Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Conclusion of Mercy Falls Wolves

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3)
It is hard seeing the final book of a beloved series be released, knowing it means that is it for your favorite characters. And the worst is if your started the series with the first book, waiting a year or more for each installment. After a few years, you look forward to that last book with as much anticipation as dread. That is how I felt about Forever, by Maggie Stiefvater, the conclusion of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.

Grace saved Sam from becoming a wolf forever by injecting him with meningitis, which fought off the wolf. Bought what neither of them expected, was that Grace was becoming a wolf. The horrible fever she had as a child that stopped her from shifting wasn't permanent. Just as Sam is cured, Grace is lost. Without Grace, Sam is completely lost. it doesn't help that Grace is officially missing and the entire town, Grace's dad and the police included, think Sam killed her. But there are bigger problems in Mercy Falls than Grace and Sam. Isabel's father, seeking revenge on the wolves he thinks killed his son, has finally won his petition to remove the Mercy Falls pack from the protected list and organize a hunt via helicopter- one where the wolves will have no chance of survival.

With Grace, Beck, and the others out in the pack, Isabel, Sam and Cole are desperate to find a way to stop the hunt. Cole takes a different means of attack by trying to simultaneously find a way to catch a wolf (Grace in particular) and cure them or turn them human again (even if only briefly). While Cole's ego is tough to take at times, his devotion to Grace and Sam leads him to practice his concoctions on himself. Even Isabel, who can't admit she loves him, thinks he has lost it. What they don't understand is that Cole has never really had family before, and he considers them family and will do anything to save them. When the hunt is moved up, they must do anything to get the wolves to safety, even if it means trusting people they never thought they could trust. The fate of the Mercy Falls wolves are in the hands (or paws) of a few teenagers. Can they pull it off?

I hate to say it, but I was underwhelmed by this story. The excitement of saving the wolves was basically ignored (with the exception of Cole) until the last quarter of the book. Most of the book was Sam pining for Grace and Grace unable to control her shifting. It left me a little annoyed with the main characters and more interested in the chapters about Cole and Isabel. Cole's character is the most interesting, with his crusty exterior and complete, surprising devotion to the people he now calls family. Otherwise, the story was very slow until the very end. I was surprised and expected more from the final installment of this series.

The story is appropriate for any middle school through high school student. As the last piece of a trilogy, it won't make much sense without having read the first two books. I am sure anyone who got this far will want to read the book to finish out the series. I was, however, very happy with the ending. It was bittersweet, but I think it ended well. Now I will be waiting impatiently for Stiefvater's new series to be released!

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