Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Summary: “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.”
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.
I need to start this review off by just saying what an amazing author Maggie Stiefvater is. The way she writes always makes me feel like the most simple things in the world are suddenly beautiful. She has a way of describing things in such a magical, stunning way, it’s easy to see everything she is writing about. She creates such interesting, realistic characters, I’ve come to realize that I don’t think I’ll ever be disappointed with one of her books. That was definitely true with this one.
The Raven Boys is about a girl named Blue who lives in a house full of psychics, but she isn’t one. She has a rare gift to basically amplify others’ powers, to “make things louder” for everyone else. Blue only has two rules: One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards. The problem is, the spirit of a boy Gansey, who just so happens to be an Aglionby boy, speaks to her, so not only is he going to die within the year, but she is either the one to kill him or he is her one true love. Deep stuff, right? Oh did I mention that if Blue ever kisses her true love, he will die? So maybe it’s both with Gansey. Add in a mystery, a journey for an ancient lost Welsh king, and a bit of magic, and you have yourself a fantastic book.
The story revolves around Blue, Gansey, and his three loyal friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. A lot of what I liked about this book was the friendship between the four boys and they way they relied on each other. Gansey was like the glue holding them all together, but each boy had a part to play. This brotherly bond, the way they interact with each other, playfully and anxiously, it was more interesting to me than the romance aspect.
Starting with Gansey of course, he was my favorite character. Ever since he had a near death experience, he has been obsessed with finding ley lines and awakening Glendower, the ancient king that was supposedly hidden somewhere in Virginia. He is passionate and driven, and likes to use big words in everyday conversations. I loved that he had such passion for everything in his life, his pursuit of the king, his relationship with his friends, he didn’t do anything halfway. I loved the way he spoke and was oblivious about certain things, but he seemed so sophisticated and old, like an ancient soul sometimes. He doesn’t fit into the stereotype of a rich, privileged snob of a boy, instead he is simply inquisitive, adventurous, and determined.
Ronan is someone that I’m hoping the next book will go more into. He is kind of the dark, tortured soul of the group, fighting people, drinking all the time, skipping school. His life went downhill when he found his father dead and it ripped his family apart. He fights with his friends a lot, but is loyal to them down to his core. But there is something fascinating about him as person, that under his rebellious exterior, there has to be more inside, a deep regret or sadness that he hides under the darkness. We know for sure that he is keeping a secret, and I can’t wait to find out what.
Adam is the scholarship kid, working part time jobs, trying so hard to fit in. He wants out of the life he has so badly (not that you can blame him) and he works hard for what he gets. He has his friends, he got into the prestigious academy, but it isn’t enough for him. I actually didn’t like Adam that much. I felt really sorry for him, but he was really an asshole to Gansey a lot. It was like he blamed Gansey for having all the money that he wanted, and it was his fault for wanting to help his friend. Adam is a little too money hungry and proud, and I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that he is going to make some bad choices because of this.
Noah wasn’t in the story that much, he was always just kind of hovering around the outside of the group. The big reveal with him was kind of predictable, although maybe that’s just because I’m a genius. I’m hoping now that certain (spoilery) things have been resolved, he will have more of a presence in the next book.
Blue has lots of heart and spunk, I loved her so much. It makes me sad though to see the burden she has to live with, to want to be just a normal girl and have her first kiss. Her close relationship to her mother and the rest of her family was a bright point in her life and she showed it. I also liked watching her form bonds with each of the boys, in different ways. Her romance with Adam in this book was sweet but a little sad, because I’m pretty sure that Gansey is her true love, and Adam doesn’t need any more heartbreak or sadness in his life. I almost want to hate Blue because I’m so afraid the romance aspect of these books are going to cause complications in the boys’ friendship that I enjoy so much. However, I have to say, I hope she ends up with Gansey. Sorry, but I can’t resist a passionate, scholarly, complex guy.
Overall, the mystery in this book was intriguing, as well as all of the folklore and psychic stuff, but it was the characters that really did it for me. Blue and her boys, Barrington Whelk (yes, that’s really his name), her mother and the rest of the psychic women, they were all so interesting and real. I never once felt bored with the story line or the characters, and the end of this books holds lots of promise for the next one, with the mystery surround Ronan and the curious case of Blue’s father. This quest that Gansey is leading them all on, it feels like one of revelation and destruction.
Also, that last line… uh, what? If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about. My brain exploded.