Book Review: Sinner {In which I gush about Maggie Stiefvater}

Before you pick up this book you have to read The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy first.  Otherwise, this one won’t really make sense.  Actually, scratch that.  No matter what you do, you should still go read the trilogy first.  Because it’s awesome.  And Maggie Steifvater is some sort of genius lyricist who happens to be a writer.

I read a blog post of Maggie’s once that said when she is writing her books she tries to figure out her characters want most out of life and then denies them that thing (to create conflict, both internally and externally) and then gives it to them at the end (to create the book’s resolution).  It makes her books pretty much completely predictable, but it’s the way in which she denies her characters–her lyrical prose, her attention to detail, the way she conveys emotions–that thrill me.

The thing you have to know about Stiefvater is that her books almost always live in the fantasy genre. But she’s so great at creating these real-life characters that even though they’re not fully human, or they don’t live in 21st century modern society, or they’re complete fantastical creatures (think fairies, werewolves, and the like) she tricks you into thinking everything you’re reading is actually true, or could be, or that you so wish it was.

Sinner is the culmination of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Kind of.  {Click here to know more about the series that first hooked me up with Stiefvater.} We meet Isabel in book one as Grace’s no-nonsense, stone-faced, most likely to be disliked peer-turned-close-friend.  Cole doesn’t show up until book three.  He is a drug abusing rockstar looking for his next high while Isabel has spent the last two books perfecting her ice cold bitchiness.  They’re definitely the worst person for each other.  And yet that’s exactly why they work.  The series ends with not a peep from whether or not they ever actually got together or not.  Sinner takes place in Los Angeles, California, where Isabel is going to school to become a nurse.  Cole uses the excuse of a reality TV show to unexpectedly appear in Isabel’s life and ultimately shake up both of their lives so much that they’re left standing at the end admitting that they’re the absolute worst person for each other and yet literally can’t live without each other.

I like how they’re two pretty stereotypical characters–druggie rockstar, rich snob–yet Stiefvater takes the time to craft very unique emotions and background stories for both characters, and gives them the chance to try to be together, though it’s probably not the best.  Cole ends up in several near-death escapades while trying to get Isabel to notice him, and Isabel smashes the hell out of her car and her work studio burns to the ground.  Together, they’re literally volatile.

If you haven’t given Maggie Steifvater’s books a chance, DO SO NOW.  I suggest you start with The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, so that when you’re finished you can read Sinner.  Because as much as I could go on and on and on and on about how wonderful her prose is–an entire thesaurus can’t give it justice–it’s words that need to be read.

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