Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater


Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: July 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0545654572
Pages: 357
Goodreads || Book Depository

Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.

Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes…but what’s the point? What is there to win?

Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.


25 stars

Sinner is a companion to The Wolves of Mercy Falls (aka Shiver) trilogy. I was a fan of the trilogy but I didn’t enjoy Sinner quite as much. The novel revolves around Cole and Isabel, who both appear as side characters in the trilogy. While I liked both of them in the previous books, I wasn’t really a fan of them in this book, which was unfortunate. For me, the characters make or break a book. Even though it’s still possible for me to enjoy a story with dislikable characters or characters that I don’t connect with, it’s a lot harder for me to get through it. And I think that was the case for Sinner.

Cole was a very interesting character to me when I first encountered him in the trilogy. He was a bit of a science genius, who was reckless but loyal. In Sinner, we get to see even more of his recklessness and it was almost just too much. There were lots of times when he was just manic and it was very hard and a little bit uncomfortable to read from his perspective. His attitude and decisions also frustrated me a lot throughout the book. I’m generally also not a huge fan of books that heavily feature music, fame and drugs, so I had a hard time connecting with Cole and his story. Having said that, there were lots of instances where I really liked him. He was sweet and romantic, but that never lasted long enough for me to really fall in love with his character.

Isabel was a bit too negative in the book for my liking. She has always been kind of snarky and cynical but, in Sinner, it almost felt too negative. There were instances where she was just very mean to the people around her and I found it difficult to like her sometimes. I did enjoy reading from her perspective more than Cole’s though.

The plot for me was just okay. Like I said before, I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had liked the characters. I also felt like it was missing the paranormal/fantasy element that was in the trilogy. This book read more like a contemporary, which is fine, but I would have preferred it if we had seen more of the wolves and what happened to them after the events that occurred in the trilogy.

I’m not completely sure if Sinner is a companion or a sequel. I think you could definitely read it as a standalone without reading the trilogy but you wouldn’t get much of the back story on the characters. There are some spoilers in Sinner though. For example, the last book in the trilogy has a very open ending but in Sinner, we get to see what happened to Sam and Grace. They really only appear in two scenes though, and it’s also just through phone conversations.

If you’ve read The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and you really liked Cole and Isabel, I would recommend this book (maybe). It’s definitely not a bad book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected/wanted to. If you’re interested in picking Sinner up as a standalone, I’d suggest that you pick up the trilogy instead.


2 thoughts on “Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

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