Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REVIEW: THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater




Title: The Raven Boys
Series: The Raven Cycle, #1
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 5/5

SUMMARY

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.




REVIEW

For a long, long time I’ve heard many great things about this book, so of course, once I started reading it, I had high expectations. Still, no matter how high the expectations I had, in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined just how hard and fast I was going to fall in love with this story, the characters, the writing, and the world-building. I was, to put it mildly, blown away by it all.

Yes, I know. I’m going to spit out the usual stuff about characters and world-building and such, and I might even bore you to tears with all of it. But allow me to have my say while trying to get my haphazard thoughts in order. One of the most magical elements of this book is the eloquent, enormously imaginative writing. It’s so beautiful, I read entire passages over and over in wonder of the picture the author paints with a few, well put-together, simple words.

The next thing that stood out for me were the unusual, uncomplicated, characters firmly ensnared in complex relationships.  They were each a delightful discovery that made me want to be part of their tight circle. Blue’s family of psychics might seem a little overwhelming at first, but they grow on you. However, the raven boys, for me, were the real stars that made this such an incredibly compelling read.

This is the first book I’ve read where the focus is not so much on the leading lady, but more on these three boys who share a brotherly bond unlike any other. This story is not only about how Blue came to be part of their lives, but rather how they allowed her to become part of their inner circle. There’s a good amount of angst between these boys with their rather dysfunctional lives, but instead of it becoming emotionally-draining drama, it fits in with the characters’ background stories, and gives their friendship meaning and purpose.  

Three boys and a girl – there should be romance, right? Maybe a love-triangle even? To be honest, there are hints about romance to come in the next books, but the little “romance” there is in this book, takes a massive backseat to the main storyline – exactly the way I like it! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from The Raven Boys, it’s that the author likes to surprise the reader. Then when you think about it, you realize the clues were there all along, but still the writer manages to catch you unawares.

Stiefvater took a simple concept and turned it into something plausible, possible, and magical. The idea of waking a ley line got me interested enough to Google it and discover more about this paranormal phenomenon. All in all, I loved everything about this story. The setting the author created was done magnificently, and is simultaneously breathtaking and terrifying. The pacing slowly builds up to an open ending that doesn’t really leave you hanging, but rather promises bigger things to come in the sequel. What I’ve heard from several sources so far is that the second book is even better than this one! 

If you’re in two minds about reading The Raven Boys, throw your doubts out the window, plunge with reckless abandon into this story, and be amazed and awed by the splendor of this one-of-a-kind novel! 


  



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ABOUT the AUTHOR


All of Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she's tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She's made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.



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