I'm afraid my meaning might've been misinterpreted. I didn't mean entertainment as in throwing out craft. I think it takes as much skill to write a strictly entertaining book as it does a Work of Art.
I was thinking more, for example, a writer like Dumas or Hemingway compared to someone like Melville or Faulkner. Then I finished reading Shiver, and I have to say, it fits beautifully into that concept.
The book got a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and I agree that her writing is at times stunning. Absolutely gorgeous.
There are passages describing the wolves and the forest that are so poetic, you can almost smell the earthy mildew of fall and the chill of winter coming...
It's really nice and very artistic.
And for the first half of the book, the romance between Sam and Grace is tense and engrossing. (He saved her life! It's his last summer as a human!)
But at about 60 percent in, the book literally stalled. I'm not kidding.
The poorly explained responses to situations, and the set-ups that never played out were frustrating. And more than once I felt like Stiefvater didn't have a good grip on Grace's character. Her behavior was often contradictory--romantic and dreamy one minute, stoic and withdrawn the next.
I pushed through it, and the story did pick up again. And I can say this: The book ends very well.
So it's an artistic novel, but on the entertainment side, I was disappointed.
Now I'm going to contradict all of that and give a True Confession. I can see teenage Leigh LOVING this book.
Contradictory behavior? Inexplicable conflicts with parents? Isn't that what being a teenager is all about? And swooney love with a sexy sexy scene (heads up, Moms). Oh, yeah. All my little friends and I would've been passing this one around.
Teenage Leigh would've given this book an A+ with stars all around it. And I'm sure she would've already rushed out and bought the sequel, Linger.
So what's the message? I guess that it's all subjective.
Personally, I love romance, but I also like my romantic characters to do something. Of course I want to spend a little time on two characters making the astonished realization that they love someone and that the other someone feels the same way (!).
That's a big, life-changing discovery at any age.
Please give them their moment, but then get them off the couch and get them moving. Keep the conflict and problem solving going. Do continue throwing in some smooches and quiet moments, but don't stall out there.
I felt like Stiefvater became so enamored of her lovers being in love that she forgot what they were supposed to be doing. (Psst--It was figuring out how to stop Sam from changing back into a wolf forever!)
So for this reader, I say A for artistic writing, but B- on storytelling. And I'd love to hear your thoughts--both those who've read the book(s) and those who just have an opinion on the whole thing.
Until Thursday, have a great week~ <3