The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – 3 stars (out of 5)

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

“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.

So I’m not really sure how to review The Raven Boys. I really liked the characters, I just kinda wish they were in a different story.

MY (SOMEWHAT SPOILERY) THOUGHTS

-The book is in told in 3rd person POV, traveling between Blue, the 16-year-old non-psychic in a house full of psychic women, Gansey, Adam (2 of the 4 Raven Boys), and Barrington Whelk, a former Raven Boy who is now a much poorer teacher. While I don’t mind 3rd person POV, there were times when I thought the multiple viewpoints were a little much and jumped around too often. I prefer 1st person from 1 or 2 narrators.

-Am I the only person who thought Adam was in love with Gansey after the first chapter with his POV? The way he described him, adored him, and also kind of resented him. But then the next chapter he’s crushing on Blue. So even though he turns out to be straight I still think he’s just a little in love with Gansey. And there’s a fine line between love and hate.

-I didn’t really like the description that was used in this book. It just struck me as odd. If I was a better reviewer I would list some examples, but the only one I have marked is, “The smile on Gansey’s face could have lit coal mines.” Which really isn’t that weird now that I look at it, but that’s kind of the general idea. Like too many similes and metaphors that weren’t really that clever.

-The synopsis of the book makes it sound like it’s focused much more on romance than it really is. I don’t mind that, actually. It’s a lot more about friendship than romance and the inevitable YA love triangle is just barely implied.

-In the beginning Noah says that he’s been dead for seven years. So it’s not entirely a surprise later on when it turns out he actually has been dead for seven years. But what I did think was a good twist was that Noah turned out to be the same person as Whelk’s old friend Czerney – Noah Czerney. This is the kind of twist and surprise that I like – something I didn’t see coming, but makes sense after I thought about it.

-What I really liked about this book were the characters. Blue is well-developed and I was very rarely, if ever, frustrated by her actions. I also enjoyed the crazy cast of characters that she lives with – her mother, Neeve, Calla, and Persephone in particular. I also thought the Raven boys were well-developed, particularly Gansey and Adam. Noah and Ronan kind of got the short of the stick in this book, but I still mostly enjoyed them. I always felt like Ronan’s actions could have been explored more, but I guess we’ll get that in the second book, which I’ve heard focuses mostly on him. I did really like Gansey and his big heart and his unintentional condescending ways. I liked Adam too, but as the story went on I liked him a little less. It seemed a little cliché to make the poor kid the most prideful and obsessed with money.

-My favorite parts of the book were when it focused on Blue and “her boys”. Their interactions and character developments as a group is what really made the book for me. The story – psychics, ley lines, finding Glendower – was just ok. But, I’m looking forward to see what happens to the characters in the future. What happened to Ronan’s father and why is Ronan the way he is? Does Blue’s first kiss really kill her true love? Is that true love Gansey? Will Adam stop being a douche about Gansey’s money?

Overall, I enjoyed The Raven Boys and look forward to the next installment in the series. I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy/paranormal.

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27 thoughts on “The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – 3 stars (out of 5)

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  7. I really enjoyed it, although I was more than halfway through before I decided that I liked all the characters. The storyline about Gansey’s quest for the dead Welsh king is almost too far-fetched for me, though, and I love all things weird.

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  16. I enjoyed this too, just gathering my thoughts about it and will be doing a review soon. I think we have the same opinion on quite a lot of details – characters, etc, though I didn’t see the Adam/Gansey attraction! Maybe I missed that. It’s the first Maggie Stiefvater novel that I’ve read and I think it won’t be the last. 🙂

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