Let me just take a moment to process how much I love Cole. Linger is still telling Sam and Grace’s story but the focus widens a bit in this book. We are introduced to a couple of new perspectives. When I first started reading I was afraid that Stiefvater was going to cause me physical pain by introducing a love triangle that I would have to despise. Such a lack of faith.
Sam and Grace are relatively uncomplicated characters. Their chief conflicts in the first book were external. In this book they are battling with themselves most of the time and that has made them much more interesting.
Cole is a new character who is introduced in this book. He is a famous musician. Normally, this is a trope that I hate so much that I actually become incapable of finishing a book. Somehow, that is not the case here. I love Cole. Cole is an asshole. Seriously. No holds barred, I am going to say whatever shit is in my head, asshole. He is ridiculous, self-centered, and a terrible decision maker. I should not like him. At all. And yet I want to bring him home, get him therapy, and possible pat his head like a puppy. Is this a normal reaction to an asshole? I really found the way that Cole used being a wolf almost like it was a drug very interesting. Something to numb him and make him forget who he was.
I enjoyed how Maggie Stiefvater managed to make both Cole and Grace both intensely flawed and yet not defined by their flaws. Isabel in particular is a kind of abrasive that I would usually be repelled by and yet she used it to help other people. To get to the heart of the situation. To point out someone else’s blindness. She is somehow rough and sensitive at the same time.
One of the most satisfying part of this book was when Grace FINALLY tells off her parents in the most epic of all parental take downs. I was all for this as they are some of the worst parents ever while claiming that they are trying to help her for her own good. I can’t really blame them. I am not sure that I would be comfortable with my (hypothetical) daughter (or son) being in a relationship that is this insense so early. I would however hope that I would notice before she/he is moving in with her/his partner.
I have to say the whole book rests on the writing. If I really think through the plot there isn’t much there that is original and the pacing is slow. Even the characters could be seen as tropes. To take something that could feel exactly like so much else that has already been written and have the language elevate it like this takes talent. This is a book that invokes feelings. Having said that this isn’t my favorite of her books nor my favorite of her series. I feel like her writing has just gotten better.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being a human.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life a constant struggle between two forces--wolf and human--with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?