Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
How can I even summarize my thoughts? I looked forward to this book for months and months. I pre-ordered a finished copy last week. The ARC came first and I took two full days to read it. I could have read it in a half a day but I drank in the words and allowed the images to be conjured inside my head while enjoying the emotions of each of the characters. I loved every part of this book.
And I hate Minnesota.
*Caveat* I've only been to St. Paul and it was in February so it's an unfair assessment. I'm just saying.
This is the end of a trilogy. This is not the kind of trilogy that is painfully spread out with nothing happening in the second book but three solid books that needed the separation of being different books. However, in order to understand this book, the other two need to be read first. Go read them now.
Go ahead. I'll wait.
For those who are still here, here's the summary:
Book 1: Grace finds naked Sam shot in the neck on her porch. She knows he is the wolf that watches her winter after winter. She does not know that Sam is also the book seller boy at The Crooked Shelf in town. The history of logistics of shifting from wolf to human to wolf are described. This sets up the rest of the series. Grace was also attacked as a child but never changed. This is explored extensively. Introduction of Isabel who takes bit** to a new level. Love her. Meet Rachel, the epitome of quirky. Adore her. Meet Shelby, the psychotic werewolf. Fear her.
Book 2: Sam and Grace are enjoying each other's company and all is peachy keen except that Grace is getting sicker and sicker. Beck is in his last human season. He has also introduced new wolves to the pack, including two members of an extremely popular rock group, NARKOTIKA. Cole is the lead in the group and you kind of have to hate him. At first. Then he really grows on you. Turns out, he has a charming personality and an I.Q. that is off the charts. Just like his singles. HA!
Book 3: This is the book where we are seeking equilibrium. The wolf gene (?) is unstable and Cole is working on a cure. He is using himself as the patient which is messy and unpredictable. Isabel's father wants the wolves killed. Another girl is found mutilated. Slight spoiler - remember that psychotic werewolf? She's still psychotic and she's not dead. Who is human enough to problem solve? Is there are cure? Who will die? Who will live? How can Rachel still be so adorably quirky?
Stiefvater has the most amazing voice and writing style. She describes details I often take for granted or includes a non-sequitur that is a game changer.
Quotes from ARC so there may be changes in final copy but I hope not. I really, really hope not.
"He looked away from me, as if he didn't expect me to have the answer, and instead looked at his hands, his fingers spread wide. He studied both sides of them, backs and then palms, his eyebrows drawn together. It was such a strange, intimate gesture that I glanced away. It reminded me of our funeral for Victor for some reason."
Each scene, thought, description sets up the next one in a way that seems accidental but clearly is not. Each character is well defined and developed while never deviating from their personality. The book plays in my head like my favorite movie - memories surface and build on the story or the character, explaining why Sam is so quiet or Grace is so independent or Cole is so... Cole.
The end is bittersweet. Assumptions must be made on the part of the reader and I'm bitter that it's not going to be milked into just one more book but feeling deeply satisfied by the three books that are written and a little drunk on the words and imagery.