Friday, November 9, 2012

Becky's View: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
♦publisher: Scholastic 
♦release date: September 18, 2012
♦hardcover, 408 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series:  Raven Cycle, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review

“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.

Review: It's always exciting to see Maggie Stiefvater come out with something new. Her stories are always so imaginative, her writing so lyrical and beautiful.  I gleefully anticipated this new series from the moment I heard of it's existence, and even more so after seeing the incredibly unique cover.
And now that I've finished it and can think back on it as a whole, I can say that I really enjoyed it.  As a whole. all honestly, I have to admit that there were a few times that I very nearly put this one down.

The prologue and first chapter were perfection...eerie, dark, and utterly compelling.  I was drawn in and immediately convince that what lay ahead was going to blow me away.  But then, somehow, it just lost it's grip on me.  We're introduced to the main band of characters of the story: Blue and her family of psychic women, and of course, The  Raven Boys themselves: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. We get glimpses into their lives, their personalities, their individual quirks, but for almost 120 pages, nothing really happens. At 50 pages, and then again at 100 pages, which are usually the two places that I give books to absolutely draw me in to the story---I stopped and didn't know if I wanted to continue.  I didn't care much for any of the characters at that point, they were mildly interesting but I just wasn't invested in what was going on.  But I pressed on---why?  Because it's Maggie Stiefvater.  I've loved her work before and I just couldn't give up.

I am glad I stuck with it. It may have taken until chapter 15, but from that point on, this story is pure magic.  What it took, for me, was for the character to come together.  Blue and the Raven Boys finally come together and the whole story just starts to come alive!  Eerie and magical things start to happen, a subtle but very sweet and unsure love story starts to blossom, and every one of the five of them just starts to show a side of themselves that you can't help love and feel compassion for.  It was like night and day.  Gansey, who at first seems cocky and pretentious and clueless about anything but his rich-boy life turns out to be smart, endearingly curious, and so caring about his friends---I think he surprised me the most throughout the story. The whole group of them all had their problems, but they were all so tightly bound together by their friendship that each of them was able to face it all with bravery.  And Blue was a firecracker---I love how well she was able to hold her own among this odd mix of boys and the even more bizarre group of women she had at home. 

There are some really great creepy moments along the way as they search for a legendary lost king. The plot unfolds with much cleverness and mystery.  Ghosts, killers, visions, and magic among the trees---while this story may have taken a while to really get going for me, it took my breath away in the end.

Find Maggie Stiefvater online:  Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase The Raven Boys:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I have this on reserve at the library and am really looking forward to reading it. I'm glad you said to stick it out, because sometimes it's hard for me to continue a book when it's slow and I have so many others waiting in line. I'll stick this one out though!

  2. I'm glad that you continued and ended up liking it so much! :)

    "There are some really great creepy moments along the way as they search for a legendary lost king. The plot unfolds with much cleverness and mystery. Ghosts, killers, visions, and magic among the trees---while this story may have taken a while to really get going for me, it took my breath away in the end."

    This really did it's job: you totally got me excited to read this book. It sounds SO good, thank you for sharing and I can't wait to try it out :)

  3. Great review! I'm glad you stuck with it! I loved this book a lot but I think a great deal was about setting up this plot and world. I'm really looking forward to book two now! I think that the prologue may have been my favorite part of the book though, there was just something about it.

  4. Oh my Gosh! Even after 2 months of reading it the first time! i still can't stop gushing about it! :)) i'm also happy you continued reading..sometimes in great books, there are still dull moments. But if you press harder and get through it an amazing thing will come out of it. :))

  5. I totes understand where you're coming from. I'm reading this now, and I love the writing and the idea of the characters, but the characters themselves haven't won me over yet. I'm hoping they do, because I do like Stiefvater's books. And the plot is eerie and mysterious, so let's hope.

  6. Huh. Well, that's not ideal, but it's good to know at least that I should be patient while reading this one and not give up too soon! I do definitely want to read it - it's just too bad that it didn't grab you immediately.