Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: July 12 2011
My Source: Borrowed ARC

Other Books in Series:

***WARNING: Contains mild spoilers for the 1st two books in the series!***

Goodreads Summary:


When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.


That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.


Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

My Review:

I recommend you read my reviews for Shiver and Linger before this one so you know where I'm coming from. I thought Shiver was ok, but I loved Linger, and that was due to the introduction of actually interesting characters- Cole and Isabel. Not that I don't like Sam and Grace (they have an amazing romance) but I think they work better as side characters and I would be lying if I said I didn't occasionally get bored reading the sections of the book from either one of their perspective because it's the same thing over and over.

The first 100 pages were a little difficult to get through because neither of the two couples were talking to each other- either by choice or not. So it was really slow. But after I got past that part, it was unputdownable!

I love seeing how all of the characters in Mercy Falls have grown. In paticular Isabel- probably my favorite to read her sections- I was frustrated with her for a lot of the book but I was so proud of her when she finally took the stand that she needed to at the end. Sam finally overcame the fears crippling him and I was happy for him too.

There's not a whole lot I can think of saying about this book that isn't reiterated from my reviews of the first two books. If you liked the first two books, you'll like Forever as well. I'm not exactly sure about the title though. I wished the ending could've given us a better definition of what forever was for our main characters- it wasn't a cliffhanger but I would've loved an epilogue or something.

In conclusion, if you like romance and emotion and beautiful writing, read this series! Shiver is my least favorite of the three, but if you make it through that one you'll have a treat to look forward to in the final 2. Though I know there are some that disagree with me and think Shiver is better... I guess that means you'll have to read them and decide for yourself!

4.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Title: Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon
Series: None
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: March 29 2011
My Source: ARC from publisher

Goodreads Summary:

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Review:

Entwined is a re-telling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses (link to the wikipedia article here if you've never heard the original story- which I hadn't before reading this book). Knowing it was a fairy tale retelling- which is perhaps my favorite genre ever because it's filled with the 2 best things- fantasy and romance- I was so excited to get an ARC of this book.

The main character, Azalea, is the eldest of 12 sisters (all named after flowers or plants and also alphabetical to their birth order which is very clever and cute of the author). She was a fantastic main character because of the way she carried the responsibility of being the oldest unselfishly but struggled with pursuing her own desires. I could relate to Azalea and really rooted for her. Her sisters were also just as charming and 3-Dimensional- Bramble, the second eldest, was a hilarious trouble-maker, and Clover, the third eldest, who was the most beautiful but had speech issues which she worked to overcome. All the younger sisters were very cute and funny as well.

The thing that lacked in this book was a rich world building. I was never sure if we were in the real world or a fantasy land (most likely some combination of the two) and for all the political stuff this book contained it didn't explain much about the kingdom at all. I would've loved to see an in-depth world being built, but it just wasn't there. So I had trouble placing this story and figuring out what the real stakes of losing the kingdom were.

The romance was subtle, but very sweet. Rather than love-at-first-sight, it was a gradual build up that culminated at the end of the book where I couldn't stop turning the pages. I found myself rooting for all 3 of the eldest sisters to find love and squealing in delight over the fairy-tale ending that was not entirely predictable.

One thing I struggled with though was the lack of a plot for about the 1st half of the book- it took me awhile to get into it because all that was happening was the girls mourning their mother's death and hating their father. Even when the plot and conflict arose, I found it seemed very simple and uncomplicated and like the world-building, it could've been way more in depth.

The writing quality itself was relatively simple, so it wasn't hard to read but it wasn't that fantastic or lyrical either.

Overall, I enjoyed the princesses characters and their love interests the most, but I disliked the lack of depth in plot and world building. I would still recommend this book to anyone who likes fairy tale re-tellings, though I would probably recommend a few better ones first. Still, I'm glad I read it and overall I liked it.

3.5 out of 5 stars