For What It's Worth

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater


18406862A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

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Source: ARC provided by Scholastic Press at BEA

Review:I’ve been wanting to read something by Maggie Stiefvater for a long time. I almost started the The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver trilogy) series  so many times but then everyone keeps giving me conflicting thoughts. The consensus is to read Shiver (book #1) and stop. But I’m not good at stopping – I need to know what happens so I’ve just avoided it all together.

Then I saw Sinner at BEA – a stand alone companion novel based on the Shiver trilogy. I’ve also heard a lot of great things about Cole and Isabel so I took a chance and grabbed a copy.

So now I get it. All the waxing poetic about Maggie’s writing. To be honest, she had me at the letter she wrote to readers before the story ever started.

“As I wrote the hot-cold relationship of two people who took turns being the sinner and the sin, I puzzled out how a place like L.A. could both destroy a person and build them into something impossible and new.”

The writing is so…so…I don’t know – the words reach in and grab you and force your full attention to their meaning. I would be reading a sentence and just stop, like it slapped me in the face. I could feel the words. Not a great description, I know, but that’s the only way I can describe how I felt reading this. 

“Here was the thing: I was in love with Cole.
Or had been. Or was going to be. I couldn’t tell the difference.” pg. 21

Cole and Isabel were such fascinating characters. They’re really f*cked up. Aggressive yet scared – they love with everything they have yet consistently throw up walls. L.A. was the perfect backdrop to their story. The choice to veer into the darkness or into the light that the city offers is a constant struggle, especially for Cole.

Now this book is advertised as a stand alone and it is. Sinners is self contained with a solid conclusion – yet – I really felt like I missed a substantial part of Cole and Isabel’s past. I got a vague sense of what happened but not much in the way of a recap. Also, Isabel was much less developed here than Cole. It’s a testament to Stiefvater’s writing that I loved this book as much as I did with virtually no background. It also makes me think I should reassess my stance on not reading the Shiver Trilogy.

26 comments:

  1. YES. I definitely think you should reevaluate your stance on the Shiver Trilogy. But I straight-up love Maggie Stiefvater. I didn't know that Sinner was considered to be a standalone. I didn't know, but it doesn't matter (b/c Stiefvater). And while I do feel like the second book in the trilogy suffered from the standard book 2 slump, books 1 and 3 were amazing. Especially if you felt like Isabel was less developed. I haven't read this one yet, b/c like I said, I didn't know it was a standalone, and it's been so long that I thought I needed to reread the other books first, so I'm glad to know that's not necessary. Still might reread them though, LOL. I don't know, we'll see ;) Regardless--fabulous review! I hope you're well and truly converted.

    PS: The Scorpio Races is amazing too!

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    1. MY MIL, SIL, nieces and nephews all loved The Scorpio Races!

      I mostly hear that Forever was a let down but maybe I'll be fine with it now that I've read Sinner.

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  2. I have yet to read the Shiver trilogy, but I did read The Raven Boys and her writing is just so beautiful! I'm glad to know that it can be read as a standalone, but I will probably wait until I read the Shiver trilogy first.

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    1. I have the Raven Boys - I'm not sure why I haven't gotten to it yet (or the 100 other books on my shelf lol)

      As much as I enjoyed Sinner, I did feel like I was missing something so I suggest reading the trilogy first.

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  3. I only read the first book and stopped. For some reason the story just didn't grab me like it did everyone else. I have debated on whether or not to try again. Maybe I could just read this one instead and get the just of it?

    Great review, it does have me really curious!

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    1. I did feel like I was missing something but Sinner does work as a stand alone.

      That's weird about Shiver. That's the one everyone tells me to read.

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  4. You have to read WoFM! I so love Cole so I'll definitely grab this.

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    1. Well this is ALL Cole so read it! lol

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  5. I adored the Shiver series, but I haven't read any of her other books yet (though a few are on my shelf). I'm SUPER excited to read Sinner. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. I would like to read The Scorpio Races at some point. Several people I know love it.

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  6. I just downloaded this one to my Kindle, and I can't wait to start it! I'm a HUGE fan of Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls, and I absolutely adore her writing style. I hope you'll give the trilogy a second chance.

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    1. I really love her writing style so I will definitely be picking up her other books.

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  7. I'm so glad you loved Sinner! I actually loved the entire Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I wasn't sure that I would read this, I was nervous. But you have me convinced.
    Great review!

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    1. I don't know how it compares to the trilogy but I really loved it. LIke I said - that says a lot - because I felt like I was missing information but still adored it.

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  8. I really loved the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I'm so glad to hear that you loved Sinner! I've been holding off on reading it because I heard some mixed reviews. I just can't resist Cole, though. :)

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  9. Oh I'm so glad you read this without reading the others. I was wondering if I could just dive into this book. I have read the first in the Wolves series but not the rest. I do think I'll try the rest before diving into this one. Oh and try the Scorpio Races. It is a standalone and I really enjoyed that one on audio.

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  10. I totally agree it's a standalone but definitely best read after for some of the context.

    They are excellent characters I love them. Perfect quotes you pulled. I agree the letter she wrote to the readers was so great!

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  11. I read Shiver and Linger awhile ago and really enjoyed them. I've been meaning to read Forever, but I feel like I need to re-read the other two. I do like Maggie's writing, and I've only read two of her books. Sinner sounds awesome - glad you enjoyed it as much as you did.

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  12. Well, guess I'll throw another couple on my to be read list. Great review!

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  13. Cole and Isabel made the Shiver series for me! I love Maggie Stiefvater, but I much prefer her Raven Boys series and her standalone The Scorpio Races to Shiver. While I was kind of bored with the main characters in Shiver, I loved the supporting characters Cole and Isabel. I actually have to go pick up my pre-orders of this book today! Luckily, Maggie does special signings for a local bookstore, so I can't wait to see the prettiness!

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  14. I read the first two in the series and didn't love the second one. The thing is, Maggie is brilliant in her writing, she really captures the emotional stuff well, but I don't always love the characters or the story itself even when her writing is brilliant. I *usually* do, but not always. My favorite is actually her first series, those were brilliant when I read them. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

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  15. I didn't keep reading past Shiver -- the werewolf thing just isn't for me. But I LOVE her writing so much. You have to start the Raven Boys books. That series is one of my favorites! And Candace reminded me about her fae books, which I haven't tried.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  16. i am so glad that you enjoyed maggies writing. i enjoyed her shiver series execept the last book ...but ever since i have been a fan of her.

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  17. I saw this on goodreads the other week but didn't have a cover so I never used it as my W.O.W but now there is one I know what mine will be in the new year. Thanks for sharing :)
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