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?
What are your overall thoughts?
Anyone who has spent any time on the blog, or any time with me IRL will know that I absolutely love Maggie Stiefvater ‘s (read my reviews here) combination of poetic prose, breath holding tension and tender emotive scenes( with or without kissing). While Maggie’s work just gets better and better, Shiver and its sequels will always have a place in my heart as the first Stiefvater books, and one of the first YA book series, I read.
The inclusion of Cole’s point of view was one of my favorite aspects of Linger (Shiver #2) and Forever (Shiver #3). The sharpness and acidity of Isabel and Cole’s interactions cut though Sam and Grace’s meant-to-be-together sweetness. Without Cole and Isabel’s feisty relationship the series could have become too clawing.
While I completely understood and enjoyed the ambiguous ending of the Shiver trilogy my one disappointment was that Cole and Isabel’s story felt unexplored and unfinished.
It won’t take much of a leap for you to imagine just how excited I was to learn that Maggie had created a companion novel focusing on Cole and Isabel and how delighted I was to finally get my grabby little hands on it!
I enjoyed dipping back in to the world of Shiver, however I was quite surprised at just how different Sinner is to the rest of Maggie’s published works. I was expecting Maggie’s brand of descriptive- bordering on poetic- narrative, sense of place, twisting turning plot and tear inducing tension. While these aspects were still evident, for me they took a back seat to the sheer force of Cole and Isabel’s personalities and their snarky, energetic chemistry.
While it still contained aspects of magical realism, Sinner had a much more contemporary feel. I have always been aware of the connection between Cole’s wolf and the self destructive, suicidal and addictive elements of his personality. For me it was a deeper layer of meaning in a series I otherwise took at face value as paranormal.
In Sinner the presence of Cole’s wolf felt much more like a devise used to explore Cole and his recovery than as a supernatural element in it’s own right. Maggie even goes as far as to explain the metaphor to the audience through the misinterpretation of Cole’s song lyrics.
What was your favorite aspect of the book?
While initially the style of the book was not what I expected it actually became one of my favorite aspects.
I rather enjoyed being swept away by the tornado of Cole and Isabel’s relationship, much in the same way that I imagine the authors usual style was pushed aside by the characters dominant and distinctive personalities.
While I don’t consider myself much of a mood reader (watch Faye talking about mood reading here), I am very much a seasonal reader. I am attracted to more contemporary, particularly romantic, reads in the summer. While in the cooler months I like nothing better than curling up with an absorbing fantasy series. So to this end, Sinner was a perfect summer read.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I honestly don’t think that I can pick a favorite. I adore Cole and Isabel in equal measure. I loved that although they both had issues to work through they didn’t undergo personality transplants in the process.
I am also surprised to find myself glad that Sam and Grace’s cameos were very, very brief and didn’t reveal much about them post Forever (Shiver#3). We had three books to explore Sam and Grace. Sinner was very much “Isocole” ‘s (do you think it will catch on?) book.
Would you recommend this book?
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I don’t see any reason why Shiver fans wouldn’t enjoy catching up with Isobel and Cole.
Summarise in one sentence(verdict).
While not a “typical” Maggie book it is classic Cole and Isabel.
Reviewed by Caroline