Monday, September 17, 2012

REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Pages: 496
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Publication Date: 19th September, 2012
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Publisher (for review)

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.

 --Goodreads summary

I think I've said this like, a billion times, but I have to say it again: I thought I wouldn't really like this. Now, I love Maggie Stiefvater's books. The Wolves of Mercy trilogy? Love. LAMENT? Love. THE SCORPIO RACES, however, was a similar situation to this one. I don't do this kind of fantasy. It doesn't interest me. Welsh legends, psychics and magic? That doesn't really interest me (except maybe the magic part). I didn't think I'd like this which is why I was so torn on whether I should read it or not. But I thought hey, what's the worst that could happen? I adored the writing and setting in THE SCORPIO RACES, even if I didn't identify with the plot itself. 

I went into THE RAVEN BOYS with no kind of expectation, because of the reasons above, so I wouldn't be disappointed. The verdict? THE RAVEN BOYS is a really, really awesome read. Like, super awesome. Like, made of awesome-sauce awesome. And this took me by surprise completely, because I was the one who was all "I don't know if I should read this, I might hate it." So this is why you should always try new things, kids.

To be honest, the story itself was something I'd happily read and enjoy if I came across it, so I think the synopsis I first read when this was announced, that suggested it was full-on fantasy was quite misleading (I can't find it now). "If you [Blue] kiss your true love, he will die," we learn about this prophecy, we learn about Blue, and we learn about Blue's possible 'true love' but I was expecting that by the end of the book, we'd see the true love die, but we didn't. I have to say that disappointed me a little because I didn't want it to go all um, "You can save them from their death" and be like every other book or whatever. I don't know about everybody else, but to me, that tagline hinted that romance was a big part in the novel, but (again) surprisingly, it's not. The story is actually a lot more than that.

I did think the subtlety of the romance really worked in the novel. I've mentioned this a billion times, but for the Extended Project A-level I'm currently doing, I'm writing a young adult love story, so I was looking forward to analysing that aspect and what romance there was, was stunning. I don't even want to call it romance exactly, because it's pretty complicated, but yeah. I thought it really binded the plot together.

There's just so many layers to the story, so many things I loved...the friendship between each of the Raven boys was confusing at first because they're all so different to each other and quite an unlikely group, but as we read on it's easy to understand why they're friends and that complexity to their relationship was really intriguing. The third person POV was awesome--we got to see inside the heads of most of the main characters and the bad-guy. I love when the bad guy gets a voice. The third person perspective also gave it that story-telling-by-the-fire vibe which was really atmospheric and increased the tensity.

Bursting with mystery and adventure, THE RAVEN BOYS is strangely compelling and highly original. The darkness is spot-on, the characters well developed, and the execution magical. I think this a really impressive addition to the fantasy and supernatural sub-genres in YA on Stiefvater's part and I am tres excited for the next part of The Raven Cycle.

Can I have the next book plz?

"Back out in the hard spring night, Gansey tipped his head back. Now that he knew that Ronan was all right, he could see that Henrietta after dark was a beautiful place, a patchwork town embroidered with black tree branches."



  1. I do love your reviews :) Glad you enjoyed this!

  2. I want to read this SO BADLY :S It sounds awesome! Glad you liked it even though you weren't expecting to :) Great review!


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