The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) – Maggie Stiefvater

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The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)“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.

 

I’ll be the first to admit it…I haven’t been the hugest fan of Maggie Stiefvater in the past. Her Shiver series just didn’t do it for me, and I didn’t really enjoy any of the standalone novels she’s written either. So despite ravings on Tumblr and Goodreads about how amazing The Raven Boys was, I went into it pretty hesitantly and with low expectations…which were completely blown out of the water!

The Raven Boys is a pretty intricately woven story about a girl named Blue, a non-psychic born into a family of psychics. And for as long as Blue can remember, she’s been told that when she kisses her true love, it’ll kill him. That’s when she meets Gansey, along with the rest of his friends. He’s rich, a little condescending, and everything Blue despises, but something about him makes her want to know more. And then the adventure really begins, as she’s drawn into the crazy world of the Raven Boys, full of long lost kings, ancient Welsh mythology, psychic magic, leylines, and some unexpected romance too.

In case you couldn’t tell by the description, this book was like NOTHING I’ve ever read before. Props to Maggie Stiefvater, because she’s officially converted me to her side. There’s so much goodness about this book, I don’t even know how to begin.

I guess I’ll start with the characters! As the narrator of our story (somewhat, it’s told from multiple perspectives), I adored Blue. She’s feisty, quirky, sharp-tongued, and smart as hell. I think the best way to describe her is prickly, but with a heart of gold. The thing I loved the most about her was how she’d call people out on their BS…she didn’t take crap from anyone, no matter who you were. And the rest of the cast was just as flawless. The boys themselves each had such vivid, well-woven personalities that practically leaped off the page. They felt like real people to me, which was so wonderful. Adam was the most precious (and heartbreaking) character I’ve ever read about…he was so bitter and resentful, but so sweet and gentle at the same time. Ronan was fierce and cruel, but you could practically feel his dedication and protectiveness of his friends. Noah was so quiet that he practically became invisible among his boisterous friends, and I just wanted to wrap him up in a blanket.

But oh my gosh, you guys. Gansey. Gansey. I’ve never loved a fictional character as much as I loved him. And I know I say similar things a lot, but I mean it this time. You know how sometimes you just connect with a character on such an emotional level? That was me and Gansey. I felt his pain, I understood what he was going through with his own internal demons, I cried over him. He was rich and privileged and a little bit oblivious to his own occasional tendency towards being condescending, but he meant well. He cares so fiercely for his friends and wants nothing more than to keep them all together and happy. He’s charming, smooth, but somehow down-to-earth at the same time. God, he’s just fantastic. He’s so incredibly real…but all of them are, really, and that’s what makes this book especially stand out.

The plot itself was the only tiny downfall. While it was fascinating and I had no idea what was going on…that was also the problem: I had no idea what was going on. Not for all of it, mind you, but there were definitely parts where I was like…umm…wait, what just happened? The thing was, it was so complex with so many different storylines that at times it felt like a bit much. BUT, by that point I was already so invested in the characters and the story that I didn’t even care!

All in all, this book is amazing. It’s hugely character-driven, which normally I don’t like, but you can’t not get invested in their lives and backstories. It’s also told from multiple points of view, which I also normally don’t like, but it worked in The Raven Boys. Please pick up this book immediately, guys, you won’t regret it! The plot is unique and full of magical goodness, the characters are utterly real and layered, and the writing is beautifully lyrical and sweeps you away.

This one is worth buying!

Look for my review of the second book in the series, The Dream Thieves, coming soon!

Pages: 416

Publication Date: July 30, 2013

Publisher: Scholastic

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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