SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS BOOKS DO NOT PROCEED! BUT THESE BOOKS ARE TOTALLY AWESOME SO YOU SHOULD READ THEM!
Cole St. Clair is so impossibly cool that I can’t even with him. That is, until Isabel walks back onto the pages. She might just be cooler. And, since their introduction in the earlier books of the series I’ve totally loved them and totally ship them and I couldn’t, couldn’t wait to read this book when it came out. I even managed to score a signed copy despite the fact that I was traveling for work in Maggie Stiefvater was in my little hamlet.
I’ve listened to these books on audio, so even though I knew I had a signed copy waiting for me at home I downloaded the book as well from audible. This recording has Dan Bittner and Emma Galvin returning as the voices of Cole and Isabel. Bittner has this great deep and expressive voice; he is totally Cole. And, Galvin does an amazing job of sounding cold and annoyed and distant (all effected, of course) just like you’d expect from Isabel. This recording was great.
I really enjoyed this tying up of loose ends from the series. When you have these books with magical creatures (in this case: werewolves) you expect that whatever the main conflict will be, it’ll be somehow triggered by the magic. But, this book thwarts this expectation because Cole the werewolf has trouble shifting into and maintaining his werewolf form. He can shift but only with medical (read: a crazy cocktail of intravenous drugs that he found through experimentation) help. The demons in this book are Cole and Isabel’s personal demons. They have to deal with their own internal drama or face being stuck where they are emotionally forever. That made this book personal in a way because we’ve all been there. But, it was also beautiful and hopeful because Isabel and Cole both fumbled and fucked up and picked themselves back up on their way to a resolution that represented personal growth. Of course, I cried at the end.
Stiefvater is one of my favorite contemporary authors and novels like this are why. She’s taking fantasy genres and using them to explore topics (drug use, divorce, growing up, falling in love, moving on with your life) that are and will always be relevant. (I also feel like she’s re-writing the script for what it means to be a woman and an author but that is a topic for another post.)