It is no secret that I absolutely love Maggie Stiefvater's books, including "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" series. Her characters are always wonderfully complex, the plot is interesting and unpredictable, the twists are clever. If you have read her other books, you know exactly what I am talking about. So I went into "Sinner" with certain expectations. What I got was something completely different than what I expected.
If Cole St. Clair was a book, I would expect him to be this book, so maybe that is the point. The prose is filled with a bit too many metaphors and similes. At times it is clever simply for the sake of being clever. It can be too harsh at times, and too cheesy at others. But there are also bits of the book which are wonderfully honest, and moving, and sweet, and real. This is the difference between the Cole St. Clair that is shown to the public eye, and the Cole St. Clair that is revealed to his inner circle, to the people he truly cares about. Throughout the book we get to see Cole struggle with these two versions of himself, but I'd argue that the book itself and the way it is written showcases these two halves as well. The result is a rather frustrating, very different Stiefvater book than her fans know and love.
I am really struggling to give this book a rating, because I appreciate what Maggie was trying to do, but I am not sure if it was successful or not. If you loved "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" and you love Maggie's other stuff, you need to be careful about what expectations you set before reading "Sinner". This book is not like the others in the series. The "wolf" portion of the book is very marginal to the actual plot. This book is more about two people trying to figure out how to be themselves and how to be together. It's about addiction and fame. It's about self-infatuation and self-hatred. Is one of the main characters a werewolf? Yes. But he is also Cole St. Clair the rockstar, and that is really what this book emphasizes.