The Raven Boys book review

by Maggie Stiefvater (2012) ♥♥♥♥

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.” – Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

This book series has been on my TBR list for quite a while but I finally purchased the first in the series in preparation for YALC since the author will be there on the day that I’m going. I’ve never read any of her books before, but my one friend absolutely loves the Shiver series so I was optimistic to enjoy her writing.

The Raven Boys (link to goodreads) is set in the modern day but where a bit of magic exists. Blue Sargent has been told throughout her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die – brilliant. Her family are all psychics, except her but she can amplify their abilities so she is often asked to join in on readings – not a very interesting job for Blue.

But when her aunt, Neeve, comes to stay and tells Blue that this is the year she will fall in love, her life is suddenly thrown down a path she can only follow and hope for the best. This is when she meets the Raven Boys, a group of teenage boys attending a prestigious school and definitely not the sorts of guy that Blue would ever fall in love with.

But Blue knows that she will either fall in love or kill one of them. Scared to kiss, desperate for adventure and strangely pulled towards these Raven Boys, her life takes a dramatic turn.

With great writing, an original plot and a few surprises along the way, I knew the Raven Boys would be a book I’d enjoy and I certainly did. It started off in a bit of a dark place, but when we met the Raven Boys, it slowed down to set the scene; only when Blue finally encountered these boys did it pick up again and I, as the reader, felt I was being pulled in a direction along with the characters that I had no control over.

Blue was a well thought-up character, being from a busy family and always being the odd one out, she soon leaped at the chance of a bit of adventure with these Raven Boys but always had a sense of wariness to her, knowing of her role in one of these boys’ lives. The Raven Boys were such diverse and winning characters with the first line from Noah making me chuckle to the relationship between Ronan and his brother making me ponder.

Gansey is the ringleader and came across a bit lost in life, throwing his time into the discovery of ‘ley lines’ and strange energy patterns in search of the legendary ‘Glendower’. This guy cares for his friends but never fails to say the wrong thing, making him flawed and more likeable as a character. Adam was my favourite to begin with, having a troubled home life and a determined attitude towards building a life for himself, he seemed the most sweet of them all.

The ley lines were quite cool to read about, and the link between them and psychic energy etc was a little confusing to get my head around at times, but I just went with it and think I got the grasp of it all. That’s the problem with sort of magical stuff being included in books, you have to almost learn the workings of it all in order to understand the plot, and it depends on how well the author writes this that either enhances or diminishes the reading of the book.

There were times in this book that I thought the whole psychic-energy-supernatural stuff was really interesting but other times where it took a creepy turn and I really didn’t know where the story was going to go next. I loved the possibility with this story – anything was possible and you couldn’t predict how things would play out; a great idea and brilliantly written, I soon ordered the last three books in the Raven Cycle series!

Time for spoilers so look away now if you don’t want to see!

So, Gansey. Who is he? Is he Blue’s true love? Will he actually end up dying in the end? This book certainly left us with questions, and a clear direction for the story to travel towards. I really liked how the author created five main and really diverse characters:

  • Blue with her sensible personality but eccentric sense of fashion,
  • Gansey being rich and condescending at times, but truly caring for his friends,
  • Adam and his terrible background that has left him determined to make his own choices and take control of his life,
  • Noah, all dark and mysterious at first but then actually ends up being dead all along,
  • Ronan with the secret, seeming to be unkind at first but with rare moments of loyalty to his friends punctuating the air of suspicion surrounding him.

Each had their own secrets and attitude towards each other, but I have to say that Ronan and Adam intrigue me the most; will Adam really end up killing Gansey or playing a part in his death? And Ronan – his personality seems to fluctuate often and I can’t pin him down to a specific quality.

I thought Noah was going to be the ‘funny’ one at first with his brilliant opening line about how warm he is, “I’ve been dead for seven years… That’s as warm as they get.” But then I had an inkling he would end up being the body they found and as soon as they found the driver’s license, I had one of those ‘I knew it’ moments but I didn’t really call it, I couldn’t have predicted he would be dead by that first liner but it stuck at the back of my mind for the whole book.

And when we found out Noah was in fact dead?

I really liked Noah.

I’m hoping that since they moved his body back to the ley line, he will be able to appear just as much in the next book. His relationship with Blue is quite cute too, they’re just good friends and it’s nice to have that in a book for a change without romance being involved.

I feel that a lot is going to happen to Adam. He’s a nice guy, but he has had a vile upbringing and that leaves its mark – he is dead set on being his own person and unwilling to follow others when sometimes it’s needed. When he took it upon himself to wake up the ley line, I knew the power had shifted within the group – he is splitting from the Raven Boys and I think he will end up with a dark ending. Also, he and Blue are together at the moment, but if Gansey is her true love, then surely there’s going to be jealousy and probably a big blow up at some point between the two boys.

Another character I am still undecided about is Neeve. She came across very creepy at times and I’m curious to learn about her connection with Whelk (he’s clearly just unhappy in life because his dad lost all the family’s money, classic thinks-he’s-a-failure-so-tries-to-succeed-at-something-that-he-was-good-at-when-he-was-younger complex right there) and where she has disappeared to. I think we’ll also learn who Blue’s dad is throughout the books and he’ll probably turn out to play a pivotal moment in the series.

One quote that I absolutely loved when I read the book, so much so that I noted it down, was this:

“She recognised the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness. It was the way she felt when she looked at the stars.” – Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

THIS.

It is just so true.

I love it when an author puts something so complex, so plainly into words that you have felt your whole life, but have never been able to find the right letters to string them together and put so plainly, just like they did. It makes me want to personally thank the author for this momentous occasion – like something finally clicking into place that you have been waiting for up until this moment.

Another bit I loved (but more superficially) was when Ronan hit Adam’s dad, after years of beating his own son, he finally got his comeuppance.

Okay so, I have literally no idea where this story is going to go now, just that obviously they’re going to find Glendower at some point and I guess Gansey will nearly die a few times, but The Raven Boys definitely left me wanting more and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

“”I guess I make things that need energy stronger. I’m like a walking battery.”
“You’re the table everyone wants at Starbucks,” Gansey mused as he began to walk again.
Blue blinked. “What?”
Over his shoulder, Gansey said, “Next to the wall plug.”” – Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

. Have a superb day

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