If you were to compare Linger
to its companion novel, Shiver, you can immediately sense that this second book of the trilogy has a different feel to it. Shiver
’s more like a personal duet—a ballad of love and longing and the fear of loss. Linger
has that element as well, but there’s more to the story. Personal crises and internal struggles are also very much a part of the text, with characters living in the midst of their own personal hells wanting to seek oblivion rather than to remember or be reminded of the past or what may yet come. It reminds me of that canto in the “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”: “my soul did return, and answered, ‘I myself am Heaven and Hell.’” Throughout the novel Grace, Sam, Cole and Isabel are each immersed in their own dilemmas and fears, each trying to ignore and forget their problems—lingering in their personal hells—rather than attempt to face those problems head on and through that, perhaps find their peace. This aspect of the story I must say I did quite like.
However, the paranormal aspect of the story somewhat detracted from my enjoyment of the book. I mean it’s fine as it stands, but I believe that given the themes Stiefvater’s addressing in her story, the book would have been so much better and more meaningful had she not taken the series along this path. For instance, some of the technical issues I noticed in regards to her werewolf lore in the first book weren’t really addressed in this second installment either. At the end of Linger
, Grace is in danger, and it’s decided that if she’s reinfected with the wolf toxin, it might help alleviate her distress. However in the first book Shiver
, Grace was bitten again, yet it seemed to have no adverse affect on her system—initiating no immediate noticeable change to her situation. This incident was never brought up or addressed in the second book. And it made me wonder if this “second bite” served as the catalyst for Grace’s distress described throughout Linger
? Or if the “second bite” had no affect on Grace’s system at all, how could it possibly effect a change in her now? The sequence of events doesn’t really add up, and it left me somewhat frustrated at the novel’s conclusion. That’s why I felt that the paranormal element in a way hurt the emotional themes described in the text.
Nevertheless as I described in my review for Shiver, I do like Stiefvater’s writing style. It’s rhythmic and tonal as well as visual. Yes, some of Sam’s lyrics are a bit silly, but as I read them I can’t help but notice a certain rhythmic quality to the words and could even envision an accompanying melody. I think that’s cool. And some of the images she invokes with her writing are great. I did love this particular description of Cole’s: “The entire room was so yellow that it looked like the sun had thrown up on the walls and wiped its mouth afterward on the dresser and curtains.” ;-) It reminds me of that scene I love from the film The Owl and the Pussycat
, when Barbara Streisand’s character goes nuts after hearing George Segal’s opening lines to his new manuscript: “The city came to life. The sun spit morning into Julian’s face….” Silly stuff, but I like it.