Review: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) – Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: July 1st 2014
Published By: Scholastic Press
Pages: 357
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

Review: Maggie Stiefvater never fails to disappoint me, and she certainly did not with this ‘The Wolves of Mercy Falls’ companion novel!

In Sinner, we see Cole re-entering Isabel’s life. After leaving Mercy Falls, Isabel had tried to forget about Cole; tried to forget about the boy she may have loved, tried to forget that she knew the real boy behind the fallen rock-star, and tried to forget that the boy who may have stolen her heart was also a wolf. But now that Cole has arrived in LA, can Isabel stop herself from falling for this bad-boy rock-star once again? And can Cole really return to stardom without turning into the person he was before his fall?

Maggie’s ability to write in a way that makes us feel is extraordinary - with her poignant prose and beautifully poetic storytelling, her writing does not encourage visualisation, it demands it. Maggie pulls you in the scene with her amazing ability evoke all of your senses. We also get to see Maggie’s undeniable magical gift when it comes to writing a book involving music once again. Maggie doesn’t stop with “Cole is rockstar” - we are actually taken on a journey on what it is like to be inside a musician’s mind, the process of creating music. I love these additional qualities that Maggie brings to a story, it is interesting and effortless, and creates a whole new experience for the reader. Oh, and her other magical gift - cars. Yes, we get some great car action in Sinner too!

Cole has made many mistakes in his past. And ‘Cole St. Clair’ has certainly made an amazing amount of mistakes. And in Sinner, we get to see the difference between these two personalities. We get to see more of the real Cole - not the face that he puts on for the public. Sure, he has a rock-star attitude, he knows what the crowd wants and how to give it to them… but that is ‘Cole St. Clair’. Cole is a different person, who has his own demons and desires. It is heartbreaking to watch Cole struggle throughout Sinner, but yet it is also amazingly enchanting and heart-warming as we watch him try to overcome his past, and present.

I absolutely loved being inside Cole’s head in Sinner - as we get to explore both his past and current addictions in a way that we never did in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, the tragedies in his past that haunt him still, the highs and lows of fame, the allure and power of the inner wolf, and of course, the struggle of being in love with the ice-queen, Isabel. I have always had faith in Cole. He proved that he can step up and do what he to do, even if he didn’t like it. But, this is his journey - can he stand up and be the hero, or will his personal demons get the better of him?

Isabel is such a complex character, filled with contradictions such being extremely self-aware and yet completely oblivious. In many ways, she is more messed up than Cole is. She doesn’t want to get hurt, yet to stop that from happening she in turn hurts herself. She runs from herself, pushes others away and puts on her own public face of ice queen. Isabel goes on a huge journey throughout Sinner, and while she retained all of the characteristics that I love about her, there were a few moments where I really didn’t like her. Really, really didn’t like her.

What I loved about Cole and Isabel in The Wolves of Mercy Falls was not only them as characters, but how they interacted together. Banter, honesty (mostly), desire, hostility, ego, charisma, humour, attraction, Their interactions were filled with sin and innocence, and it was the start of a beautiful, heartbreaking and turbulent relationship. And this is explored even further in Sinner. I think that Cole and Isabel are a truly fascinating couple. Their relationship is tumultuous, messy, filled with love and ice, banter and desire, fear and yearning… but at the end of the day, they truly know each other. Both are sinner and sin, but can Cole and Isabel save each other?

Sinner is a standalone novel, and it can be read as just that. I loved that Sinner was a whole new world, a completely different setting and feeling to that of The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It was harder, faster, with more sassy and angst and it is definitely more adult than Sinner, Linger and Forever. You do not need to know the whole backstory of what happened in Mercy Falls as what you need to know is covered within Sinner, but I would recommend reading The Wolves of Mercy Falls series first, so that you understand the backstory of Cole and Isabel, their relationship, and why they are the way they are (to everyone, and to each other).

Sinner is captivating and wrought with emotion. Full of pain, angst, heartache, addiction, anguish and desire, Sinner will capture you from the very beginning right up until very end.



I’m a werewolf in L.A.

“Oh, ugly has hurt some things. It’s just that pretty hurts more.”

“My feet have taken me to some pretty rough places.”
“That was your dick, dragging your feet along with”

“It was the first time I’d really realized I’d lost my soul and that the beauty of not having a soul was that you couldn’t seem to care that you no longer had one.”

“I gave so many damns at once that it actually hurt.”

“I came here for you.”

“I can’t change the way I’m made. I’m a performer, a singer, a werewolf, a sinner.”


What do you think?

  • So I’m not reading your review because I haven’t read past Shiver in the series, but I do plan to. But I’m psyched that you gave Sinner 4.5 stars. It’s not often that books beyond the trilogy level maintain the level of quality of the first in the series, so a 4.5 on a 4th book is encouraging. Now to go actually read the rest of the series…

    • Kristy says:

      :) I hope you enjoy The Wolves of Mercy Fall series Leila. And even though you haven’t read my review, please know that you can read Sinner as a standalone (but you get a lot more back story by reading the series). This book is a different tone, and a different setting to the previous series, but just as good!

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