The Raven BoysWritten by Maggie Stiefvater
(Scholastic Press - 9/18/2012)Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: ARC (409 pages)
Source: Library of Magan Bagan
“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.
[Surprisingly, this is my first experience with a Maggie Stiefvater novel (the rest of her books have been in my TBR pile for WAY too long). Perhaps also surprising is that, while I hadn’t yet read any of her books, I’ve been reading her blog for quite a while. So,when I first saw artwork — artwork involving tarot cards — for the trailer she was making for The Raven Boys, my interest was piqued. And when I got to read the first two chapters online for free, I was thoroughly and completely hooked.
I pined for this book. I entered every possible giveaway for an ARC. I devoured every new tidbit of anything related to The Raven Boys. And then one sweet, glorious Monday afternoon, my sister informed me that she had gotten an ARC of The Raven Boys in the mail. Very quickly, it was in my eager hands.]
Probably the first thought I had about this book (after OMGOMGOMG) was that the writing felt so deliciously deliberate. The pace throughout was steady and relaxed. While I always wanted to know what happened next, I never felt a sense of urgency, which was kind of refreshing. It’s like the book keep assuring me that things would happen, and I’d be there for them, but I didn’t need to rush. The best thing, though? Many times while reading, I’d come across a sentence with words so perfectly placed that I just about squealed right out of my seat! Each time was like finding a treasure and it made me appreciate the writing so much.
I have to to tell you that my favorite parts of the book were the scenes that involved Blue and her psychic family. Learning about each psychic and her abilities, quirks, and personality was so much fun. When the scenes began to shift toward the raven boys, I wasn’t as interested. Why read about normal characters when I can read about mystical characters? Although, I must say, that once the story picked up with Gansey’s quest for leylines, I was much more interested in the scenes involving the boys.
One of the coolest things about this book, in my opinion, is that its magic seemed so much closer to home than most other YA novels containing a supernatural element. Perhaps because it’s tied to things like tarot cards and legendary leylines. Things that already exist (more or less) in our world. Stiefvater did a great job of taking these concepts and building on them, bringing them to life in such unexpected and interesting ways.
Something I really appreciated was the way that all of the characters were tied to one another. I loved getting to see the various facets of each character when they were interacting with one another, and when they were alone with themselves. Though I have to admit that I preferred the female characters, each of the raven boys grew on me as the story progressed.
Honestly, I think one of the weakest parts of the story was the raven boys themselves. Gansey is the main male character, and while I enjoyed following him on his quest, at the end I still didn’t really feel like I knew him at all. Each raven boy had his own story weaved in throughout the book, but my favorite was Ronan. Yes, the troublemaker and jerkiest punk of them all. Maybe his story was told best? Or maybe, like Blue, I felt drawn to him because he seems so difficult to impress.
Perhaps the bottom line is that I got to know each character a little, but right now we’re still acquaintances. Maybe we can’t be friends until the next book?
Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and the roller coaster ride that Blue and her boys went through. I’m looking forward to book two, and hope that it has just as much of the magic as did book one. Most likely I’m going to re-read The Raven Boys before book two comes out, just so I can go on the adventure all over again.
[NOTE: I read this book as an ARC, borrowed from my sister, who gets many, many amazing things in her mailbox.]