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Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Raven Cycle (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 408 Pages

ISBN-10: 0545424925 (Scholastic)

ISBN-13: 978-0545424929 (Scholastic)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: This wonderfully dark world is filled with words that are sharp and unique, complementing the emotions that are felt throughout the pages.

Opening Sentence: Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I’m a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve read most of her books, if not all. There may be one that I haven’t read, nor do I have it in my personal library, but I can’t remember what the title is at the moment. I received a copy of her latest, The Raven Boys, and I couldn’t get over the interesting cover. Brush strokes created a dark raven, colored in dark and dire colors against a white background. The font used is plain as day, which I think added to the simplicity and intrigue. I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to start reading The Raven Boys.

Steifvater’s The Raven Boys is her latest series. Told in a multi-point-of-view, The Raven Boys is a story about the dark lore of death and the afterlife. The lives of four teenage boys showcase this mysterious story, linking their lives to the legend of Glendower, unexplainable powers, and the life beyond. As a commonality, they encounter another young life, a girl, who lives a life on the other side of the spectrum, but with a gift that the boys need. Together, they walk the fine lines of good and evil to find the legendary Glendower, to hopefully be granted a wish. What they don’t expect are the dark evils that reveal themselves while doing so.

The Raven Boys has 5 distinct characters. There is Blue, who has a very talented psychic family, but does not possess any similar powers. Instead, she is somewhat of an amplifier, bringing others’ powers to a magnified and heightened level. Blue is used to strange and abnormal. Another significant character is Gansey. From a rich and prominent family, Gansey is filled with independence and free-will, only a benefit afforded to him due to lack of worry and stress. He is smart and well-rounded, but often naive to reality and how the “other half” live. Gansey is obsessed with the legend of Glendower, for reasons yet unknown.

Ronan is the dark, tall, and brooding character, who is ill-tempered and quick to act. He is unapologetic for his actions, and mostly has a laissez-faire attitude towards life. He is secretive, yet surprisingly loyal when the time calls for it. Ronan is the darkest one of the bunch, but you’ll find out why. Adam is the one that I didn’t expect to belong to this group of wayward boys. He is the straightest one of the bunch, the one with the moral compass and the conscience, but is often swayed by the camaraderie he has with the rest of the group. Adam comes from a different type of family, one that is not as privileged nor kind. For that Adam is the stronger one of the group, having to overcome so much more than the others. And then there’s Noah. He is the most curious one, by far. He is mysterious, enigmatic, and every other type of adjective there is along those lines. As a reader, I didn’t find out that much about him in the beginning, so it was interesting to slowly discover him, chapter by chapter.

Stiefvater’s world is dark, definitely. Teetering towards almost scary and creepy, The Raven Boys is filled with many world-building elements. From the prestige of an Ivy-League private boarding school to the haunted graveyard, The Raven Boys fills the pages with descriptions and details. Words are sharp and unique, complementing the emotions that are felt throughout the pages. Secrets, lore, and historical references add an additional element to the story, one that beautifully pieces the story together.

Stiefvater has always been a favorite when it comes to writing and her work on The Raven Boys is no exception. There was degrees of passion, obsession, and compulsion, which I all felt as I read throughout the story. There were a few areas that I didn’t care for, but they were momentary lapses of time, quickly overlooked by the next wonderful scene. The characters each have their own depth and level of complexity, but together they all made sense. Stiefvater created wonderful characters, no, people, to tell her story, and I loved getting to know each and every one of them.

Notable Scene:

Gansey pulled open the door to the sidewalk. No sign of Adam. Guilt for calling him out for a false alarm was beginning to settle in. Though…he wasn’t entirely certain it was a false alarm. Something had happened, even if he wasn’t yet sure what. “Where did you say you found that bird again?”

“In my head.” Ronan’s laugh was a sharp jackal cry.

“Dangerous place,” commented Noah.

Ronan stumbled, all his edges blunted by alcohol, and the raven in his hands let out a feeble sound more percussive than vocal. He replied, “Not for a chain saw.”

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.

A raven, of all the birds for Ronan to turn up with.

Gansey didn’t believe in coincidences.

Raven Cycle Series:

1. The Raven Boys

FTC Advisory: Scholastic provided me with a copy of The Raven Boys.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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2 Responses to “Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Midnyte ReaderNo Gravatar
    1

    I loved this book and I loved hearing your point of view. Your description that this book is filled with sharp and unique words is spot on.

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  2. JuneNo Gravatar
    2

    Now I HAVE to read it. Great review!

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