Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series hit big with the (particularly female) readers. Both teenage girls and their moms were swept up in the supernatural romance between Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend Edward. Personally, I read the entire series in three days, so I’m not gonna lie and say it didn’t hold my interest. But once I finished the series and took a step back from it all, I could see the flaws within the story.
Then Emily had me read Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, as we are both big Maggie Stiefvater fans, where a girl falls in love with a werewolf. After reading those books, I realized that lovers of the supernatural don’t have to settle for a second-rate story. You can have the mythical romance and a good story. So here are five reasons why you should read Shiver, Linger, and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater instead of Twilight.
1. The heroine is a real character.
Unlike Bella, Grace is a developed character. Bella is defined by her love for the vampire Edward, but she has no personality outside of this. Grace, on the other hand, has strengths and flaws and relationships and interests outside of Sam, her werewolf sweetheart. She is a realistic character, a high school student that readers can relate to even while fantasizing that a werewolf heartthrob will come into their lives.
2. There is no love triangle.
Am I the only one sick of love triangles in young adult literature? They can be done well, golden example number one being J.R.R. Tolkien’s Arwen/Aragorn/Eowyn triangle in The Lord of the Rings. But more often than not, love triangles fall flat, i.e. Twilight and The Hunger Games. They aren’t mysteries, there are two characters the reader knows will end up together and one character that the reader knows will lose out. And then the author writes off the losing character in some kind of cop out, either love bonding with his original love interest’s half vampire/half human baby (seriously, Stephenie Meyer?) or disappearing to a random district without so much as a farewell. These love triangles distract from the main story and prevent the development of realistic and worthwhile relationships. They are, quite frankly, poorly executed and a waste of time.
3. Awesome supporting characters.
Some of the most redeeming qualities about the Shiver books are the supporting characters, namely Isabel Culpeper and Cole St. Clair. Isabel and Cole bring depth and variety to the story. While there is no character development in any of the Twilight characters, Isabel grows from a snobby high school girl into a young woman willing to risk her life to save her friends. Cole introduces mature themes, such as overcoming problems of fame, drugs, and self-centeredness in order to discover purpose in life through caring about the people around him.
4. Better relationships.
In the Wolves of Mercy Falls books, readers still get the whirlwind supernatural romance with Sam and Grace, but it feels more real than Edward and Bella. Maggie Stiefvater builds her characters through Sam’s music and Grace’s relationships with her friends and parents. Then there is Cole and Isabel, a less traditional couple that grows on the reader as both Cole and Isabel wrestle with human problems. There are also nonromantic relationships that fill out the story, such as the father/son relationship between Sam and Beck, his adopted father. Sam and Beck work through problems that arise in their relationship, as do Grace and her parents. The non-romantic relationships add a great deal to the story, making Shiver more than just a romance.
5. The plot is realistic…for a supernatural story.
Yes, Shiver features werewolves, but unlike Twilight, reality mixes with the mythical in a believable way. The threats within the Twilight plot feature other vampires, notably the Italian vampire nobility, the Volturi. In the Shiver trilogy, the characters face a human threat when Isabel’s father orchestrates a hunting expedition to kill the wolves. That, coupled with the human flaws that each of the characters, including the werewolves, must face within themselves, makes the story realistic, despite the shape shifting wolves.