When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.
Sam and Grace's love has been tested time and time again. Now in Forever, they face the biggest challenge of all. With their roles reversed, and Grace now the wolf, Sam is utterly devastated. Not only do they have lost time to worry about, but also the huge threat of annihilation hangs over their heads as a hunt to destroy every last wolf looms in the near future. They have the fight of their lives ahead of them and they will have to rely on their very unstable friends, Cole and Isabel to have any chance. With two very different paths and hard choices they all must make, this is the turning point with one slight nudge either way being their salvation, or their doom.
Forever was breathtaking, it was beautiful, or rather I should say that it felt like it should have been those things. While I had the impression of beauty, what I mostly felt was a sense of lacking. The entire time I was reading it, I felt like I was on the precipice of something wonderful, yet it never once took that step over the edge. The entire time I was reading Forever, I kept asking "Where is the great love story that we saw in Shiver?" In Shiver, the love between Sam and Grace was so enriching and heartfelt, you just knew that they were absolutely perfect together. Flash forward to Forever, and you have a sense that love is still. Yet this time around I felt I was being told about their love rather than feeling it deeply as I did in Shiver. I felt being told rather than shown lessened the impact of their love and the overall story. In fact it seemed they were so cautious around each other as if they were walking on egg shells at times, and I just couldn't grasp why. Perhaps it was the severe role reversal that made them not so sure of themselves anymore and that translated over to their relationship as well.
The true shining stars of Forever were Cole and Isabel. They both could be described as nothing less than severely damaged, each for very different reasons. At many points throughout the series it felt as if both of them were well past the point of no return, yet in the next moment something would happen that gave a glimmer of hope. In Forever, their growth is exponential, yet very realistic as severe damage cannot heal over night. I highly doubt either of them will ever truly be "right", but at least they seem to finally be on the right path. As far as them together, well I'm not really sure what they really are, but I do know that there is something very real there under it all. A memorable quote between them would be Isabel saying "You're an addiction," and his response being "You should know." This really summed them up, showing not only the depth between them, but also the innate dysfunction they both have. Perhaps this is an even better example:
"Cole kissed me.. It was the sort of kiss that would take a long time to recover from. You could take each of our kisses, from the very first moment we'd met and put them on a slide in a microscope, and I was pretty sure what you'd find. Even an expert would see nothing on the first one, and then on the next one, the start of something - mostly outnumbered, easily destroyed - and then more and more until finally this one, something that even the untrained eye could spot. Evidence that we'd probably never be cured of each other, but we might be able to keep it from killing us."
I think this more than anything shows the utter rawness of the two, making them the complete opposite of Sam and Grace, yet somehow still as powerful of an impact in the end.
That ending, if you can really call it a true ending, just left me rather unsatisfied. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy a slightly open ending that hints at possibilities for the future. Forever just felt like it was rushed and randomly cut off with no real clear path set ahead. I prefer at least some sort of satisfaction and a sense of completeness and unfortunately Forever fell completely flat in that department. I've heard many people say that Shiver should have been a stand alone novel, and I can't help but agree with them to an extent. I do think that I would have missed the growth we saw in Cole and Isabel, both as individuals and as a potential couple. Yet again, I was left with some frustration in the lack of concreteness in their future. So in the end, I can't say I regret sticking through this series and reading past Shiver, but I am little glad that I borrowed Forever from the library rather than purchasing it. However, none of this means I have lost my faith in Maggie Stiefvater's ability to craft a truly beautiful love story and I will still be on the lookout for future novels.