Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I am so in love with Maggie Steifvater there aren’t words. This book just keeps getting better every time I reread it.

5/5 stars

Book one of the Raven Cycle

*This book is on my Top Shelf*

Amazon description of The Raven Boys:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

The Raven Cycle is magical and whimsical. I love it. At first, Maggie Stiefvater’s world building seems like nothing more than infusing a few old myths with a modern town setting.

It is so much more, and I can’t even begin to describe it. READ THE BOOK.

The writing is incredible. Steifvater has an incredible talent for putting words together in a way that you never would have imagined but that works perfectly. Her writing style matches the subtly magical tone of the series. She effortlessly lets you see into her characters’ minds, foreshadows the plot and yet keeps you guessing. The plot is subtle and admittedly slow the first time you read it (but every time you reread it you know what’s coming it is soooo intense), but it builds to a complex climax.

The book has deep societal themes woven into the story. I like the way that Stiefvater doesn’t overpower her series with social messages, but lets them shine through on their own. Specifically, I felt like the messages about poverty and teenagers’ identities were done well.

It is the characters that make this book for me. Blue is just absolutely wonderful. She’s eccentric and proud, aware of her roots, and willing to stick to her beliefs. Blue is the only non-psychic in a house bursting with them, gifted with the unique ability to make other people’s psychic gifts stronger. This obviously leaves her with a bit of an identity crisis as to what she wants to do with her life–and she finds the answer with a mysterious quartet of Raven Boys.

Blue has always avoided Raven Boys, the elite preppy students of Agloinby Academy  that dominate her small town of Heneritta. Gansey and his three loyal friends break the mold, allowing Blue to join their ranks in their quest for a long-lost Welsh king and magical things called ley lines.

The friendship between the Raven Boys (and eventually Blue) is amazing. I love books that capture the feeling of being in a indestructible friend group, and this book epitomizes this. Each of the boys individually has a complex, troubled character, full of quirks and nuances without being cheesy or overdone. The dynamic between the four boys is complicated and real. Stiefvater lets it slowly unfold over the course of the book, starting with a random group of schoolboys and deepening their relationship until they are basically brothers.

And then there’s Gansey. If I could date one boy I’ve ever read about, I’d date Gansey. Basically hands down. He’s hot, and literate, and addictive. He is an enigma and he is sooo much fun to read about.

The romance. All that I’ll say is that it is not what you would expect. From the synopsis, it seems like this is going to be a series dominated by the cheesy and annoying trope of I-love-you-but-I-can’t-have-you. It isn’t. The romance does not play out the way it seems like it should (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it), and it never takes over the plot, which is focused around the ley lines search. I really respect Stiefvater for writing an interesting romantic plot point (Blue will kill her true love if she kisses him), but still creating a plot autonomous from it.

The last line of the book. All I can say is that it redefines cliffhanger, but in a good way (I usually hate endings like that). Anyone who has read the book can attest to the wait–what?-ness of the ending. I could not wait for the second book to answer my questions.

I’ll admit the book is a little slow the first time you read it. However. The writing and the way Stiefvater crafted the tale is still amazing and can still be appreciated. Also, it’s better if you reread it. Also, the second book is SOOOOO GOOD that you will forgive the first book for ever making you doubt the amazingness of the series.

I’m rereading the second book, The Dream Thieves, right now, and loving it, of course. To anyone who read book one and wasn’t convinced: please read the second one. Seriously.

The third book in the cycle, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, just came out and I’m dying to read it. Reviews for books two and three coming!

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