Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Scholastic, 368 Pages
Source: ARC from BEA 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5
Follow up to: Forever
Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes. But what’s the point? What is there to win?
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to love each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.
Probably one of the most angsty (angstiest?) books I’ve read all year but, I LOVED IT.
It was amazing, actually, to see more of Cole’s POC – I know we got a little taste of it in Forever, but more is always better in the case of Cole St. Clair. He always seemed to be the most..colorful of the characters from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Pair him with Isabel in a dual POV book post-Forever, and it is angst heaven – or hell. However you choose to look at it.
Seriously, this book had so much tension in it – I thought my head was going to explode from the pressure. And it’s not the same kind of tension that was present in the three previous books of this series – Shiver, Linger, and Forever were always racing toward an end goal (I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t read these books!). But Sinner was more about the change in both Cole and Isabel (especially Cole) and I kept waiting to see him regress and mess up his life (a la Crazy Rock Star). Character-wise and dynamic-wise, Cole and Isabel are so unlike Sam and Grace from the previous books, and yet I still like them. They’re snarky and witty and damaged. I suppose some might say Cole and Isabel are the “real” character – but I’ll always have a place in my heart from Sam and Grace.
I loved the change of setting to LA. I loved the writing (tons of quotable material in this book), but more than anything, I just loved the way I felt when I closed this book. The synopsis says that it’s a standalone novel but I don’t think a reader will get the same enjoyment or satisfaction if they haven’t read the first three books. Thought, it has been a while since I read Forever, so I was glad for the refresher info in Sinner.
If the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy was an external struggle, then Sinner is the opposite of that. This was all internal struggle and I think that’s what made it such a good read, especially if you read the first three books, you understand why Cole is the way that he is.
The ending wrapped up fairly quickly and it was still “time driven” in the sense of a 6 week YouTube show timeline, but I still felt like it was extremely character driven and I love love loved it.