MAJOR SPOILERS for Shiver & Linger ahead. Please don't read if you haven't read those. If you'd like a refresher of those books, please read my reviews of Shiver & Linger.
Grace is lost to the winter as a wolf & Sam is annoyingly still human, despite the cold. His longing for Grace is only mitigated by the frustration he feels towards those who accuse him of having something to do with Grace's disappearance. Yes, technically, he did have something to do with it, but not in the nefarious way that everyone seems to want to believe. Now he's stuck in this endless cycle of waiting for it to warm up enough so Grace can shift back to being a human & they can plan their next steps.
Cole is not making her absence any easier to bear. He spends most of his time seemingly aimless in his wanderings in & outside of the Beck's house. It turns out though that Cole is on to something. He's trying to figure out the trigger to becoming a wolf so that he can reverse the process.
And mixed in with this party of fun is Isabel. With her brother Jack still very dead, her father is still on the hunt for suitable retribution. Luckily another girl shows up dead in the woods by the wolves' paws. The aerial hunt, and the obliteration of the pack, is imminent. Can these three unlikely teammates pull off the greatest miracle or is it already too late to save the wolves of Mercy Falls?
What an ending to one of the most memorable & inexplicably captivating series I have read in quite some time. Maggie Stiefvater is, in my opinion, the supreme queen of character development. Each character was carefully built to give as much vitality to the book as possible. Their dynamics & interactions were so full of emotion & feeling that I truly felt an understanding with them. I absolutely adored the ability to watch these characters evolve & establish themselves as individuals.
Grace may have started as a too-good-to-be-true kind of gal with a serious penchant for the wolves, but she really blossomed into an authentic adult making the best of the situation she was dealt. And while emo boys do have some appeal, Sam really broke my heart from the very beginning of this series. Maggie crafted the most beautifully heart-wrenching scenes for Sam's transformation from scared & scarred follower to a fear-fighting leader doing the very best for everyone, despite the cost. Even Cole & Isabel, despite not having to change as much, really did become better versions of themselves.
As always, the storytelling was divine in the way that I couldn't put the book down. Maggie has noted that she feels more satisfied when writing from multiple characters points of view because they all see things differently about the world than each other, allowing a greater understanding of the situation. And also, you want to use the character that will change the most during the scene in order for the story to progress. This style of writing really lends itself to the way this series unfolds. There is so much going on & so many people involved that I really think the reader would lose something if it had only been told from one (or two) people's points of view.
While I am probably among the minority of people who didn't technically "like" the ending (I'm a big believer of the "tidy little bow" concept) I think it worked perfectly for this storyline. There is no easy way to leave a world behind (even a mythical one) once you've become so invested in it. The way Maggie left things allows the reader to use their own understanding of the series to drawn their own conclusions.
So now that so many people have read the book, I want to hear your thoughts. Did you enjoy this finale? What did you think about the ending? What would you like to have seen happen?
A big thanks to Around the World Tours for the ARC & Maggie Stiefvater for the wonderful event night in Raleigh!