January 20, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater


Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Edition Reviewed: eBook
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: The Raven Boys

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.


The Raven Boys is a title that didn't really interest me. The premise is that the one Blue—leading lady—loves will die after she kisses him. Yeah, that bored me to tears. Then the story continued. Blue waits in a old churchyard at night with her mom, because they do this every spring to see who's spirit will show. The spirits her mother sees are the ones that will die within the next twelve months. This time Blue actually sees her first glimpse of a spirit. With these two sentences Stiefvater had me:

"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve, Blue. Either you're his true love...or you killed him."

Stiefvater writing has always felt almost poetic to me. At times confusing and it mixes up the pacing of the story she's telling. With The Raven Boys it's clear that she's honed her skills. She introduces readers to a mysterious world of magic, love, destiny, and so many other elements. There's a lot of characters that get POV time, each one is realized enough that it wasn't hard to switch. Even with the “villain” I was fascinated by his back story and motivations.

Honestly I'm not sure what I read here. So let's start with The Raven Boys themselves. First up is the leader Gansey. Whenever I hear his name I think of Gatsby. It kind of fits. He's a very eccentric boy, but I really smart one. Gansey is entitled and disturbingly wealthy. He's already accomplished a lot of things in his life. His latest obsession is the supernatural and he's out to find a powerful ley line to help him locate a mythical sleeping king. Adam is the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He's smart and intelligent. He fights for everything he wants and desires a better life then what he has. His ambitions are great and at times his pride blinds him. Ronan is the classic bad boy, also wealthy and privileged. He's an angry character, but the truth is that he's hurting. Regrets plague him and the mystery behind what happened to his father is tantalizing as rumors of mob violence surfaces. Strangely enough Noah is the least interesting of the bunch. More like the cowardly nice guy tossed in to fill a spot in the group. Yet he ends up being the most mysterious and shocking member.

Steifvater had yet to write a female character that I liked. Blue broke that pattern. She's very smart and I enjoy the fact that she can still be a teen. Her mom let's her “decide for herself” and make adult decisions. The relationship Blue has with her is interesting. Especially the other women who live in the house with them. At this point I'm not sure if the other women are there to develop the story. This was were things got a bit sticky . . . it almost felt like they were there to be future love interests to the boys. Though I know they're all older then The Raven Boys. In the end I liked all of them enough that this is only a minor . . . worry.

At certain points the book gets long winded, which is a standard for a Stiefvater book. Despite that I didn't get the urge to put it down. The slow parts are short lived, but even in those moments there are vital points to the story so it doesn't feel like wasted pages. Even the cliffhanger feels . . . trance like. There aren't enough words for me to fully describe this book or the story it's telling. Unique. Yeah, and that's all readers really want.

This is one of the few Young Adult titles that I can say is an intelligent mystery (lot's of mysteries, note taking might be smart). The treasure hunt feels like a dreamy Indiana Jones movie, minus the whip and hat—maybe minus a few other things. The love triangle was already tiring to me before all the characters were even “put in place” for the drama. Like the sucker I am it still managed to make me invested in it. Come on Blue is the only real female tag along in the boys' group. Go in with an open mind and be ready to pay attention. There's a lot of characters and everyone is vital to the story. Everyone should give this title a shot. Stiefvater has hit the peak of author excellence that I knew she could achieve. This made my Shera’s Top 10 Books of 2013.

Sexual Content: Kissing . . . maybe some alluding to sex. Sexual humor. All in all, really clean.

4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.

Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:
The Raven Boys (1)
The Dream Thieves (2)
Untitled (3)
Untitled (4)
The Raven Boys (1)
The Dream Thieves (2)
Untitled (3)
Untitled (4)
The Raven Boys (1)
The Dream Thieves (2)
Untitled (3)
Untitled (4)

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