Book Review

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys

  • Author: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Series: The Raven Cycle #1

CONTENT WARNING: death, violence, death of a parent, mention of a suicide attempt, child abuse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve. Either you’re his true love … or you killed him.”

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, and he’s a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from the 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. 

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 loved the Shiver series, and figured I’d see what she could do with this trip into the land of psychics. And I was completely drawn in. 

Initially, the story is slow-moving, but it picked up speed as I continued reading. Almost imperceptibly, I was pulled into the strange world of Henrietta, Virginia, where Blue and the Raven Boys cross paths. Their stories seem unrelated at first, but gradually cross paths until you realize that they’re completely intertwined and that the characters need each other for their stories to play out. 

“Gansey always thought that, after dark, it felt like anything could happen. At night, Henrietta felt like magic, and at night, magic felt like it might be a terrible thing.”

I loved the way that the characters were rendered so beautifully. Each one was so well-developed and unique, but they interact completely with the others. There is one exception, but they’re involved in a whole other plot twist, so you’ll have to forgive that part. It felt as if this was a fantasy story that was balancing right on the edge of the real world — almost as if it could actually happen somewhere. Like it wasn’t all that far-fetched. The concept of ley lines and psychics are such an intriguing idea to base the story on, and I was all about it. Even the fact that while Blue herself was born into a whole family of psychics, but her ability was just to strengthen the abilities of others:

“In Blue’s intensely clairvoyant family, she was a fluke, an outsider to the vibrant conversation her mother and aunts and cousin held with a world hidden to most people. The only thing that was special about her was something that she herself couldn’t experience. ‘I hear as much of the conversation as the telephone. I just make things louder for everyone else.’”

I enjoyed that while there are aspects of romance, it’s very slow-burn, and felt entirely suitable for the characters. We aren’t really sure of exactly what’s going on, just like the characters aren’t fully either. They’re more devoted to their tasks, which makes sense. They are on a schedule, after all. I wish the author would have explained more about why it was so important to get the names from the dead — I feel like such a big deal was made out of it, but then they really didn’t do much with the names, so it just kind of felt like a setup to have Blue and Gansey cross paths. Other than that, I truly loved this book and can’t wait to start reading the next one.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 11

6 replies »

  1. One of my all-time favorite series! You have to keep reading. Many of your questions might be answered in the next books. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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