“Oh, the ball that’s thrown, the ball that dared,
Does it not fill your hands differently when it
made weightier; merely by coming home.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
So, this weekend I the pleasure of finally being able to finish the much anticipated third and final installment of the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy, Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve been really stoked about this series for a couple of years now, ever since my roommate checked Shiver out of the library and left it laying around for my word-hungry eyes to find. She never could get through it, but I couldn’t put it down. It was the same with Forever.
The end of the series revisits and alternates between the perspectives of the four main characters: Sam Roth, Grace Brisbane, Isabel Culpepper, and Cole St. Clair. Now if you haven’t read the two previous books, Shiver and Linger, I’m going to go ahead and warn you that SPOILERS ARE TO FOLLOW:
In Forever, the young lovers Sam and Grace are still together– but the tables have turned. Grace has now been infected with the werewolf virus and Sam has been “cured.” In this cruel twist of fate, it is now Sam who must endure lonely winters waiting while the one he loves roams the frozen Boundary Woods. However, when Grace changes back for the season, the couple doesn’t get to enjoy peace for long. They learn that in light of several fatal wolf attacks, the politicians of Mercy Falls (including Isabel’s father) are plotting a mass extermination of the wolves. And by wolves I mean the werewolf pack that Sam used to be a part of, Grace is now a part of, and that is lead by his now full-time-wolf father figure, Beck.
Talk about drama. Not to mention the fact that a local missing girl was found naked with her throat torn out on Sam’s property, and that Grace is still “missing” in the eyes of the authorities. Police and townsfolk are now watching the yellow-eyed nineteen year old with loathing suspicion.
Cole (a werewolf/missing rock star) and Isabel (Grace’s best friend) are further into developing their hate/love/hate relationship and in between caustic remarks must come together to not only help Grace and Sam stay together, but to help both of them stay alive.
To cut to the chase, I really, really liked this book. Obviously, if I’ve followed the story through to the third round. Stiefvater has enviable talent when it comes to poetic lines like: “My pulse was shallow and fast, a moth destroying itself on a light” making what could come across as slow moments in the plot enjoyable to read. Kind of lets the reader roll the flavor of the moment around on one’s tongue. I also LOVE the concept of temperature/seasonally based lycanthropy versus the traditional lunar lycanthropy.
My criticism of Forever would be that I wanted to see a little more solidity in what was holding Grace and Sam together. There weren’t many tender, “alone together” moments to remind you why their bond was so strong. I like that their love is sweet, but it seems to lack passion. Sam’s extreme sensitivity was a bit of a turn-off for me, but it may be appealing to the younger audience.When she changed back into her human skin, they didn’t even kiss for several days, which I didn’t understand at all. The love of your life (whom you’ve been waiting months for) comes back to you and even knowing you only have one short summer to be with them, you don’t smooch them right away? Come on!
I also wish that the Cole and Isabel thing had gone farther, because both of them are so damaged, putting them together could only result in (amorous/arduous) fireworks. I feel that Stiefvater left enough of their relationship unexplained that she could easily revisit them in another book. Which I hope she does.
All in all, this Forever was definitely worth the wait.
4 of 5 stars