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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

This might sound crazy, but I think Sinner, the fourth and final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, is the best of the run!  (An aside:  I realize that the previous sentence is a little "off."  Maggie Stiefvater set out to write a trilogy, but then her fans and publishing house pressed for a fourth book.  She complied.  Hence a trilogy containing four books.)

I am fortunate to have a job that brings me into first- and second-hand contact with YA authors at times.  I heard second-hand that Stiefvater didn't want to write Sinner, but I'm so glad she did.  This book is quite different from the original three books in the trilogy.  I'd describe it more as a contemporary romance than a paranormal romance; it's the love story of Cole and Isabelle, and it's just a background piece of information that Cole happens to be a werewolf.

You'll remember from the first books that Cole was a very famous musician before he became a werewolf.  As the frontman for the uberpopular Narcotica, Cole was living the stereotypical badass rocker lifestyle, chasing booze and girls and highs.  When the illegal substances stopped providing the desired high, he turned to lycanthropy.  Now, after a year spent "dead" (?)/missing, he's back.  It's Cole, who lives life louder than most, so he doesn't just quietly start going to Starbucks again.  No, he's signed on to a special reality show where he's put in a house with a new drummer and a new bassist to write and record a full album in six weeks.  Along the way he'll be up to his usual hijinks:  impromptu block parties; bassist auditions on the beach; late night diner runs with a hired driver.  The only difference will be his sobriety.  He's spun the story that he spent time getting clean; readers of this series will know that he spent that time in Minnesota as a wolf.

Another new aspect to his life is Isabelle Culpepper.  No longer interested in chasing a new girl every night, now he's yearning to come home to the same girl (Isabelle) every night.  Sinner is told from dual viewpoints:  both Cole & Isabelle.  The entire book is about Cole, but it was great to get to see the view from an outsider looking in as well as hearing about events directly from Cole.

In the previous books, Cole doesn't even rank as a secondary character.  He's more like a well-developed tertiary character.  In this bonus book, he's the main character, and the reader really gets to see him grow and mature.  Sinner is totally a story of redemption.  Cole comes to grips with the choices he's made in the past, and the relationships he's formed and broken and reformed, and takes those life lessons to heart.  He's lived a lot since becoming famous, but in this book we see him get to be a teenager.  A teen with a lot of fame and independence, true, but a teen nonetheless.  We see him recognize his loneliness, and seek to build healthier relationships.  We see him start to take more responsibilities.

Sinner hooked me right from the start, and it'll probably hook you too.  It opens with Cole on the road from LAX to his new "job" as reality TV star.  He's on the phone, on a radio interview, and he's 110% rockstar with his flippant answers and conversational tangents... then he gets bored with LA traffic and abandons his hired car on the freeway to continue on foot!  I married a musician, and he came with lots of musician friends, and that whole "loose agenda" thing is totally in keeping with character.  I find that most artistic folks are more fluid with plans.  Not a bad thing!  They know what they enjoy, and what they don't, and they go with it.  I love being along for the ride.  (In case you're curious... I'm more Dewey Decimal-minded.  We're a well-balanced couple.)

I know I've talked your ear off, but I'm almost done!  (I just loved this book so much!)  A note on narration, since I listened to this on CD:  fantastic!  It had two readers, so Cole and Isabelle each had very distinct voices.  The readers were clear and easy to understand, and the cadence was very comfortable.  Even though there were two readers, there wasn't a jump in volume between the two.  The only (very little) pet peeve:  the narrator announced "Sinner, Disk X" at the beginning of each CD.  I have a multi-disk CD player in my car, and that sort of announcement interrupts the flow for me.

Two incredibly enthusiastic thumbs up!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. Great review :) makes me want to try Maggie Stiefvater's books again. Thanks Marie :)

  2. Why haven't I read this yet? I really liked the Shiver series so this addition is so exciting! I think I got the free sampler a while ago when it was released and read the whole interview part (the part where he jumps out of the car and walks is hilarious!). Great review!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks