Sinner is a companion to Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. I say companion because it really has little to do with that trilogy other than that the two main characters in Sinner were first introduced in the trilogy. I really liked the original trilogy, which consisted of Shiver, Linger, and Forever. It has been awhile since I read the trilogy but what lingers is the romance between Sam and Grace, two lonely kids who meet and start building a life and a family together. Notwithstanding his surrogate father, Sam was more or less an orphan. Grace had two parents and they were not bad people but they were super in love with each other and with their work (they were artists) to the point that they kind of forget they were parents. This left Grace to more or less raise herself. All of that was set against this wolf problem. Sam turned into a wolf for half the year. Not a monster werewolf, just a regular wolf. Aside from the obvious problems of changing into another species, Grace and Sam's lives were made more complicated by people in town fearing the growing number of wolves in the nearby woods and wanting to kill them. The romance was compelling and the wolf part was interesting, making for an overall good story.
Sinner moves the story from Minnesota where Sam and Grace remain, to California. Isabel and her family moved to California following the death of her brother. His demise has torn them apart. As the story begins Isabel and her mother are in Los Angeles while her father is in San Diego. Enter Cole St. Clair.
Cole St. Clair was a rock star who was always looking for a way out of his life. Drugs didn't work. He thought becoming a wolf might. Fast forward a year or so, Cole leaves Minnesota for California in part to record a new album and in part to see if there is anything left between him and Isabel. Cole is hyperactive, not sure about how to be happy or how to balance
being rock star Cole with being regular person Cole. The only thing he
is sure of is that he loves making music and he loves Isabel.The wolf
thing doesn't make much of an appearance in this book. It is little more
than an alternative means of escape. He used to do drugs, now he can
change into a wolf but of course the idea is that he has to learn to
live without doing either.
I didn't not like this book, but it also wasn't quite what I expected and for that reason I was disappointed. Isabel is an ice queen, permanently pissed off about something, sometimes justifiably so but more often her anger felt misplaced and pointless. She's smart, has plans for life, and the means to make those plans happen. She struck me as the type of person who always thinks she understands the world better than absolutely everyone else. Even when she is right it was irritating, and she wasn't always right.
Cole and Isabel fight. Then they make up. Then they fight some more. Unlike Sam and Grace, I doubt this romance will stick with me. Like I said, I didn't not like this but I didn't love it either. Sinner is not a must read. If anything, read the original The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.