This review was originally published in October 2012 here.
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: “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.
Source: I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this book. I’ve never read anything by Maggie Stiefvater, though I have been meaning to for a long time and I’m glad I read this. I was completely blown away by the way the author wrote. It was beautiful. The synopsis doesn’t even do this book justice because the story felt like it was so much more.
I found myself completely immersed in the world of The Raven Boys immediately. Each description conjured up vivid images in my head and I couldn’t put the book down. Each mood and setting was described so beautifully. Sentences stunned me, such as: “It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.” I realized I had no clue what to expect from the story, no idea as to the direction of the plot, and I couldn’t wait to find out more and more. Nothing about this was predictable, even the predictable moments. Nothing fit the stereotypes, even the things that were supposed to fit stereotypes. At first, I thought it was a shame that we knew from the start that Blue grew up being told that she will kill her true love with a kiss. I felt like it was going to be one of those stories that we knew too much about and were just waiting for it to unfold in a semi-predictable manner. You know, boy meets girl, girl swoons even though she knows she’s not supposed to, and it all unfolds from there. But this didn’t happen at all. I was constantly surprised, in good ways.
I can’t explain how it happened, but I fell in love with all of the characters. I cared deeply about their outcomes and was shocked at their complexity. The mother, for instance, wasn’t just a cookie cutter mom placed in the story to be there. She was full of her own complexities and she stood out as a person. Everyone did. None of the boys in the group of four were placeholders or weak or just sort of there, even the character that was supposed to just sort of be there.
In the end, while this book was everything the synopsis says it will be, it was so much more in just about every way. I can’t explain it. I don’t know if it’s just the way the author writes or if it’s just this book, but I plan on reading some more of her books to figure that out. It was majestic and descriptive and fascinating and I loved every minute of it. The only negative thing I can say is that I’m mad I have to wait for the next book in the series!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story.
May 2016 Thoughts:
I still stand with my initial review. I fall in love with this book every time I reread it and I’m just as in love with the characters. Maggie Stiefvater went from an author I didn’t know anything about to one of my favorites. I own the entire series in physical form, though I initially received the first book through NetGalley on Kindle and then later purchased a Kindle copy. So I have three copies of it? lol