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Stranger Than Fiction

Forever

Forever - Maggie Stiefvater Following my quest to get to the bottom of why The Mercy Falls Trilogy is continuing into a stand alone novel later this year (2014), I went straight from Linger to Forever so that when I'm confronted with that task, I'll be ready. From what I gathered, Forever (and Linger to the same extent) were met with unfavorable views. They paled to Shiver and I get it. Shiver in itself stands alone pretty well. It completed it's story with a happy ending and everyone got what they wanted. With few plot holes that needed to be tightened, I'd say Shiver would make a pretty good stand alone. That rarely works these days, does it? One has to expand those plot holes with whole books plugging up the ones in the first book while making their own. Linger finished up Shivers nicely, but with that gaping hole blown out the back end, it had to be patched over with Forever

There's not a lot I feel is wrong with Forever that I haven't already brought up in my last two reviews (mainly Linger) but it's always worth mentioning that I still think Sam and Grace are incredibly boring. The two pretty much capped in character development in Shiver when they got their original happy ending.

There's still a few things that bothered me or left me wondering "Why?"

First off, Grace's decision making. Forever in some sense screams Breaking Dawn. She says she wants to tell her best friend Rachel (one who seemed to conveniently stop coming around after Sam) that she's still alive and talks to Isabel about it and is met with disagreement. She wants to expose herself to her parents and again, that's met with more disagreement. The end result is that she gets to keep her friend, attend Olivia's funeral, and manages to reach an agreement with her parents with very minimal fighting. Hell, it feels like Sam left some sort of positive imprint on Grace's mother after he went after her when seeing her on the street.

The exchange with her parents sent my opinion of them off kilter and I don't know how I feel about them in the end. I liked how they were handled in Linger. I felt they weren't completely vilified here but Grace's treatment of them is gross. She acts like, in comparison, everyone else's home life is a cake walk compared to hers. The second her parents put their feet down, Grace flips her shit and blames them for not raising her better. There's a lot I could add here in regards to the parental situation but I can sum it up with I can't help but feel a little sympathetic to her parents.

The ending was a mixed bag for many. Isabel is gone, Cole is doing his thing and Grace and Sam prepare for life 'together'. Sam is considered 'healed' and Cole has prepared some Meningitis for Grace when she goes primal. It has Sam reaching out his hand to Grace and it ends like that. Maggie Stievater released a video afterwards defending the end of Forever and I can honestly agree with her thoughts and opinions about giving her characters that kind of happily ever after as I do enjoy being able to think about what these characters get to do afterwards. I get to decide if the cure works on Grace. It feels like one of the stronger points of the last third of the book. The only thing that broke it for me was Grace telling her parents she was going to the Netherlands with Rachel as it felt like a surefire way to write out the best friend and parents, but your mileage may very depending on where you fall in regards to Grace's relationship with friends and family outside of the core four characters.

Over all? These three books were a good read. Surprising since there's a lot of things I disagree with but there's a lot of things that were handled rather well. While I find Grace rather disrespectful to her parents, I find most of her actions to be realistic. I liked that Sam was facing consequences and not everything came up roses. Cole and Isabel will always be my favorites and in closing, I can honestly say I'm waiting anxiously for Sinner.