I waited for this book with great anticipation. I had read reviews from other blogs – lucky people who had previews or were in America where it was available earlier…
I was not disappointed. Being a fantasy buff from early days, I have always had a soft spot for wolves, even loving White Fang by Jack London and crazy about Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. This story takes a different tack. Not your standard Werewolf howling at the full moon, not even remotely, these wolves change with the weather, not the moon. The lower the temperature, the more likely they are to become wolves for the duration of winter and early spring.
I was particularly taken with the main characters, Grace and Sam. Over the course of 12 years (give or take) both Grace and Sam are almost obsessive in their connection to each other, she as the young girl who was bitten but did not change into a wolf, and the golden eyed wolf who saved her from the pack. She watches the wolves, especially her golden eyed wolf as they live in the fringes of the woods that backs onto her yard. The golden eyed wolf, in his turn watches and occasionally makes contact with the girl who often leaves meat out for him.
Of course there are problems – when he is in human form over spring and summer, she does not see him. When he is in wolf form, he does not actually remember who she is, just that she is important. And when they finally meet – he is shot in wolf form and she finds him bleeding in human form on her back porch, she only needs to see his eyes to know the truth. But the weather is getting colder and it is getting harder and harder for Sam to hold onto his human form. All of the wolves have only a limited number of changes back to human form… is this Sam’s last chance?
Then there is the rich kid who was bitten and ‘died’ – hence the hunters with guns, and whose body then mysteriously disappears from the morgue. The rest of the pack are in wolf shape, including Shelby, who wants Sam for herself.
I found the characters very sympathetic. I loved the fact that Sam was the one who wanted to be careful and not rush things or spoil them. The two characters are very different and yet so connected. Grace is very logical and linear in her thinking. She needs order and to be in control and reads non fiction almost religiously. Sam is more of an artistic soul, composing songs and devouring novels and poetry and corny old sci fi movies. Together they round each other out and under the influence of Sam, Grace begins to see the beauty in the world around her.
Loved this book. Highly recommend it!
Check out Maggie Stiefvater’s website, which includes a book trailer she made herself (including the music)!