Forever is the third and final book in Maggie Stiefvater's YA paranormal trilogy Wolves of Mercy Falls.
To any reader who has yet to read Shiver and/or Linger: Please don't read this synopsis. It'll only spoil, inevitably, great moments from the first two books. Instead, read my review of Shiver here - or if you've read Shiver, read my review of Linger here. In the meantime, get reading! Don't spoil yourself!
Now to everybody who has read Shiver and Linger: We shall proceed. ;)
Grace is in the woods. She used to be the human in love with a wolf. Now she is the wolf and Sam is the human. Apparently Grace and Sam's story was never meant to be easy. Especially now that there is a strong demand for a wolf hunt in Mercy Falls. People are paranoid over the amount of attacks - and ready to rid themselves of all the wolves. But Grace, as a wolf, doesn't know this. She doesn't remember anything about herself when she is a wolf. She doesn't know to be careful.
Sam has never been on this side of the fear. He's always been scared of the winter he would leave humanity, and Grace, forever. But he's never been afraid of losing her to the forest - or at the hands of hunters. Yet now, here he is. He's lost without Grace. He can't lose her forever...
That is a very sparse summary, I know. But we don't want to give too much away now, do we?
Forever, just like Shiver and Linger, is very intense emotionally. Because of this, the trilogy doesn't so much excite me to read the final book as much as compel me to. I need to know what happens. As do many of the fans.
To be honest, I felt like the first quarter of Forever had a lack of distinctive plot - but the thing about it is each personal thread (Grace, Sam, Isabel, Cole) is so alluring and magnetic that it didn't even matter. And the plot, which remained wispy, did emerge eventually - but took back-seat to the stunning character development that Maggie Stiefvater's makes her primary focus.
There is such anguish, such beauty, and such a thick, moody atmosphere in Forever. These are characters with pasts, with scars, with hurts that are deep, and hopes that are even deeper. These are flawed, damaged individuals - sometimes providing us with memories that are darkly disturbing, but also unimaginably effective.
Unlike most conclusions to blockbuster series', there is a patience in the pacing of Forever - pausing for nuances and hushed words. Forever is lovely and understated with a maturity that is sometimes sorely lacking in other paranormal romances. And it's not just Grace and Sam's inspiring, beautiful love story in focus here, but for me (and I am basing this off of Shiver and Linger, so as not to give you any hints on Forever) Cole and Isabel's truly raw and sometimes achingly honest chemistry is also. They have all been so lonely and so lost for a very long time.
I couldn't help but hope for a happy ending for all four of these wonderful characters... I felt that each of them deserved some peace and joy. But without revealing if my wish came true or not, I will just say that Forever was bittersweet and excellent and true to Maggie Stiefvater's unique tone straight through to the end. I could have used a more complete end, but at the same time I think I understand why the author wanted to end it the way she did. I am just sad that it is over.
But, oh, what a story!
***ALERT: Due to continued bibliophile reading overdosing, I am continuing the 5 reviews a week through August. After that, I am absolutely returning to only 3 reviews a week in September and on. So, we'll just think of this as a summer special! Thanks for reading!!!