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Literature / Wolves of Mercy Falls Series

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Wolves of Mercy Falls is a book series written by Maggie Stiefvater which takes place in Mercy Falls, Minnesota.

At the start of Shiver, Grace is bitten by the wolves that live behind her house, but she is saved by a different wolf with mysterious yellow eyes. After that incident, Grace becomes obsessed with the wolves; more specifically, her yellow-eyed wolf.

The yellow-eyed wolf, however, lives a double life. During the winter, he is an animal wandering through the forest, but when summer arrives, Sam and all the other wolves behind Grace's house turn human.

The second book, Linger, was published in July 2010. The conclusion, Forever, was released in July 2011. A fourth entry in the series Sinner, a continuation focusing on side characters Cole and Isabel was released in 2014.


Tropes used in this series:

  • Abusive Parents: All of them. Sam's parents take the cake, but Grace's should've been put away for neglect long ago. Also Shelby's parents, and possibly the Culpepers as well.
  • Art Major Biology: The series has a rather... odd explanation for werewolf transformation. Once you're bitten, the transformation into a full-blown wolf is triggered by cold temperatures. (Living in a hot climate to stop this has no effect, since even a sudden blast of air conditioning can kick off the transformation.) But it's not this. In one of the books, one of the characters has not taken well to being bitten, and it is then discovered that perhaps bacterial meningitis could stop the transformation, seeing as breaking out into a fever pre-transformation almost cured one of the characters. So yeah... injecting somebody with bacterial meningitis somehow helps rather than hinders.
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  • Ascended Extra: Isabel and Cole went from being supporting protagonists to getting an entire book focusing on them.
  • Contrived Coincidence: So, wait, our new ally Officer Koenig just happens to have inherited a tract of land which is absolutely perfect for relocating the pack? Really?
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Shows up in Shiver in the form of a white-tailed deer. It appears in the middle of the road at exactly the wrong time, causing the crash that wrecks Grace's car. Both occupants survive, but with no way to keep Sam warm until help comes, he turns wolf for good. The characters are forced to try an incredibly dangerous plan to bring him back.
  • Downer Ending: The end of Linger undoes everything the protagonists tried to accomplish in Shiver, only mixing it up by having Grace turn into the wolf.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The girl Shelby kills in the opening of Forever? Olivia, absent since the end of Shiver. We don't find out it's her until later.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Cole and Isabel in Forever.
  • Foreshadowing: In Shiver, while Grace is buying a new car Sam jokes to Grace that if the car "hit a deer it would just hiccup and keep going". Much later the car does in fact hit a deer and breaks down. To make matters worse, without the car heater keeping Sam warm, he finally shifts permanently into a wolf but not before tearfully saying goodbye to Grace and Beck.
  • Follow the Leader: For Twilight, having a similar "angsty teenage girl falls in love with a boy who turns out to have a supernatural secret" plot.
  • Food Porn: The description of the candy shop in Shiver may make you drool.
  • Freudian Excuse: Subverted. Although readers are told that Shelby's past life was appalling (and heck, it must have been to create someone so spectacularly fucked-up) her backstory is never used to justify her Ax-Crazy deeds.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Shelby. And Cole to a lesser extent
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Grace's parents. Her mom cares more about her art than her daughter essentially. In Forever, she claims this is because her parents made her life miserable by never letting her do anything she wanted.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cole towards the end of Forever injects himself with his personally created serum shifting himself into his wolf form so that he may fight off Shelby giving Sam enough time to escape and lead the pack to safety from the aerial hunt, causing himself to end up getting shot after killing Shelby. He manages to survive though - just barely.
  • I Am the Band: Cole St. Clair in relation to NARKOTIKA. He's the one who jumps out on album covers, and he's most likely the one who leads his friends Jeremy and Victor into temptation.
  • I Choose to Stay: At the end of Shiver, Olivia chooses to try and live with lycanthropy rather than gamble on an incredibly risky cure.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: One-Word Title, and all titles of each book, end in "-er". Shiver, Linger, Forever, Sinner.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Many of the werewolves feel this way.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: The werewolves. Shifting all depends on the temperature. How cold it needs to be for a werewolf to shift from human to wolf depends.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Shelby.
  • Love Triangle: A small one with Grace/Sam/Shelby. Grace/Sam/Isabel and Cole/Isabel/Sam are both teased — most overtly with an Indirect Kiss between Sam and Isabel at the beginning of Linger — but neither goes anywhere.
  • Low Fantasy: Sinner especially has little to do with the werewolf aspect at all
  • Mad Scientist: Cole in Forever, extending to making himself a guinea pig for his own experiments.
  • Myspeld Rökband: Cole St. Clair is a member of NARKOTIKA. Word of God states that it's in all caps, because "IT'S LOUDER THAT WAY."
  • Naked First Impression: Isabel and Cole in Linger
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: At the end of Linger, it turns out lycanthropy is actually the body's (super)natural defense mechanism against a toxin- spread by the bites- that kills the victim slowly. "Curing" the shifts merely causes the toxin to kill the victim faster.
  • One-Word Title: Each of the four books of the series:
    • Shiver
    • Linger
    • Forever
    • Sinner
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The wolves receive their ability when they are bitten by a person already infected with the werewolf disease. Unlike traditional werewolves, they turn into wolves only during the winter; in warm weather they are normal human beings. The older they get however, the longer they stay wolves, until finally one summer they don't change back at all. And they can't just move south; if they do they only become more sensitive to temperature change, to the point where even the slightest change in temperature can cause them to shift. The first book Shiver is about a boy and a girl who try to find a way to fight this. In the sequel Linger, we find out that the cure from the first book might not be a cure at all — and that the reason they change into wolves might have more to do with brain chemistry than the weather.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Shelby feels this way about being a wolf.
  • Raised Catholic: Cole St. Clair is heavily implied to be this, without the title "Catholic" ever being used. He is seen holding a rosary, "Fingers grasping the beads as if the gesture was familiar" and later, an interviewer questions his belief in God, quoting Cole's former role as a choir boy. Given that Cole is now a Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll poster child, he is very much the lapsed sort.
  • Rewrite: Word of God says that the third book was finished, then completely rewritten from scratch because the author wasn't happy with it. Some problems resulted.
  • Rich Bitch: Isabel. Until she gets Character Development, anyway.
  • The Rock Star: Cole Saint Clair, former lead singer of NARKOTIKA, an in universe popular rock band. He's loud and abrasive, and utterly charmed by himself. Flashbacks make it clear he had that "rolling in girls and money" thing down pat.
  • Shadow Archetype: Cole to Sam, as The Lancer sub-type.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Sam and Grace only have eyes for each other.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Sam, even if he was a wolf at the time, and Shelby gets like this with Sam, too. To be absolutely fair, Sam has no control over his actions as a wolf, and he never goes looking for her when he's human.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Near the end of Shiver, the protagonists determine that lycanthropy may be curable through elevating the victim's internal body heat to extreme levels, comparable to a massive fever. They attempt to do this by injecting two victims with bacterial meningitis Results? Mixed. One character is cured, the other dies from the meningitis.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Sam in both human and wolf form.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Sam's eyes are naturally yellow.
  • Their First Time: Sam and Grace in Shiver
  • Tsundere: Isabel. She's almost always in tsun-mode but she does have her occasional dere moments,
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: In Shiver the chapters come with the current temperature of area.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In Shiver, three teenagers are infected with lycanthropy by Beck. One turns out to be Cole, the second his friend Victor, but the third never shows up again.
    • In Forever, chapter fifty-eight: Did Isabel ask Cole in?
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Isabel to Sam in Linger, for ignoring the fact that Grace is dying so as not to ruin their "Dream life".
    • And again in Forever, for still not doing anything about it even after Grace turns wolf.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Rachel displays this in Forever, refusing to come near Sam (who is a suspected murderer), and basically displaying more sense than any girl in a horror movie ever has...too bad she's in a teen romance book, and not the next Friday the 13th.

Alternative Title(s): Shiver, Forever


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