sam is in charge of the pack, so Cole certainly challenges his authority. The two characters are really mirror images of each other - they're both even musicians. And Cole's "relationship" with Isabel is the perfect counterpoint to Sam's relationship with Grace, which means a lot in the context of some of the things Grace's mom says about Sam. But while this is really interesting from, say, an English-class-style viewpoint, it didn't really make me care much about his character, and there were several times where I was itching to get back to Grace or Sam's pov, because, have I mentioned I love them?

But, such is the hazard of a multiple pov book - everybody always picks favorites. I know that'll be something I will have to face if Letters to Oliver is ever published *fingers crossed.*

All in all, I thought this was a wonderful book. I raced through it in under four hours (some of that was standing in the bookstore while my mom browsed), and as soon as I finish my stack of library books I want to read it again. Out of five, I think I'd give it 4.5 stars - I still think I liked Shiver better, but it was an excellent book and I loved every second of those four hours I spent reading it.

EDIT: I just discovered that Linger debuted as NUMBER ONE on the NY Times Bestseller List. Congratulations, Maggie, it's a fantastic book and you deserve it!

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Sidenote: I have 50 followers now, hurrah!!

Would you guys like to see more book reviews? I have just finished The Sky is Everywhere and I've been thinking about reviewing that as well. I also have Thirteenth Child and I Am the Messenger on my to be read pile. What thinkest thou, blogsphere?

7 comments:

  1. This is on my list. Very nice review!!

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  2. Congrats on 50! I'll be #51!
    I'm always afraid of second book syndrome too, so I'm glad to hear Linger didn't catch the bug, haha.
    Glad to see Grace's parents are around more. They were so MIA in Shiver!
    Great review- I can't wait to read it now!
    Kerleisha @ Collegiate Bookworm

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  3. This was an excellent review! Thanks for taking the time to write this in detail. I'm still waiting for the book to arrive and you've further wet my appetite.

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  4. You are a fabulous reviewer and I'd love to see more. Also force me to read more often so I can learn to review like you!

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  5. Amna: YES. YOU. MUST.

    Angie: Thanks!

    Collegiate Bookworm: Yes, second book syndrome is pretty irritating. This one's really good at conquering that, though!

    LM Preston: I hope your copy arrives soon!

    Race: Aw, thank you! I shall review The Sky is Everywhere next week, then. :)

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  6. I want to read this book so badly it hurts. OWWW MY BRAIIIN. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that it's good. I was nervous about it. I'm still waiting for it to come to the library for me. *sigh*

    I frikkin love Maggie Stiefvater! Her writing and her characters are fabulous. I loved Shiver and also her Books of Faerie. I'm so excited that Linger debuted at #1! I cannot wait to read it. OMGOMGOMG. *calms down* Okay. Anyway, point is ... great review! I'm even more psyched to read it now!!! :)

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