Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Supernatural/Paranormal
Publication Date: September 2012
Stand alone or series: Start of a series
How did I get this book: Bought
Let’s start with a brief synopsis (from Goodreads):
“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.
What I thought:
It took me about 30-40 pages for me to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. I couldn’t read this book quickly, like I usually do, but it wasn’t because it was hard to read. It was because the prose made you slow down to savor the words and feel the magic surrounding them.
The Raven Boys is just gorgeous. There were several times that I got goosebumps because I could actually feel the magic in the book. The prose was absolutely beautiful. Let me give you a couple examples of this:
“This was a beautiful, old wood, all massive oak and ash trees finding footing among great slabs of cracked stone. Ferns sprang from rocks and verdant moss grew up the sides of the tree trucks. The air itself was scented with green and growing and water. The light was golden through the leaves. Everything was alive, alive.” – page 219
“The air moved slowly around his body, somehow tangible, gold-flaked, every dust mote a lantern.” –I’ve lost the page for this! L
“When Adam got to Cabeswater, it felt like a living being. The wind through the leaves was like the bellows of an exhaled breath and the hiss of the rain on the canopy like a sucked-in sigh.” – page 381
Asdfjkl; – so pretty! Safe to say I was captivated with the prose and it drew me in and wrapped around me like a warm blanket.
As for the characters: I loved them all! Stiefvater has a way of writing each of the characters so carefully that each of them feels developed even if they aren’t central to the story. Blue was fascinating: the daughter of a psychic who doesn’t have the abilities of the rest of her family, but amplifies the abilities of those who do. She was different and strange and wonderful. I found myself wanting to go on these adventures with the Raven Boys, and I was glad to put myself in Blue’s shoes to do so. And the Raven Boys – oh, man. They had such an air about them. They were real, quirky, relatable, sarcastic, and I loved them. Even Ronan.
The story was so unique and interesting, unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller, and I was very excited to read another book by her (I loved her Wolves of Mercy Falls series). I liked that though the romance was central to the summary, it was more like an underlying theme throughout the book. It was there, but it wasn’t being thrown at you. It made it more beautiful that way.
I will say that the book is one of those smoldering, slow to burn novels. It never feels boring or sluggish though. It’s just not going to give away its secrets all at once. This may bother some people, but I really enjoyed it. It felt even more powerful because of that. But it does take a bit to get into the story and might make it seem confusing at time because there is just so much happening.
Also, I won’t give anything away, but that last line?! I literally said “What?” out loud about ten times when I finished. You can ask my family. They were just staring at me, but they’re so used to outbursts like this that they just let it go. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
The bottom line:
Magical, beautiful, smoldering, lovely. All words to describe this book. You can feel the magic in the narrative coming off of the book’s pages.
Rating: 9 – Practically perfect
Reading next: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Have you read The Raven Boys? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!