*I purchased Foreverby Maggie Stiefvater from Bookingham Palace in Salmon Arm
I think the truest testament to how engrossed I was in this novel is that I didn’t notice the text was in red ink until about halfway through. When I’m really into a story I forget about the physical object in my hand and the individual words and it all just flows like a movie in my mind, only more intimate, like I’m experiencing it. This is how Forever felt for me, although I have to say after a few hours that red text hurt my eyes.
When I reviewed Linger (the 2nd installment in the trilogy) I expressed some disappointment with how the series was progressing but Stiefvater made up for that disappointment by coming through with a fantastic finish.
“I was a radio tuned to all stations at the same time, so many thoughts inside me that none of them counted” (107)
The characters were incredibly relatable, with genuine reactions to the events in their lives, and distinct voices as the narrative shifted. I never had trouble telling who the narrator of a particular chapter was even though it jumps around and I tend to skip over the name above the chapter when I’m really into the action.
I’d always had trouble with Grace, relating more to Sam but I think Grace’s character development blossomed as she struggled with her new identity in this novel.
It’s funny that Cole and Isabel’s relationship began as purely sexual attraction, and Sam and Grace shared a bed for months without going there, but their sexual chemistry was far more compelling.
“She fisted a handful of my T-shirt; the action woke me up instantly and guiltily made me think of at least four things that were not bedtime stories or selfless ways to comfort a grieving girl” (185)
The tension in Sam’s point of view when he’s having feelings for her despite the horrible circumstances and feeling guilty that when they are in danger he’s distracted by how close he is to touching her was really well written. There’s a section where he’s fantasizing about the life he wishes he could have with her, and I loved the first half where he was imagining her studying next to him as he reads, and the simple joy he gets from being in a room for her.
There was quite a bit of action in the novel, with people being torn apart by wolves and the big hunt looming made it suspenseful, however my favourite parts were the introspective moments. Each of the characters struggles with being defined by their history, there is a beautiful balance of their personalities being shaped by their upbringing, and defying what’s done to them. Sam is suspected of being a terrible person because of how he was abused. Someone asks how he could be anything but a monster having been treated as he was by his biological parents, and he wonders himself if Beck has raised him to be monstrous. Grace’s neglectful parents have instilled in her a sense of independence. Cole’s drug abuse and suicidal tendencies and Isabel’s confrontational, cold nature are equally explored.
Being a bookworm myself I enjoyed the various take’s on Beck’s library. All of the narrators view it differently but I prefered Grace’s interpretation.
“a cave of words that I’d made myself” (170)
If you haven’t read this series or if you’ve only read the first installment, I’d say Forever makes it worth the read.I doubt the movie will do it justice.