November 7, 2012

Review of The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater


“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 (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date:  September 18, 2012
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
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** This title was provided by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

From one glance to the synopsis that I found on the book, I was overly excited to read Maggie Stiefvater’s latest novel. I’m a big fan of hers and after just finishing The Scorpio Races I was expecting to read something that was as breathtaking as The Scorpio Races and I have to admit I was a bit let down by The Raven Boys which is the first book in the Raven Cycle series.  If you’ve read The Scorpio Races and absolutely loved it to the extent that I did—you might be able to understand why I was expecting something that was on the same level of fantasticness and found this novel coming up short.

It wasn’t bad. I feel I should just make that perfectly clear right now. It was very, very far from bad and was fairly good. And if what I say in the rest of the review is appealing to you, then you will probably fall in love with The Raven Boys. The novel itself focuses on main characters Blue Sargent and Gansey. The two characters cross paths on St. Mark’s Eve when Blue sees Gansey’s spirit meaning that he is going to die at some point in time very soon and that can only mean two things:

1. Gansey is Blue’s true love or 2. Blue killed him.

The two characters constantly find themselves meeting and disobeying her psychic mother’s orders, Blue helps Gansey and his fellow Raven Boys attempt to awaken the ley line.

I personally loved the premise in The Raven Boys. It clearly states that if Blue has her first kiss that boy will die and with a kiss usually comes love. How would you feel if you were in her shoes? Pretty strange is my best bet.

As a character I found Blue to be reminiscent of Nora from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush personality wise. Blue was, at times, a strong character and I did enjoy the fact that she was cautious with her psychic family’s warnings about love and romance. The one thing that has me adoring Blue as a character is the way she chooses to rebel, in the novel, Blue is forbidden to be near Gansey after she saw him on St. Mark’s Eve—and like a proper teenager she completely disobeys her parental figures.

As for the Raven Boys… well I’ve never seen a cast of characters like them before in YA. I`ll just start by explaining what a Raven boy is: A Raven Boy is a student who goes to the pre-Ivy League all boys high school known as Aglionby Academy, the school emblem is a raven and… well the rest seems pretty self-explanatory. And I don’t know for the life of me how to pronounce “aglionby”.

The Raven Boys that we get introduced to in the novel are completely different for a ton of reasons. You get Noah who is as mysterious as he is a neat freak. Adam, who comes from an abusive home, is sweet and is also holding a ton of dark secrets. Ronan who can apparently make cussing sound like poetry and has quite the attitude and of course Gansey. When these four characters are around each other, the novel becomes a complete laugh riot and I mean that in a really good way. Ronan constantly gets on the nerves of all the characters and quips at just the right moments.

The relationship between Gansey, Blue and Adam is one that I think should be seen more in YA. You have an almost-love-triangle where Blue shows obvious attraction towards Adam, but gets visions about a tragic future where Gansey and her are in love. While I personally wasn’t cheering for Adam and Blue, I thought that when Gansey and Blue were together the novel became ten times more fun. When the two characters first encounter (after the events on St. Mark’s Eve) it’s while Blue is working and her and Gansey have a conversation that consists of him throwing his money about and her asking him if he believes she’s a prostitute. Hilarious!

The Raven Boys switches through the POVs of multiple characters in the novel going from Blue to Gansey and to Adam, just to name a few.  I enjoyed the changes of POVs especially since we also got to see a few chapters through the eyes of the antagonist in the story that is also searching for a way to awaken the Ley Line. My only real complaint about The Raven Boys was the pacing and the detailing. In The Scorpio Races everything is fast paced and has you dying to know what happens next, whereas I found The Raven Boys to be lacking in that department. As for detailing, I also felt that I was being attacked with a barrage of details that didn’t need to necessarily be in the story.

I’d recommend The Raven Boys to fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s previous works as well as YA paranormal novels and YA romance. Considering that this is going to be a series and the ending had me seriously intrigued, I am looking forward to the Raven Cycle book 2.

About the Author:

All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

Connect with the Author:  Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Available for Purchase:
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  1. Natalie Cleary

    I love Maggies books!! I have both the Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys but havent read either yet. I might read The Raven Boys first though.

  2. jennrenee

    Great review. I also found some of the details in the book not needed and made the book a bit slow. this one was a book I waited a bit to do the review on. the longer I waited the more I liked the book. It took a while for it to sink in.

  3. Inky

    I have a copy and I need to get on it. Sounds like a good read. Great review! Honestly I didn’t like Scorpio Races that much and Shiver was a DNF but I hope that from all the amazing blurb I’ll like this one. We’ll see.

    XOXO Inky@ Book Haven Extraordinaire

  4. Love this review! I have this one on my shelf to be read and I seriously now wish that I was reading it and didn’t have a line of books before it :( I am mildly hesitant about books that are slow because of details but you make it sound so good!

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