Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: July 2011
Reviewed by Sally
First line: I can be so so quiet.
Last line: He reached out his hand to me.
Fave quote: “Grace” I whispered. “This isn’t how it ends.”
“There is no better taste than this: someone else’s laughter in your mouth”
So finally the readers of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy have closure. I was very late coming to this series so thankfully haven’t had to go through the frustration that fans of the series will have had to endure as they wait for the final book to be released. I only had to wait a couple of weeks for the release of Forever and that was torturous enough!
Forever is a superb finale to the trilogy. Having gone from figuring out her bond with the wolves which leads to her relationship with Sam, Grace now finds out that in a cruel twist of fate the virus that has lain dormant in her for years has awoken and as Sam adjusts to life as a ‘normal’ human again so Grace has to acknowledge that she is now a wolf. We pick up the story at the point where spring has arrived and Grace is now shifting back to her human body, albeit erratically as she struggles to control her switching between her two forms. Sam is now public enemy number one as he finds that he and Beck are implicated in not only Grace’s disappearance and possible death but also in the brutal murder of another girl. Shelby seems to be more out of control than ever and causing all kinds of bad publicity for the pack and Cole and Isobel are still apart although it is clear that neither want this to be the case. For their part, Isobel continues to struggle with her parents grief stricken behaviour which clashes horrendously with her devotion to her friends whilst Cole seems to be convinced that he’s the world next Louis Pasteur as he searches for a cure which will prevent the wolves from shifting should they want to. Worse is to come when Isobel finds out that her father has managed to successfully organise a cull of the wolves of Mercy Falls.
I liked the way that Stiefvater has wrapped up this story. Sam’s vulnerability still shines through in this book although it’s for a whole new variety of reasons. Grace’s struggle is beautifully written and the relationship between the two main characters is as tortured as it ever was given the switch in their circumstances. I also found myself more drawn to Cole and Isobel in this book. Thus far both characters had irritated me. I knew that deep down there was more going on than they were prepared to admit to the outside world but they didn’t seem to have the guts to do anything about it and that left me frustrated. In this book they really come into their own as they fight their inner demons and make a stand, particularly Isobel and I found myself really rooting for her at the end. One thing that didn’t change was my desire to give Grace’s and Isobel’s parents a healthy slap as for the most part they continue to bumble along in their own self-obsessed little worlds (I did have a glimmer of hope for Grace’s Mum at one point though!)
I don’t want to say too much about the storyline as I don’t want to give anything away. All I will say is help and betrayal turns up in the most unexpected of places in this book as the book crashes headlong into the cull that ends this chapter of Sam and Grace’s lives. The main characters are left to make choices which will dramatically change their lives, possibly even end them and the last few chapters had me completely gripped. One of the highlights of these books for me is the way that Stiefvater has left so much to the imagination. She provides just enough information throughout the story and leaves you to fill in the gaps for yourself rather than spoon feeding you the finer details. Some scenes are heartbreakingly beautiful whilst others make you so tense you have to go back and re-read sections because you’re so desperate to discover what the final outcome is for Sam and Grace that you start to skim the pages (or at least I did!). Forever is a perfect ending to the trilogy although I should point out here that if Maggie Stiefvater perhaps wanted to write another book about Sam and Grace, well I wouldn’t complain.