by Maggie Stiefvater
Read: May 31 - June 1, 2014
Published: July 1, 2014 by Scholastic Press
Source: BEA read #1
Category: L.A., Rockstars, Paranormal, Wolves, Contemporary feel, YA/NA
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved? (From Goodreads)
It's been 6 months since the end of Forever when Isabel was banished to L.A. and Cole disappeared from her life into the woods of Minnesota. Now he's back in L.A. to record music, participate in a reality show and/or to get Isabel back. Isabel is still a mess after the loss of her brother, and with her parents impending breakup. Cole never does anything the simple way, and she's not sure she can trust this volatile boy who broke her heart. But Cole is good at getting what he wants. Is there a future for these two?
I could sense the bright glare of L.A. on the pages of this book, in all its Technicolor glory. Although I've never been to the city, Sinner has a palpably different texture to it than rest of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and fit the bold, vibrant - and sometimes destructive - characters of Cole and Isabel as if it were another character in their messy, loud story. Even the way Cole's wolf nature works into the plot, fit the setting and made the story feel more contemporary than paranormal.
I fell in love with Cole again in Sinner. He's not perfect, and he often does things the hard way, but he also feels so much and is incredibly alive. In this book, Cole especially, has to face his past, and Isabel has to figure out if she can trust him despite it. I really like that this story doesn't gloss over what he's done and who he is - or the sins he could fall into again. But he made me want to root for him, despite his questionable choices at times. There is something incredibly magnetic about Cole. His friendships with Leon and Jeremy, and even his phone calls with Sam and Grace, were highlights of this story for me.
Isabel is prickly and all hard edges in this story. I think her characterization was also done well. I could understand exactly why she was so abrasive, as much as it made me not want to like her in moments. But near the end of the book, I needed to see a little more from her than we got. There were even a few moments where I began to disconnect from her, as the drama and angst kicked up. After that I was desperate for a more communication between Isabel and Cole before the book ended, but that didn't happen to the degree I wanted.
Although I was happy with the end of Sinner, it wasn't as emotionally satisfying as I'd hoped. It was too abrupt for me. I wanted to see more of Isabel and Cole working towards the conclusion, instead of the big moment that happened. But the ending does fit the mood of the story, and it is one of the most clear and settled of all of Stiefvater's finales. Readers who struggled with ambiguity at the end of Forever should not worry about this one. (I loved Forever, BTW.)
I adore Maggie Stiefvater's writing. The way she crafts words and creates characters and gets inside of them. Her wackiness is in all it's glory out in LA. And of course her love of cars, is present as always. But this wasn't my favorite of hers. It was too bright and glaring in this book for me to live with Cole and Isabel long-term. I wanted to get back to Sam and Grace in Minnesota. Somewhere greener and wetter. I'm glad I visited, but I'm happy to leave Cole and Isabel to their California life.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone/series conclusion