sinnerMaggie Stiefvater

Cole St Clair is back in L.A. to make a music and to appear on a online reality show hosted by the notorious Baby North. But is that his only reason for being back? After all, Isabel Culpeper lives in L.A. too these days, and they have unfinished business to take care of….

Fans of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy will welcome this companion volume which concentrates on two secondary characters from the series.  Secondary maybe, but also favourites for legions of readers (including yours truly),  who   have been waiting for Sinner with bated breath. It does not disappoint.
Those looking for paranormal romance however might be disappointed. This book is about two young people, damaged by life, trying to find their way through and towards each other. It is about all-consuming love and lust, not werewolves. The wolf inside of Cole is still here but rather than be central to the story, it appears like a metaphor for addiction of any kind, but also for anything in life that one cannot quite let go of and is preventing them from moving forward. The wolf is what is holding Cole, and Isabel to a certain extent, back.
Cole and Isabel’s story is intense, raw, messy, human, and this is emphasised  by the tw0-voice narration which works well again in this volume, and makes Sinner a tense read, conveying both protagonists’ feelings but also irritation with each other perfectly. Their endless spats and continuous colliding are intensely frustrating for the reader, and make it all the more real.

There is no doubt that reading about intense, all-consuming love will be particularly satisfying for teen readers, but was is particularly touching about these two characters is that they crave normality and peace above everything else, even if they are not willing to admit it. Both have calming constants in their lives (Sophia for Isabel, Jeremy for Cole) who are pivotal to the development of their story.

It would be unfair to say too much and spoil it, particularly as the author chooses to keep her readers guessing more or less to the very end. However, what I can say is that Sinner is fast, sharp, gripping, and ferociously well written.  Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller and wordcrafter, and her observations of the entertainment  culture and status of fame of today are astute. She offers us yet again another shining example that successful teen fiction, particularly in this genre,  is not synonym of dumb-down writing, but rather eloquent, powerful, discerning and beautiful prose.

Source: review copy from publisher

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