Book Reviews

Review — The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle, #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press (Scholastic)
Release date: September 2012
Format: Hardcover, 408 pages
Source: Library.



“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.

I read The Raven Boys back in September and right after finishing it I went into a reading slump. Why? Because this book was so amazing that I couldn’t believe any other book I’d read next would even live up to it. This isn’t so much a strict review as it is a jumbled gushing about the things I can remember from The Raven Boys. I just didn’t want to end 2015 without talking about this one incredible novel. I’ve reviewed every single other book I read this year (besides three stale classics I didn’t feel like writing about), so that’s so far 161 reviews. With this “review”, it’s 162 of the 165 books I read in 2015. (And if you add two DNF-reviews, that’s 164. Go me.) This year sure brought some awesome books to my attention.

I knew going into The Raven Boys that I’d love it. I’ve read The Scorpio Races which made me fall in love with Maggie Stiefvater and her writing — it was my favorite book of 2014. The Scorpio Races is actually one of my favorite books ever, and even Shiver, Maggie’s first book in her werewolf series, was good back when I read it, though definitely very weak when compared to The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys.

Moving on — The Raven Boys is probably Maggie’s highest-profile series right now. The fourth and final book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven King, is coming out in April 2016 — and the cover is absolutely phenomenal (have you seen it?!). I’m excited for The Raven King even though I have yet to read The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. They’re going to be a top priority for the beginning of 2016 so I can read The Raven King as soon as it comes out.

But back to The Raven Boys. This a fascinating paranormal story about ghosts and divination and legends. It has incredibly layered and mysterious characters, from the quiet but strong-willed heroine Blue, to the wildly different Aglionby boys Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, to Blue’s eccentric family of psychics Maura, Neeve, Persephone, Calla… The plot is solid but slow, with character development taking the spotlight. (The same thing was true in The Scorpio Races. Character and world-building over plot — and the plot’s great anyway, so no fear of being bored.) The Raven Boys is magical and mysterious, dark and foreboding. The story’s just beginning here, but it’s a story you want to know the end of. Lucky there are three more books!

I loved the paranormal aspects in this book. They were strange, different, and unpredictable. My bet is that things are going to get even stranger in the following books, and I’m totally on board for that. I’m looking forward to more Blue because she’s a great character, as well as the friendship of the four boys. All four of them have vastly different personalities, but I love them each and can’t wait to see them grow and change and tackle all the mysterious things being thrown at them.

I also am anticipating the romance that’s sure to come. I luckily haven’t been spoiled at all for the series despite these books being extremely high-profile so I have no idea what to expect. Will there be a love triangle between Blue, Gansey, and Adam? My guess is yes, but I don’t mind the thought of it right now because Adam is a sweetheart and Gansey is adorable in his own way. Blue’s surrounded by some smart dudes that she’s formed real friendships with. I love it when strong friendships turn into something more.

The writing is beautiful and descriptive — I never skimmed over a single word because Maggie Stiefvater is a writer whose work I greatly admire. When some writers go on too long with their descriptions and explanations, I often skip to the next paragraph or the next bit of dialogue if things are moving too slowly. Not so with Maggie. She’s a favorite author of mine for a reason.

There’s not any specific part of The Raven Boys I can discuss since it’s been a few months since I read it. I can still remember plenty from the book, but I don’t have an acute desire to pick apart a specific scene or situation. Maybe once I did, but I can’t remember now. There is a villain of sorts, yes, and there are tons of questions to yet be answered, but I’m going to leave this “review” pretty vague. You just need to experience this book yourself if you haven’t read it. It’s so unique and different from all the other paranormal and fantasies I’ve read over the years.

I can’t believe it took me this long to get to The Raven Boys. It’s definitely a new favorite of mine. I think I like The Scorpio Races a little more than The Raven Boys, but both books are absolute treasures that I can’t recommend enough. ♦

5 hearts


Have you read The Raven Boys?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s an amazing book that put you into a reading slump afterwards, because it was just that great and you feared nothing else you’d read next could even compare?
Comment below letting me know!
And, as always, happy reading!

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