Wolves of Mercy Falls: Sinner

Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780545654579
Pages: 357

Los Angeles couldn’t be further away from Mercy Falls, Minnesota. Cole St. Clair, though he played an instrumental role in saving the werewolf pack there, is hitting the road, and sunny California is his goal. The official reason for his big move is his attempt to produce a new album, do a webshow, and break back into the rockstar world. His real reason, however, is going to prove a lot more difficult. Isabel Culpepper, former Ice Queen of Mercy Falls, now lives in LA with her mother, as her parents have now separated after the events of the original trilogy. Her past relationship with Cole, though often turbulent and rocky, forged a connection between them that neither is easily able to forget. Both Cole and Isabel have challenges to face, together and apart. Cole and his attempts to leave his partying past behind him and start a new future meets with some missteps, mostly brought on by his webshow sponsor, who wouldn’t mind watching him crash and burn if it meant more viewers. And Isabel just wants to find a place where she belongs, whether with Cole or without him, while her family breaks even further apart. Though the road is rough getting there, both find what they’re looking for in each other, and they meet their trials head on. In a flash-forward, we discover that both Cole and Isabel are well on their way to happiness, as Cole opens his own recording studio and Isabel graduates from medical school.

In this unexpected fourth installment to the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Maggie Stiefvater puts familiar faces Cole and Isabel front and center in their own new story. The book alternates between Cole’s restless narration of his struggle with change and addiction, and Isabel’s frustration with herself and what she wants. Before picking up Sinner, it is recommended that the first three books, starting with Shiver, are read first, as the main characters are introduced there. Unlike Shiver and its counterparts, the fact that Cole’s a werewolf takes a backseat to more real-world problems, and really only plays into Cole’s fight with addiction. As the book does deal with sexual and drug related themes, it would be most appropriate for older readers. Though this is unlike any of her other books, Stiefvater plays to her strengths of creating complex characters that grow in a believable and compelling way. It’s easy to root for Cole and Isabel to succeed, and readers of the original trilogy will love this conclusion to their story.

*Contains sexual content, drug and alcohol use.