Maggie Stiefvater is an unbelievably poetic writer. As she wraps up the Wolves of Mercy Falls series with Forever, she hits her stride in bringing her lupine love story to a satisfying conclusion. The ill-fated romance of Sam and Grace is touchingly rendered as the two struggle to find the common ground between human and wolf. With Sam cured and Grace bitten, they try to adapt to the unexpectedness of their role reversal. In a relationship that is ever shifting, they know the only thing that remains constant is their love for each other.
The story itself melds from one point-of-view to another. It's told from the perspective of two couples - Sam and Grace and the deluded rock star turned werewolf, Cole and the sarcastic rich girl with a heart, Isabel. Now deep into the series' third installment, these characters are fully developed and richer hues of their personalities emerge. Sam is no longer just the gentle songwriter/bookstore clerk who spends hours reading German poetry. He is a battle hardened survivor who lives in fear of the reemergence of his inner wolf. Grace, once neglected by her irresponsible parents, is now truly given up for dead as she is forced to wander Boundary Wood in her lupine form. She can no longer retain the knowledge of her inner self - who she is and where she belongs. Only the coming of a Minnesota spring can dislodge the girl from the beast as Sam waits and searches and waits some more.
The driving force of Forever is Cole. When Isabel's father instigates a helicopter wolf hunt to avenge his son's death, it is only a matter of time before the entire pack is gunned down. Cole begins reading the journals of their former leader and Sam's foster father, Beck. He furiously searches for a clue on how to relocate his fellow wolves. Staying up all hours of the night experimenting on possible theories, he doggedly devotes himself to the cause of their continued survival. For someone who gave up on life, he now has a purpose.
Isabel is undeniably attracted to Cole, but feels he is wrong for her. She is inherently drawn to him, but resists his advances. Her conflicting feelings leave her bawling on a restroom floor to dangerously hurtling an SUV through uneven terrain. She is at her wits' end and has a hard time keeping it together to provide the assistance the wolves sorely need. Terrified of establishing personal connections, nevertheless, she would do anything in her power to help Sam, Grace and Cole.
The pace of the novel is stalled by the imminent build-up. The reunion of Sam and Grace takes awhile. The possibility of the airborne shoot-out drags on and on. Yet, Stiefvater hits all the right points in tying up loose ends in the culmination of her saga. Sam finds some sense of closure in his complicated relationship with Beck. The pursuant Officer Koenig is seen in a new light. Grace's parents are held accountable for their inattentive nature. And yet all of this is diffused through the evocative imagery Stiefvater provides throughout. The northern lights illuminating the long separated lovers sprawled on the hood of a car. The claws of a drowning wolf failing to find traction on the muddy walls of a sinkhole. The off-key strumming of a guitar chord cementing the unlikely bond between two troubled young men. Stiefvater's writing is pitch perfect.
Overall, the wolf-to-human shift explodes with pent-up angst.
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is available for $17.99 at Amazon.com and at MaggieStiefvater.com.
Thank you to Jessi for recommending this book. Follow her fantastic book blog and Twitter posts.
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