Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret—his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?
Sinner was a perfect standalone follow up to Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver) trilogy. It focused on Cole St. Clair and Isabel Culpeper, two secondary characters from the original trilogy. I loved the characterization of both Cole and Isabel. Their voices were so distinct that I didn’t even need the chapter headings to know who was talking.
The only downside I could possibly find is that I was expecting a little more of the actual paranormal (the Wolves of Mercy Falls series is about—you guessed it—werewolves). However, this really wasn’t a downside because Cole, a recovered addict, is struggling to cope with clean life even while being thrown back into the limelight. In the original trilogy, becoming a wolf had become his coping mechanism for life—a way to get high and forget life without the drugs. Figuring out how to stop forgetting about life and just deal with life as it hits him is a huge challenge for Cole. It was really interesting seeing this put in the context of the paranormal.
I think the thing I love most about Sinner is how two completely broken people make each other whole. The difference is that while Cole has known he is broken all along, Isabel keeps her walls 40 feet high and topped with electrified barbed wire, and she won’t let anyone close enough to know that she’s broken. Throughout the course of the novel, it was amazing to see her walls come down—not only with Cole, but with her cousin and others as well. I think Isabel and Cole’s relationship is summed up perfectly by Cole’s closing line, “I’d known how to pull off the way just fine when I was just Cole St. Clair. But we did it better together.”
Overall, I give Sinner a strong four out of five stars. I would recommend it to readers of YA paranormal and romance. If you haven’t read the other Wolves of Mercy Falls books yet (Shiver, Linger, and Forever), make sure you read them before reading Sinner!