You know I’m a fan of Maggie Stiefvater.
I howl this fact from the rooftops and I even wrote a post about all the reasons why I do (and you should) read every Maggie Stiefvater book ever and love them all with the passion and fire that I do.
So I. freaked. out when I got a review-copy of Sinner from Scholastic Australia (ohhh my gosh, thank you Scholastic, thankyouthankyou) and I promptly dropped everything and read it. In one day. And I just…how do I review it? How do I even function?
There some books that remind you why you’re absolutely obsessed with stories. This is one of them.
A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.
Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?
Why You Should Drop Everything (like I did) and Read Sinner
1. It’s written by Maggie Stiefvater.
This is pretty much the only reason I wanted to read it. No! I’m lying! (Sorry, it happens sometimes.) I wanted to read it more because it was about Cole and Isabel.
Let me explain!
Maggie Stiefvater wrote this trilogy called The Wolves of Mercy Falls which includes Shiver, Linger, and Forever. (Who’s slightly cliche titles we’ll forgive because we’re magnanimous like that.) They start off narrated by Grace, who is obsessed with wolves (which are actually werewolves because it’s a bit weird to fall in love with an animal…so we fall in love with half-animals-half-humans). Gradually more squalling people/animals enter the picture. Sam is Grace’s One True Love. He’s a wolf. Then enters Cole: also a wolf. And Isabel: not a wolf, but as frosty as machete in Antarctica.
Sam and Grace are art and muse. Cole and Isabel are knife and fire.
I happen to love them a lot, maybe not more than Sam/Grace, but it’s so equal my capacity for intense adoration is exhausting me. When I heard there’d be a standalone about Cole and Isabel in the What Happened After Shiverlingerforever Ended — I knew I would love it.
2. It has this dedication:
That, of course, is me. Because I have read and loved and raved about all her books. It’s nice to have a book dedicated to me.
3. It is about music.
Don’t underestimate how freakishly hard it is to write a musical book. Musical movies are fine. You have ears. Musical books must sing you the music using mere words. How hard is that? Sinner, of course, pulls it off with flying colours and crackling chords. I adore music and I love that I could hear and feel it while reading the book.
(The author has a playlist for it here, if you’re nosey like I am.)
4. The writing IS THE BEST.
It’s huge on the visuals, smells and feels details. 5-senses! Who’d have thought they could change a book from “cool” to “freakishly awesome”? I absolutely love how closely I could experience the book. The description isn’t flooding over page after page. It uses punchy words. Then it’s done.
The McMansion was sterile enough to actually remove pieces of my identity every time I returned to it, insidiously replacing them with wall-to-wall white carpet and blond hardwood floors.
I felt a not entirely great sensation in my stomach, like someone was opening an umbrella inside it.
A few words and — BOOM — the clearest picture is in your mind.
5. It’s funny. (Did I mention I like funny?)
The banter between Cole and Isabel is the best because they are really mean people who act like they hate each other and couldn’t care less — when really they care so so much and they can’t bear the thought of losing each other. Look at me! I’m drippy.
At one point they eat breakfast in the shower…with a small table and everything. Because: they’re strange like that, and also they’re hiding from cameras. That’s them normally. Unless they’re fighting, which is about 70% of the book. And it’s not yelling fighting, it’s icy stabbing glares of love/hate.
6. It’s dual narrated.
Usually I hate this. Right now? I love this. They’re so similar yet so different. Wait! Let me explain! Isabel is cold and Cole owns the world.
Imagine Kuzco narrating along with…say…The Black Widow.
7. There is a brief Sam and Grace cameo.
It’s note enough, mind you. I was hoping they’d at least squeeze a scene in together. But at least they talk on the phone to each of them.
Sam told Cole not to bite people.
Cole realised the idea hadn’t occurred to him so he put it on his to-do list.
8. It’s about werewolves too (obviously.)
I might just have an affinity for all things supernatural and paranormal. Plus, if I had to pick between vampires and werewolves — werewolves all the way. Maggie Stiefvater writes them really uniquely too. And I adore the fact that it’s almost completely an average contemporary…but then — GROWL — werewolves.
9. There’s food.
I like food! I like it when it enters books! Although, truthfully, no one seems to eat much food because they’re all angsty with their wolfish and teenage emotions. But there is a secondary character, Sofia, who is really shy and a fabulous cook. I really liked her. Plus, Cole and Isabel go out for pie, which was a delicious experience (for me reading the pie descriptions).
10. I just love this book, okay?
I loved it a lot. I couldn’t put it down. It made me want to write a million things and read a million things and just appreciate the greatest art that is books.