Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Number of Pages: 409
Date Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
“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.
Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.
Okay, I did not expect it to be this good. I probably shouldn’t open with that statement seeing as I did struggle after reading about 1/4 of the book, but screw it, this was awesome, and I could just imagine the screams of “I told you so” from those who have been soaking in its hype for years.
The truth about that struggle is simply that I found it difficult to get into the writing style. It wasn’t ambitious at all, but it was complicated in a way that the beginning of world building usually was. You might say that I’ve already read quite a number of fantasy books. That’s true, but this is my first time reading something that is purely (at least in this first installment) paranormal.
I didn’t regret picking it up again though. Halfway through the book, I started to appreciate most of the characters. Three-dimensional characters are after all rare finds yet are absolute necessities especially in a series. I loved the boys more than I loved Blue. I’m sorry if that makes me sound like a fangirl, but the complexities of their characters are too interesting to overlook.
The way Gansey saw it was this: if you had a special knack for finding things, it meant you owed the world to look.
Ronan didn’t need physics. He could intimidate even a piece of plywood into doing what he wanted.
Being Adam Parrish was a complicated thing, a wonder of muscles and organs, synapses and nerves. He was a miracle of moving parts, a study in survival. The most important thing to Adam Parrish, though, had always been free will, the ability to be his own master.
Adam’s situation and his ideals had me down in the dumps. Gansey, I thought, would be the typical condescending rich guy who starts developing feelings for the eccentric girl, but this wasn’t the case. His character is more complex and intriguing than the stereotypical wealthy lad. And Ronan? I cannot even begin to explain my infatuation with Ronan.freaking.Lynch. I’ll stop before I get into a lengthy diatribe about how appealing he is (in a very complicated way). I also adored the supporting characters. The members of Blue’s household are protective, secretive, and hilarious all at the same time.
I’m not so much a fan of the slow pace especially during the first half, but i understand the need for it. There isn’t so much romance in this first installment (minus Adam ruining it all with his instalove) and that’s a good thing. Another thing I liked was the mood. It had just the right mix of creepy and playful. However, for those who prefer creepy over anything else, you might be disappointed when this book fails to give you the hair-raising feeling you might have expected.
It isn’t much of a challenge to guess the reveals as well, but I do agree that this book is worth the hype. It isn’t mindless fluff that showcases guys for their good looks. The friendship between the raven boys is something that is worth flipping over and getting envious about, and the secrets and the histories are still worth unlocking. And after that ending? There is no way I’m going to stop reading this series.
On a totally unrelated note, I just love it when the author throws in conversations like these:
A. Ronan and Gansey
“We have to be back in three hours,” Ronan said. “I just fed Chainsaw but she’ll need it again.”
“This,” Gansey replied “is precisely why I didn’t want to have a baby with you.”
B. Blue and Gansey
“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.”