First off that cover is so beautiful, it gives me Shivers! (Ok, a little cheesy.)
I can see why this book is really hot right now. It is pretty sweet, I even went as far to buy the hard copy edition. (Which I only do for books I can't wait to have, and then I still don't buy them hard back.)
That was kind of a big leap for me, I had read Stiefvater's Lament and thought it was a cheep rip off of Wicked Lovely, or Tithe. So I put a lot of faith in this one.
The idea of werewolves not changing by the lunar cycle, but the the temperature was a very nice and original idea. 40f degrees seems to be the changing point for the older wolves. After so many winters they start to turn human later and later when the warm weather comes. The whole wolf pack was fun to learn about, who each member was and a little back ground on them. How each loved or hated the change, how they dealt with the time they were human.
During a harsh winter the wolves haven't been getting food, one of the more feral members of the pack drags a little girl, Grace, off of her swing in the backyard. She doesn't respond when they nip her, even when they really start to eat her. Grace is his(Sam's) bloody angel, and he must save her, the need to save her is so strong that he actually shifts back to human form to save her. For Grace it was love at first sight, even if she only knows him as a wolf.
It was really sweet how Sam came back to see if she had changed, and kept checking on her. Clinging on to her even in his wolf form, his hold on humanity. Sam was her wolfy obsession, something to spice up her very independent and uptight life. This goes on for a while, until events bring the human Sam to Grace's door.
Sam was a great main character, he didn't hate being a werewolf, but Sam “is the best of them,” and clearly loves his human side. The more I found out about him, I just fell in love. Sam is a musician and his lyrics bounce about, his soft personality filling the pages. Every time the story switched over to Grace I couldn't read fast enough to get to him again. I wanted to know everything about him. Confession time, I developed a very scary crush on the poor boy.
That was the problem, I couldn't connect with Grace. Her parents left her a lone a lot, she took care of herself and took care of her parents more then they new. For the first half of the book, it felt like Grace was just a filler character. I just don't know how to describe it, she was telling not living the book. At last, towards the end things started to snap into place, but I still depended on Sam heavily to make the story. Grace was a push over, didn't ask questions enough. When it sounded like things were getting a little iffy, like dead bodies and forced werewolf infections, not a peep from her.
Another sore point for me is that no one ever mentions how irresponsible Grace's parents are. Not only do they allow their daughter to get dragged off and snacked on by wolves. After that her father leaves her in a hot car during the hottest day of the summer. So after almost two near death experience her family basically leaves her alone to take care of herself and them. They don't even notice that Sam is living with them.
This book isn't all about sappy love spewing. There's a plot and it ended up being really fun. Why did Grace survive being bitten and not change? A teenager was killed by wolves, but his body has disappeared. Sam has transformed early again after being shot, but there's another wolf that's still roaming about, and this could very well be Sam's last time. The entire cast of this book were great add, and this book ends up being pretty sad and gritty to the end. Don't worry it's a fairy tale worthy ending, even if it leaves a couple questions floating about.
Bottom Line: Lovers of romance, and the romantic cynic, will love this book. It's well fleshed out and has some great ideas that set it apart in the ever growing Urban Fantasy genre. Plus, Sam is so lovable, readers just might find themselves crushing on him! The beginning is slow, but the build up is perfect and will leave you thinking over all the rich details long after the story is done. Dark and gritty, but always hopeful.
Some boyfriend/girlfriend smooch and make out scenes, one very mild bedroom scene.
3/5- Good, I liked it.