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The Wolves of Mercy Falls

    Review: Forever

    Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is the final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It was released in the U.S. on July 12, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats.

    It is currently available to order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Scholastic Press the print edition is 400 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater

    then.

    When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

    now.

    That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

    forever.

    Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment – a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

    ***

    Time was running out for the wolves of Mercy Falls. Another person was killed and this time there would be nothing to stop the hunters from coming after them.

    So, unless Sam could figure out what to do, the wolves would all face extinction. And Grace would be lost to him. Forever. And if he couldn’t save her, he would be lost, too.

    But without Beck to lead them, and Sam in pieces without Grace, Cole was their only hope for survival. And a boy who at one point was ready to end his own life, and was barely hanging on to the one he had now, was not an ideal savior.

    How could Cole possibly lead the wolves to safety when he wasn’t even confident in himself? But without someone willing to take charge, the wolves would surely meet their end in Boundary Wood.

    And those left behind, trapped in their human form, would have to live forever with the knowledge that they did nothing to stop the mass murder that was masquerading as a hunt.

    ***

    Forever is the beautifully dramatic conclusion to the highly addictive Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. In this last installment in the series, a member of the wolf pack has killed a human girl and the people have reached their limit.

    While the specifics are still being decided, one thing is certain, the pack must be annihilated. And Tom Culpepper, Isabel’s father, is ready to lead the charge. But with Grace still not fully acclimated to the warmer weather, her safety is at even greater risk, leaving Sam and Cole with little time to figure out a solution.

    At the story’s end, some questions will be answered, but there will be many things that are left up in the air. Just because the story has ended for the reader, doesn’t mean it’s the end for the characters. And a story that’s open-ended leaves room for infinite possibilities.

    Author Maggie Stiefvater never ceases to amaze with her elegant and beautiful writing that just draws the reader into her story. The pace of the story is unhurried, which allows the reader to become slowly, but fully engaged with both the characters and the plot.

    Even as the clock is ticking down and the pace begins to escalate as the events unfold, the urgency does not overtake the story. Readers will still be captivated by passage after exquisite passage of the author’s remarkable writing.

    Although it’s sad to have reached the end of Sam and Grace’s story, as told by the author, Forever did give readers a longer look at Cole St. Clair. His character really grew in this last book in the series. Where he once appeared selfish and self-involved, he showed great strength and character in his desire to save the wolves and especially Sam and Grace.

    As the ending left much uncertain and unfinished, there may be readers who are dissatisfied, but not this reader. In many books, this type of an end would not fit. However, in a series like the Wolves of Mercy Falls, it just works.

    The future for the characters that remain at the end of this series offers hope and promise, but also leaves open the possibility that not everything will be a fairytale, which is just as it should be for them.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    It has always taken me a long time to get absorbed into each of the books in this series. The pace is slow, but the writing is beautiful. And has a very haunting quality to it. I can’t explain it well – believe me, over the years that I’ve followed this series I’ve tried.

    I typically find myself about a third of the way through, wondering exactly what it was that got me so hooked on the series that I developed this connection with it and felt the need to read more. But then somewhere amidst the pages it just happens. I become glued to it.

    Whether it’s the wolves or just simply the stunning passages I gravitate toward, I just can’t stop coming back for more. Even with the desolate feeling that reading each story brings. And Forever is no exception.

    However, in this story, it was Cole that I felt more of a pull toward, rather than Sam or Grace. It seems like Forever was his story. While Sam and Grace were a part of this story – Sam more than Grace – it was Cole I felt like I got to know a lot more. His character grew, while Sam and Grace remained as they always had been – distant, strange, unique and intimately bonded in a way that didn’t welcome outsiders.

    But Cole, as flawed as he was, and as hard to comprehend, became so much more. He developed a new facet to his personality that made him almost lovable. He discovered himself in this book in a way he didn’t before, and it was wonderful to see.

    The ending is bound to upset some readers. Probably quite a few. For a few minutes after I finished reading, I was devastated. The not knowing can be hard to deal with. But it was the perfect end to the story.

    I’m not sure whether I’m glad that the author didn’t leave me hanging with another part of the story that I was so sure she would. I think I would have liked that one part to be open-ended. But I suppose with the other ending being unresolved, that might have been too cruel.

    Leaving everything up in the air seems somehow true to this series. As much as I’m one of those readers who enjoy everything wrapped up in a happy bow, I think this needed to end the way it did.

    I think, for this series, you absolutely have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. It’s not a snuggly series or one that you feel completely connected to the characters. They are outsiders. They don’t have personalities that immediately grab you. They are remote and damaged and different. And yet I love them just as much as the characters I’ve bonded with.

    I am definitely in a malaise after reading Forever and it’s taken days to get my thoughts in order to write this review. But the fact that I finished reading this days ago, and I’m still haunted by the book, tells me how much I loved it and how affected by it I was.

    ***

    I have a ton of favorite passages. Maggie Stiefvater is an amazing writer. My three favorites are from Cole’s viewpoint. As two of them are quite long, I thought I’d just choose the shortest.

    The thing I was beginning to figure out about Sam and Grace, the thing about Sam not being able to function without her, was that that sort of love only worked when you were sure both people would always be around for each other. If one half of the equation left, or died, or was slightly less perfect in their love, it became the most tragic, pathetic story invented, laughable in its absurdity. Without Grace, Sam was a joke without a punch line.

    Book trailer for Forever:

    This review is based on an ARC I received as a gift from another blogger.

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