Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

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I received this book for free from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Sinner by Maggie StiefvaterSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5
Published by Scholastic on July 1st 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, YA
Source: Scholastic
Buy on Amazon

A 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?

It has been a while since I read the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, so I was a bit worried that remembering next to no details about it would make reading this a flop, but it was not a problem at all. If you want to refresh your memory there’s a convenient Wikipedia page that reminds you who’s who. But everything you need to know is recapped (albeit briefly) as we go along.

Sinner is narrated by our beloved Cole and Isabel, a couple of characters who you won’t soon forget. Cole is somewhat of an arrogant ass, yet charming and hilarious, and Isabel is a bit psychotic with quick wit and, to be honest, she scares me a little >.< I love her, though. She's sarcastic and may be cold at times, but she's just so real and gets that sometimes life just freaking sucks. Plus she doesn't take any shit from anybody and that's something I always respect. As for Cole, sometimes I love him, other times I just want to slap that smug face of his. He does take some patience, but you know that he really does mean well - especially when it comes to Isabelle. I also love how much he's changed, and even though the world seems to be against him he gives them the finger and keeps on keeping on. That's a true sign of strength if you ask me. Also I have to mention Leon - for a side character, he entertained! Together… Cole and Isabel can definitely bring out the worst in each other. It's a complicated relationship, that's for sure. They have a lot of wounds to heal, and a lot of issues to work out. As expected, it's a hot and cold kind of romance, but for once I wasn't irritated by it. I completely understood why Isabel reacted the way she did, and her lack of trust is not hard to grasp - who expects a guy to actually have changed when his personality is such an extreme? Their chemistry is off the charts, though, and you can feel how much love they have for each other despite all the crap they went through. It makes it easy to root for them.

The plot, honestly there’s not much paranormal going on in this book. It’s a werewolf book, yes, but the werewolf is nothing but another burden Cole is trying to be rid of. We do see him turn occasionally, but this novel focuses more on its contemporary side. It’s a story about a boy learning to live with the harsh consequences of his past choices. It’s also a love story. It’s slow-ish paced, but the characters and situations keep you compelled. Cole being semi-famous lends the book a dash of the “life of the rich and famous”. He also takes on a reality show for an extra spin of drama as well. I was actually quite fascinated by it all.

In a dazzling, sometimes frustrating LA setting, Sinner is full of wonder, heartbreak, and colourful characters; a great addition to the original Wolves of Mercy Falls series. This one is less wolf, and more broken human, but fans of the series will love it nonetheless!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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24 Responses to “Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. Christianna

    I’m so excited about this book. Seriously these two were my favorite characters from the original trilogy, so when I heard that this book was going to be a thing I got really excited! Good to know that it works and that the story is as legit as I was hoping for!

  2. Christina @ Between Bookends

    I both excited and scared to see how Cole and Isabel’s journey continues. It’s been a long time since I’ve read The Wolves of Mercy Falls as well, but I can tell from the excerpt and her other books that Stiefvater’s writing style has changed a lot since her werewolf series, which also makes this book stand out from the others.
    Great review!

  3. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I wasn’t a huge fan of The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and I actually don’t think I read beyond the first book, but this one has me a little intrigued because it has a second-chance romance and I love those. Both Isabelle and Cole sound like characters that I will rage at and then simultaneously want to hug. I love those kinds of characters! It’s interesting that this didn’t read much like a paranormal story. I think I would like that very much. I know you mentioned that most of the series is recapped, but do you think it would be confusing if I read this without having read book 2 and 3?
    Lovely review, Giselle!

    • Giselle

      You could read this without having read the original 3 and still enjoy the story fully. It’s a stand-alone, and really more like a spin off. The original characters are only mentioned briefly. There is one an event that Cole reminisces on that happens in Linger (someone dies), but he explains what happened so to you it would just be learning the character’s past that has him so broken. This one is also feels closer to a NA than YA. There’s no graphic sex scenes, but the characters are 18+ (I think Cole is 19 or 20, Isabelle is 18) so it’s a bit more of a mature read in that sense. I do think you could like it! πŸ™‚

  4. tonyalee

    I have debated on whether or not I will pick this up. I loved the Wolves of Mercy Falls series though, so..

    I like how it’s slow paced, with a more contemporary feel. Great review lady πŸ˜‰

  5. Faye D'Social Potato

    I’ve never even heard of this series before! If I knew I would have read the previous books already! This isn’t a novella, is it? I’m asking because it’s series #3.5, the .5 usually indicating it’s a short story.

    But in any case, knowing Stiefvater’s phenomenal way with words, I’m sure this is brilliant. I like how it’s Paranormal in essence, but contemporary in content. I think that really adds a lot of depth, and I like the refreshing change where the PR elements are more in the background.

    Thank you for the review, Giselle! <3

    • Giselle

      No it’s a full-length novel. I’m not sure why they set it up as 3.5 – I associate that with novellas too >.< It's really like a spin-off and reads as a stand-alone. Even if you never read the original 3 you could read this and enjoy the full scope of the story. The original characters are mentioned briefly that's it. I figure they wanted it linked to the series but putting it as #4 would have been misleading I guess. I have seen a few prequels that were full length and were marked 0.5 though.

  6. lily

    i have to admit i never picked up Maggie’s Sinner series before but i’ve read her Raven Boys books and love them so her Sinner series has been on my radar and TBR for a while…hopefully i get to them soon!
    I’m glad you were able to enjoy this one and didn’t find this one hard to read even though you hadn’t read the series in forever!

  7. Carrie

    I did not know that this carried on from Mercy Falls. I still have the last book to read from that too come to think of it. I must put this on my wish list.

    Great review btw. πŸ˜‰

  8. Michelle

    Yes! I can’t wait to read Cole’s POV of things because he’s probably my most favourite character from the trilogy. LOL, Isabel definitely has her issues but I just love her too. It’s great that this was a book that focused on everyone’s feelings and more on the contemporary side of things. Great review! I can’t wait to read it!

  9. Meredith

    I haven’t read the Wolves of Mercy series, but after reading this review I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. I love the cover of Sinner so much! Awesome review!

  10. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    I’m so sad that I just can’t get into Shiver. I tried to read it several times, and I always give up around the halfway point. It’s just not for me. But everyone seems to really enjoy it! I’m disappointed too in the cover changes. I really loved the older covers. I’m glad to see how much you enjoyed this one, Giselle! Great review! πŸ™‚

  11. Hafsah

    I feel like the only person in the whole world who HASN’T read these books. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it, and I love the sound of the relationship between Cole and Isabel. Great review, Giselle!

  12. Melliane

    I haven’t tried this series yet so I can’t say but I read 2 books in another series from the author and I liked them. I think I should try to go back to her and try more books. thanks!

  13. Maddy @Symphony of Words

    Oh my. I remember absolutely hating the Shiver series. I had to DNF the second book, actually. I don’t remember anything much about Cole and Isabelle, but if you say it’s nice, Giselle, I’m definitely willing to give this a try!

  14. Kayla (The Bookish Owl)

    I haven’t read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s books yet because it’s either a hit or miss. There’s no in between! People will either completely love it or completely hate it and it’s why I haven’t picked up any of her books yet. I keep seeing Sinner around though, which has made me really intrigued by it. I don’t think I’ll ever pick up the Shiver series, but I will read this book soon.

    Great review, Giselle!

  15. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    YES. I’m so happy you liked this, Giselle. I’ve been worried, and this is one of those books that I have to read no matter what, so yeah, REALLY glad it’s not awful, LOL. And honestly, I’ve liked Cole and Isabel better than the other two (whose names I can’t even remember) since the second book when couple #1 started getting a bit MEH for me, so I’m thrilled they’re the focus of this installment. Fabulous review!

  16. Pili

    I still haven’t read the Shiver series, and I’m wondering if I could read this one as a standalone of sorts? Or I’d be too confused about all that I don’t know about the past and the characters?
    Great review!

    • Giselle

      Nah this can totally read as a stand-alone. There are events that happened in the Shiver series that these characters reminisce about (like one is broken up about a death of a friend who died in Linger), but everything you need to know is recapped in here, so even though you didn’t read the books it will make complete sense. Although it would give you a spoiler or 2 from the Shiver series if you ever plan to read them.

  17. Laura Plus Books

    Woot woot! So glad you loved this one. I read the series a forever (haha, do you get the pun?) ago but I’m still excited about it. Hopefully I can get my hands on it soon because your review is making me super pumped! πŸ˜€