Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

July 13, 2014 4 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 27 ★★★★

Review: Sinner by Maggie StiefvaterSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on July 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

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?


Another Maggie Stiefvater book to rave about

Indeed she said Sinner is the truest novel she’s ever written. I found that to have a dual meaning for me personally. In that it was the closest to straight contemporary fiction as well as it showed me deep truths about it’s characters. Lately I’ve been finding many YA books coming across as shallow. So it’s refreshing knowing Maggie’s got the goods right here.

Young adult, Contemporary Reality TV drama with a pinch of Paranormal

You heard me right – Sinner may have a paranormal element because of the fact that Cole is a werewolf but ultimately that is not a key part of the book to me. Substitute any other substance abuse or ‘recreational stress relief’ tactic in it’s place and this book would in no way be a paranormal fantasy. What it really is, is a contemporary drama. But a damn fine one at that! There are no qualms here. Just don’t go in expecting the wolf business to be a huge part of the story because at least in my opinion it was not. I think this ties into a letter that the author writes to the readers at the beginning of the book – which I notice is only in the ARC version and not in the published version because of course you know I snagged a final version as well. The last paragraph of the letter to her readers goes like this:

It’s also, despite the shape-shifting, the truest novel I’ve written. I hope that those who don’t need the truth in it will see only the werewolf, and I hope that those who do need the truth will see only the human.

I see your truth Maggie and it’s moving. We’re all a little bit broken and this novel lets you see those beautifully broken bits about the characters and how they strive towards mending themselves and how more often than not you need to allow others in to help with the mending. I know I’ve heard it said before that you can’t love someone fully until you learn to love yourself but I don’t believe that’s true – I think sometimes, you need someone to love you, to believe in you – to realize that there is something in yourself worth loving after all. Alright I’ll stop being all sappy and soggy. On with it!

Hot and Cold, In and Out – someone glue their asses to the floor

Probably some of the most fun in this book I had while reading was wondering – “when will the bitch switch flip next?” That’s right. Isabel is more hot and cold than any other character I’ve ever seen. She wants reasons to fight what she’s feeling for Cole. I think normally behavior like this would piss me off but I love Isabel’s character and I enjoyed seeing the struggle she goes through. It read real and not contrived – so I didn’t have a problem with it at all. It is indeed one of the biggest themes in the book, so keep that in mind if that sort of thing bugs you. If so, then you might want to bugger off of this one. *wink*

Secondary characters worth their salt

You know when the secondary characters are just thrown on there as the necessary window dressing to complete a story? That is not the case here. I cared about both of the main secondary characters. Though it’s told from the dual perspectives of Isabel and Cole you still key in on the people that are important to them and they in turn become important to you. Isabel and Cole are extremely selfish, self centered people, but despite that I care about them and I didn’t get angry with them because of their behavior (as I am often want to do when I find a character selfish). Perhaps it’s because you can see underneath their selfish exteriors to the good underneath they are so used to ignoring. They invest time in people like Sophia and Leon and that proves they aren’t as selfish as we or they themselves might think they are. And in the trend of broken characters these two also have something about themselves that is unique to them that makes you want to invest your feelings in them as well.

And everything changes while it all stays the same

Does the core of a person every fundamentally change? Who the hell knows. I mean really do Isabel and Cole have these earth shattering changes to their persons making them into bright shiny new people? You’ll have to read Sinner to find out your own perspective and it is most certainly well worth the read.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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27 Responses to “Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. kimbacaffeinate

    I haven’t read the trilogy, but I believe my oldest did in college. I will be sure she hears about this one. Great review Tabitha. I hope your summer is going well.
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  2. Danya @ Fine Print

    You know, I really liked Isabel and her moods. After everything he’s done to her family, well…he deserves some SERIOUS hot and cold action. The only thing I had issue with in this one was the ending, which felt a bit abrupt. Everything just wraps up so quickly and tidily. Personally I would’ve liked an epilogue, but hey, that’s just me!
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    • Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

      This is definitely sometime after the trilogy, not very long tho. Isabel is at least 18 or older and in college going for a medical degree.

      I would consider this NA no problem. But then I haven’t rEad NA so wouldn’t know if it meets any specific requirements
      Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Sinner by Maggie StiefvaterMy Profile

  3. Mogsy

    I’m looking forward to this! It’s been a long time since I read the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, but I’m sure it’ll all come back. Especially since it’s about two characters from the original books who deserve more attention. I’m so over Sam and…and…whatever the hell her name is. We still haven’t remembered 😛

  4. Kirsty-Marie

    I couldn’t get into the Shiver series, though I loved The Raven Boys…but I think I started Shiver ages ago when I was in my paranormal phase and I think I just burned out. So I’ll have to try them again some time so I can read this. 🙂
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Winners CurseMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I think it was because those Shiver books were sooo slow. At least I felt they were. I really enjoyed them – but if I hadn’t read them before I started the whole book blogging gig I might not have made it through them because of the pace.

      YOu do NOT have to read the trilogy before reading this one. Luckily this is pretty much a stand alone. Its nice for back story but not completely necessary. This one also starts off much quicker then the trilogy books do.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…William Campbell Powell gives us: A Missing Journal Entry from Expiration DayMy Profile

  5. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I can’t wait to read this one! It’s even out of the bedside pile, and on the actual nightstand. I love Stiefvater, so it’s definitely an issue of “when,” not “if.” Glad you weren’t disappointed! And you know my drill–I’ll come back and read this more intelligently when I read the book for myself 😉
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  6. Kel (Booked til Tuesday)

    I haven’t read Shiver, but this sounds kind of cool. And very interesting thoughts! I’ve sometimes thought loving others first, getting the focus off you, opens you to loving yourself.

    Sounds like the drama meter might read a bit high for me, but we’ll see. As for change
    …that song in Frozen said people don’t really change. 😉
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  7. Annie

    This is a fantastic review. I haven’t read Sinner and I don’t normally read reviews before I read the book. But I was curious about Sinner after hearing so much from Maggie on Twitter and tumblr.

    I love the balance you present between characteristics that may normally be annoying but don’t make these characters unlikable. And I really appreciate learning that it’s more contemporary than paranormal.
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