Sunday, August 28, 2011
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Like Shiver, Maggie uses split narrative to tell her story, but this time she uses four POV's rather than two. Personally, I think this is a dangerous way to tell a story when you're using the first person narrative. I've read a number of books that have tried it but have felt very few of them were stronger for it (please, don't get me started on Jacob's tour of the first person narrative in Breaking Dawn). For me the problem is that I bond differently with each character. Obviously, I don't like each character equally so when the narrative switches I may or may not be happy about it, but whether I like the character or not, some degree of disruption in the narrative flow occurs.
I think Shiver would have been a stronger book without the alternating narrative, but Maggie did a good enough job with it that it didn't hurt the book, I just don't feel like it enhanced it in any way. Again, in Linger, I would prefer that she hadn't used split narrative, but surprisingly I enjoyed it more here than I did there. For me the major reason for the improvement was the use of Cole. As I stated in my review of Shiver, I thought Maggie did a bad job with the male POV. She did a MUCH better job (although, not a perfect one) in Linger, particularly with Cole. Consequently, for me, the split POV did add SOMETHING because it showed that Maggie could write a more convincing male character.
As I said in my review of Shiver, I love Maggie's spin on the werewolf mechanics but the volatility of the catalyst made me dubious about some of the scenes. As it turns out, I was right to be dubious. In Linger, Maggie confronts this problem and while we still don't have a clear answer, an apparent defect in Shiver, has been cured to some extent.
My biggest problem with Linger was the middle book syndrome I mentioned above. But it isn't as bad as it could have been. Maggie creates a clear problem particular to this book and works thru it, so this book has purpose on it's own, but the book moves slower than it needs to primarily thru the inclusion of interesting but unnecesary interpersonal obstacles.
This was a solid second book and a minor improvement on the first. At the time of this writing, Forever, the third and final entry in the series has recently published. I'll be picking it up sooner rather than later.
Posted by Chris at 8:59 PM