Review: Maggie Stiefvater – Sinner

Sinner
Maggie Stiefvater
Cole is an appropriately tortured musician with the usual past of drug use and overdoses. The difference is that he has the ability to turn into a werewolf – but only if he uses drugs or gets cold physically. His love from the past doesn’t believe anything of what he says about being clean. Torturing each other and themselves seems to be the way to go when you’re on reality television.
Isabel is all I would hope for in a heroine. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, and she has a firm position in life. Yet at the same time, she has underlying insecurities to make her real. She isn’t as powerful a character as Cole though, despite getting equal air time.
I enjoyed that the novel was written from both perspectives. It kept the book moving, and didn’t feel repetitive. I’m not sure I noticed a difference in tone between the two, but the feelings emanating out of them were distinct, even as they ripped the characters themselves apart.
The characters have flaws, they’re the sort of people you’d expect to find in Hollywood. As far as I could tell though, none of them try to change. I had hoped from more from Sofia, and I just didn’t get it. She doesn’t show any character development, and I think that while that is reasonable, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the way things were left – surely Cole and Isabel could make more of a project of her!
The action progresses almost effortlessly. The writing style is clean and to the point. Stiefvater has nailed the right mix between dialogue and scenery. Once one scene is filled out, you do need to remember what it is – she expects the reader to become engaged with the novel.
I put off reading this book until far after its publication date because I thought it was the 4th book in a series. Instead when I sat down to get through my backlog of novels, I discovered that it was a stand alone. There were hints to the past, that if you hadn’t read the other novels, allowed you to pick up what came before – tantalisingly so you wanted to keep reading to see whether your suspicions were confirmed.
Is this romance? Sort of. but it’s a gritty romance that makes you think you don’t know how it ends, and that, for me, is the best part. 4 stars from me, simply because it’s not a reread. But as a piece of standalone fiction, it’s excellent.

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