Review: The Raven Boys

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Title: The Raven Boys [The Raven Cycle #1]
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Published: September 18, 2012
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Since the final book just came out, I decided to give this series a chance.

A friend was the first person to tell me about this series – how did I miss the absolutely stunning cover? Well, I didn’t really, but I saw Maggie’s name on it an walked away.

No offense to Maggie Stiefvater, but her Shiver/Linger/Forever series bored me to tears. I read all of them, despite becoming greatly disinterested about 25% way through. The series was just too cheesy and repetitive and cliche for my taste.

That being said, I really enjoyed The Raven Boys.

The novel’s synopsis really doesn’t do the book justice. It’s not a dumb book about love, it’s more of a paranormal mystery.

Blue is from a family of psychics, except all she can do is act as an amplifier to her powers. Otherwise, she’s about as useful as a stool (when it comes to paranormal oddness). As such, she finds herself an accessory when it comes to her aunt seeing the dead, or her mom doing a particularly difficult reading. That is, until she’s recording dead spirits into a book, and suddenly sees one for herself.

His name is Gansey, and though she’s never met him, her aunt tells her that if she can see his spirit, then she either kills him, or is his true love.

Cheesy right? Not really.

Because once she meets Gansey, they do not really mesh – instead it’s his friend Adam that courts her.

Now on to Gansey and friends. The Raven boys are the “privileged” – identifiable by the school crest on their sweaters. They’re the sort of people whom you can smell money rolling off of. Except Adam, but we’ll come back to him.

Gansey is the leader, generally chill and level headed, and hell bent on finding Glendower – an ancient king who supposedly possesses enough power to have lay in a sort of stasis since he disappeared hundreds of years ago. Due to this Gansey has an odd interest in ley lines and magic things.

Then there’s Ronan, generally rough around the edges, and in the edges, and everywhere else for that matter. He actually became one of my favourite characters simply because he was such an enigma. Throughout this book, you never really find out much about him, but still find yourself loving his character.

Adam’s next. While he goes to the richy rich school, he’s actually not rich – just smart. And he works damn hard to be. But his life isn’t easy as pie, and he finds himself resenting Gansey for the money he has (and sometimes flaunts). Adam is determined to escape his circumstances on his own, without anyone’s help or charity – i.e., his pride is surprisingly bigger than all the richy rich people.

And lastly, there’s Noah. Oddly my favourite character, despite the fact that he rarely speaks. I love him so much, and I can’t even tell you why ’cause spoilers.

Overall, this book sets up the rest of the series – we learn a lot about what they’re looking for and how they’re going to find it, and about all those who tried to do so before them. While there was a lot of information, I didn’t find it totally overwhelming, likely because it was spread out throughout the entire novel. That being said, there were times where I had to read sections over again ’cause it just didn’t process the first time.

The book also has a lot of background for characters, and I actually felt like much of the storyline was Adam’s, instead of Gansey’s and Blue’s. Although they presented a lot of background information, Adam really stood out in this novel for a great number of reasons. Also helped that both Blue and Gansey thought about him a lot.

Overall, this novel was more of a mystery than a romance – there was actually very little romance in it in general. There’s a lot of intrigue and surprises, and it honestly kept my interest the entire time. Definitely would say to give it a chance, it might surprise you.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.04/5

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