Rated Reads

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book 3.5)

by Maggie Stiefvater

Rated: Moderate

Sinner is very little about the wolves and everything about tying up loose ends for a couple of compelling side characters in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, starting with Shiver, that focused on Sam and Grace. Now readers get an entire book devoted to former rocker Cole St. Clair and his love interest, Isabel Culpeper.

Both Cole and Isabel are jaded and cynical and as yet unable to find the elusive something they’re looking for from life. Isabel has moved with her mother from Minnesota to Los Angeles, still trapped in a home weighed down by misery. She cares about Cole but doesn’t want to. Cole, for his part, has come to Los Angeles just to get Isabel back. While he’s there, he’s signed up to and record a new album and do an online reality show that’s notorious for ruining its subjects.

Sinner goes back and forth between Isabel’s and Cole’s points of view as they try to figure out themselves and the possibility of a relationship. Their demons are ever-present, and every moment seems to be a battle.

Those who wanted to know about the fate of Cole and Isabel will eat up this book. It is often just as cynical and maddening as the characters, but it explores them so well and with such aplomb that it’s still hard to put down. The writing is, as always, terrific and lyrical, and I loved being able to see some resolution for these characters.

Rated: Moderate. There is some moderate language and there are fairly frequent references to sex (characters talking about wanting to do it). There is some nudity mentioned, and a sex scene that has few details. The book is really best characterized as “new adult,” and its themes are definitely for older readers, with characters who are in early adulthood and battling past problems of drug addiction and alcohol use and so on.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book 3.5)
  • by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: