Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication Date: September 18th 2012

Length: 409 pages (Hardcover)

Series: The Raven Cycle #1

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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:

As you might have read in the synopsis, The Raven Boys is a story that, among other things, centers around a 16 year old girl named Blue Sargent. Blue’s family is not exactly what you would call ordinary, and consists of a group of psychics. Every one of them can see the future…except for Blue herself. Instead, she has the ability to strengthen the power of another person, like a battery. Not exactly something that she can use herself.

“I hear as much of the conversation as the telephone. I just make things louder for everyone else.”

One night every year, Blue’s family can see the souls of the people who will die in the coming year. Blue usually can’t see a thing, but this time, the spirit of a boy speaks to her. This means that 1. He’s the love of her life, or 2. She’s the one who killed him.

Oh, and by the way. If she kisses her true love, he will die. Not good.

Gansey, the doomed boy, happens to be a student at Aglionby Academy, and according to Blue, this is not a particularly good thing to be…

“Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”

Gansey, oblivious of his destiny, is on the quest of his life. Along with three other students: Noah, Ronan and Adam, he’s in search of Glendower, an ancient king. He’s been looking for years, and now in Henrietta, he might finally be on the right track.

When I started reading this book, I had no idea what it was about. Seriously, no clue. Therefore, I felt a lot bit confused in the beginning. Luckily, I soon found myself completely in love with it :).

Speaking of love, don’t expect a lot of it (the romantic kind that is, there’s lots of friendship love), despite what the synopsis wants you to believe. There was almost none at all, but I think that’s a great thing. I love when the romance is developed slowly, and when it is subtle. The Raven Boys was much more about the characters (oh the characters), the actual plot and the mystery of Glendower.

When it comes to the writing…oh dear. Maggie Stiefvater is SO good. Her writing style is beautiful and has this wonderful and eerie, almost creepy, tone. It grabs hold of you and never lets you go. NEVER. There is no turning back.

The pace was, as in most of Stiefvater’s books, a bit slow, but I really don’t have a problem with that. Somehow it just makes it all better. There were some serious stuff that I did not expect at ALL, which was also great. And GREAT work with the foreshadowing, Stiefvater.

The Raven Boys is told from four different PoVs: Blue’s, Gansey’s, Adam’s and their Latin teacher’s. The PoVs of Blue and Gansey were my favourites by far, but the others were great as well.

Lets discuss the lovely characters, shall we? :)

First of all, we have miss Blue Sargent. Oh Blue, you fantastic person. She might actually be a new favourite protagonist of mine. She was so funny (well not directly funny in a: haha, that’s a funny joke, sort of way), eccentric, and tough…OH and don’t forget sensible. Also, I loved the dynamics between her and the awesome women in her family. She lives with her mother Maura, her cousin Orla, her mother’s best friends Calla and Persephone, and a whole lot of other women. So great all of them! (but maybe especially Persephone)

“You should make some noise when you enter rooms.” “I did let the stair squeak,” Persephone pointed out.”

The life of Blue and her crazy family was just pure and wonderful chaos, but you really need to read the book to truly get the full experience ;).

Moving on to le rich boy Gansey. How Maggie knows exactly what I want in a character is beyond me, she just does. Gansey is the perfect amount of troubled and flawed I like. On the outside, he’s condescending, rich, condescending, shallow, and oh, did I mention condescending? On the inside though, he’s so much more. All his life he’s been struggling to get people to see who he really is. Who he wants to be. It’s not always so easy, though.

“Adam was struck, as he occansionally was, by Gansey’s agelessness: an old man in a young body, or a young man in an old man’s life.”

“But Gansey and Adam sought Glendower for different reasons. Gansey longed for him like Arthur longed for the grail, drawn by a desperate but nebulous need to be useful to the world, to make sure his life meant something beyond champagne parties and white collars, by some complicated longing to settle an argument that waged deep inside himself.”

“Sometimes, Gansey felt like his life was made up of a dozen hours that he could never forget.”

Gansey is the kind of character that needs controll to survive. He doesn’t believe in coincidences and all he want is to leave his own mark on the world. He feels like it’s his responsibility to do something great with his life because he was born with a head start (his family’s crazy amount of money). If he doesn’t accomplish something extraordinary, he would feel like the biggest failure on the planet.

The relationships between Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah were so so interesting to read about. Gansey believes that he can solve all of his friends’ problems. What he doesn’t understand, is that they need to solve them for themselves.

“Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year. They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed to be able to walk away from them.”

You might have guessed by now that I loved all the characters, even though I can’t go into everyone. They felt so real and believable. Almost touchable.

Overall, The Raven Boys is a gorgeous book, with the best characters. You can sense that Maggie Stiefvater has put a lot of work into this story, and even though it started out a bit weird, it came together in the end. The sequel The Dream Thieves can’t come out soon enough. How will I be able to wait until September?!?

5/5 Moustaches

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Some More Lovely, non-spoilery Quotes:

“Raven boys were good at multitasking, so long as all tasks were exclusively to benefit themselves.”

“At night, Henrietta felt like magic, and at night, magic felt like it might be a terrible thing.”

“What makes you think I can answer that question?” “Because you’re an adult,” Blue replied. “And you’re supposed to have learned things on your way to old age.”

“You haven’t been a dependent since you were four. You went straight from kindergarten to old man with a studio apartment.”

“Why a boy with a life as untroubled as Gansey’s would have needed to learn how to build such a swift and convincing false front of happiness was beyond her.”

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