Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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.”
Review: Before diving into my thoughts on Forever, I have to tell a story. It is largely a story of personal failure, but I think it is relevant given that it ties closely to my feelings about Forever and the Wolves of Mercy Falls series in general. When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to be allowed to bring my best friend on our family vacation to Florida. As we intended to spend lots of time relaxing on the beach, we both brought plenty of books to read. I was halfway through Les Miserables, and she had brought, among other things, an advanced copy of the book Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I finished Les Miserables on the trip and, while I really enjoyed the book, was desperate for an easy, somewhat vapid read. Shiver, a book about werewolves and teen drama, sounded like the perfect remedy. After reading the novel, we both agreed that it was surprisingly good. Over subsequent years, I noticed that Stiefvater published additional books in the series, but never felt a need to actually see how the story progressed. Fast forward to this time last year, when I discovered The Raven Boys series and Stiefvater’s standalone novel, The Scorpio Races. I was hooked, a complete and utter Maggie Stiefvater fan. And for that reason, I decided it was finally time to read the full Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Here’s where the failure part comes in. I went to the local library and noticed that three Wolves of Mercy Falls books were conveniently in stock. I checked them all out and decided that I would reread Shiver, since it had been over three years since my first reading. However, when I got home I realized that I did not in fact have Shiver, but had instead picked up Linger, Forever, and Sinner (the somewhat standalone fourth book, which does not focus on Grace and Sam). Despite this setback, I decided that I remembered enough of Shiver to pick up with the second book. For reasons I can’t explain, I quickly started reading Forever. References to certain events and characters confused me, but I pushed onward, telling myself that the source of confusion was simply the years that had passed since I first read Shiver. It wasn’t until I had read approximately 300 out of 386 pages that I realized Forever was the third book in the series, not the second. Despite having the true second book, Linger, waiting patiently on my shelf, I had blindly plodded forward and read the wrong book. With less than a quarter of Forever remaining, I decided to embrace my mistake and finish the novel. I tell you all of this now because I fully recognize that my ignorance of certain characters and plot events likely influenced my rating of this book. But at the same time, I think Forever failed in a few poignant ways that made it a not-so-great read. For example, Grace and Sam, the two main characters, were shockingly boring. This is saying something, given that Grace regularly and unexpectedly turns into a werewolf. They just feel very one-dimensional. I also found the reality of Sam’s storyline a bit off-putting: the entire town thinks he not only murdered Grace (because she has gone incognito since becoming a werewolf), but that he has raped and murdered Olivia as well. WHY AREN’T PEOPLE MORE BOTHERED BY THIS? Why isn’t Sam more bothered by this? There are some easy, simple steps he and his friends could take to start salvaging his reputation, but they don’t take them until the very end of the book. I just didn’t get it. I really liked Isabel as a character, which I remember also feeling in Shiver, but I didn’t quite know what to make of Cole. Overall, I think Forever suffered from a lack of development in both the main characters and the plot. I love Maggie Stiefvater, but I also believe that her later works are better than the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.