Book Review, Goodreads, The Raven Boys, The Raven Cycle, Booklover

Book Review: The Raven Boys

 

“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.”

This book follows the female protagonist, Blue Sargent, as we delve into her world beginning with the event she attends every year with her mother at an old church ruin. Her mother is a clairvoyant and every year, the soon-to-be dead walk past them on St. Mark’s Eve. Blue never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey.

The Raven Boys is a subtle literary masterpiece. It doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. Maggie Stiefvater knows just how to make a story intriguing, mysterious, but also easy to follow and BELIEVABLE. A writer who can enchant the reader into believing a centuries-old Welsh myth about a sleeping king being alive and well, will have my vote √.

I went into this book expecting nothing, yet I am pleased to say that now having read it (and currently on Book 2: The Dream Thieves), I really like Maggie’s style of writing. Having read the Shiver series, I found a lot of similarities in the way she writes. Vivid, yet simple descriptions. A clear trademark. Throughout the read, I had the constant thought of; I never thought of it like that before! I would catch myself nodding at all of the original imagery and characterization she used.

“She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness.”

This. Simple, yet so true. For a novel that is considered Paranormal Young-Adult, it holds a lot of heavy truths about life. Those are the kind of books I value the most.

The story is also told from the perspectives of Gansey and Adam who are labeled as The Raven Boys, along with Ronan and Noah. The Raven Boys belong to an exclusive, ivy-league all-boys school, with the raven bird as their school emblem. From Blue’s perspective, these boys are the definition of snobby and arrogant; their daddies, no doubt, being a bunch of congressmen and head-honchos who use the school as a direct channel for grooming their successors.

But we learn that not everything is as it seems. The four boys’ stories are compelling and intertwined in ways of true friendship and loyalty to one another. And when Blue becomes intwined with them, it just fits, like the missing piece to a puzzle.

“I guess I make things that need energy stronger. I’m like a walking battery.”
“You’re the table everyone wants at Starbucks,” Gansey mused as he began to walk again.
Blue blinked. “What?”
Over his shoulder, Gansey said, “Next to the wall plug.”

Gansey was kind of perfect. He was flawed, wise beyond his years, funny, and held true-leader status. I caught myself reading his chapters more closely just to get a better look into his mind.

“When Gansey was polite, it made him powerful. When Adam was polite, he was giving power away.”

The distinctly different personalities of all of the boys made this a real treat to read. Maggie seems to really understand people in general, providing the characters with real motivations, allowing us to feel and identify with them on a much deeper level.

“Gansey had once told Adam that he was afraid most people didn’t know how to handle Ronan. What he meant by this was that he was worried that one day someone would fall on Ronan and cut themselves.”

Ronan—the raven boy who was more raven than the others—was precious. Complicated, cruel and yet I found myself rooting for him.

“You missed World Hist.”
“Did you get notes for me?”
“No. I thought you were dead in a ditch.”

Oh Ronan. I caught myself grinning in surprise and straight up cackling in various moments. The story contained humour at the most unexpected of times, which kept it interesting and amped on emotion. And then there were moments of spine-tingling dread and worry…

“Adam had once told Gansey, “Rags to riches isn’t a story anyone wants to hear until after it’s done.”

With Adam, I truly felt his determination, his desperation to make something of himself. He was smart, ambitious. But he was broken and I found myself wanting to shield him from particularly scarring events in his life. He was a “study in survival” as Maggie put it.

Last but not least, Noah. The Smudgy One. The story around him made my jaw drop, I did not expect it at all. A shy, wisp of a boy who seemed like he was hardly ever there, until he met Blue. Blue and Noah got along effortlessly, and she brought him to life in more ways than one.

Coming back to Blue—I really liked her. She wasn’t a whiny protagonist. She was quick-witted, quite funny, and smarter than she thought to give herself credit for. Her interaction with her eccentric family was everything! A house full of women—scratch that—a house full of psychic women, was every bit as entertaining as you can imagine. I was often left in awe with their various talents.

“Are you really going to work in that?” Maura asked.
Blue looked at her clothing. It involved a few thin layering shirts, including one she had altered using a method called shredding. “What’s wrong with it?”
Maura shrugged. “Nothing. I always wanted an eccentric daughter. I just never realised how well my evil plans were working.”

The dynamic of the cast of characters Maggie created, really really works. You have the four boys, then you have a gaggle full of women to balance it out, and one Blue. Neither side ever became overbearing or cliché. The plot was refreshingly original (as one would expect with Maggie) and strong. The characterization, diction, and imagery unforgettable, I can’t wait to continue onwards with this series!

Read the Prologue and First Chapter excerpt of The Raven Boys here.

**Psst! You can also check out my Raven Boys Playlist here!


And now…

***Spoilers***

Things I loved so so much;

  1. Damn Ronan and that last line! What a way to end a book!
  2. Ronan saying that he needs to feed Chainsaw again in two hours, and Gansey responding that this is precisely the reason he doesn’t want to have a baby with him *cries tears of laugher*
  3. Ronan’s tenderness coming out whenever Chainsaw–the baby bird–is involved. Precious.
  4. Gansey calling Blue an eggplant, after she insults his aquamarine shirt.
  5. Gansey calling Blue JANE!
  6. NOAH. I was haunted by the way he died. My initial thoughts were that the Czerny who died 7 years prior was his older brother? Yeah, I don’t know. But him being described as having two hollows for eyes and a smashed-in cheek was kind of traumatizing.
  7. The legend of Glendower, and how he saved Gansey’s life 7 years prior.
  8. Gansey’s journal, and his obsessiveness over research in general.
  9. Calla and Ronan’s interaction during the Reading. Best. Ever.
  10. Butternut. 😛
  11. Blue and Gansey’s first interaction with the term “prostitute” being thrown around.
  12. “If it had a social security number, Ronan had fought with it.” LOL, oh Ronan.
  13. Gansey’s genuine love for his bright orange 1973 Camaro. And how he refuses to give up on the car, much like he refuses to give up on his friends.
  14. Helen, Gansey’s sister. I’m hoping she makes more of an appearance in later books!
  15. Gansey being low-key flustered and slightly jealous when Adam touches Blue in front of him.
  16. Ronan saving Adam from Adam’s dad 🙁 Made my heart soar!!! I was waiting for a moment like this.
  17. Barrington Whelk getting exactly what he deserved. That %$&#!@!!

Now to you…

What did you think of The Raven Boys?


Find this book on: Amazon

 

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