Friday, September 19, 2014

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Pages: 416
Genre: Supernatural 
Synopsis: 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.

Review: I had heard wonderful things about this book going into it, and having enjoyed the author's previous series, I expected a lot out of The Raven Boys.  It did not disappoint.  

Overall, I adored it.  From the very first sentence, the words are deliberately chosen to give an unsettling and eerie vibe that added incredibly to the supernatural tone and dark mood.  The writing was lyrical and unique--in a good way.  The world itself felt magical.  The idea of the story, from the ley lines to the lost king, was intriguing.  Blue's curse alone was haunting.  It was a dramatic and intense read--and I loved every second of it.

The characters who make up the cast are extremely distinct, interesting, and well developed.  Maggie Stiefvater is excellent at developing each and every character, no matter if they are the main protagonist or not.  I felt as if I personally knew every one of them.   

Blue was fun and sarcastic, very sensible (as she is described multiple times).  Though a little eccentric and delightfully stubborn, Blue was independent and intelligent.  Though I have to say my favorite character is Gansey.  Behind his superficial, polite rich kid mask, the Raven Boy is curious and lonely, and extremely driven.  He refuses to give up on his quest to find the Welsh king. 

The only character who irritated me was Adam, one of Gansey's friends.  He often pays the poor kid with a scholarship stereotype, persisting on doing everything himself and never accepting help--even when he most needs it.  But, overall, I liked each character and enjoyed reading about them.  The friendships forged were a pleasure to experience, though there was little romance.  However, I appreciated the fact that Blue grew on her own, learning about her curse and her family without the help of a boy, as you find too often in book series.

The only fault I have with this book is the pacing, which felt slightly off, as if Maggie Stiefvater was trying too hard to set up a new series instead of just going with it.  It felt a little forced and took somewhat longer putting the group of characters together than I would have preferred.  There was something missing from the story.  It feels as if the book focuses too much on the world building for the sequel than being amazing on its own.  The climax was slightly anticlimactic and rushed, though I still thoroughly loved this book. 

The Raven Boys was a great reading experience with a complex narrative.  The characters, the plot, and the magic were all beautifully crafted.  I would recommend this to anyone interested in a supernatural, magical world.  I am so excited to read the sequel! 

4 Keys


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