Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page Count: 416 pages
Summary: 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've seen a lot of hype for this series. A loooot. Not just from bloggers but even from people I follow on tumblr. So much passion for this series and it's characters. Especially it's characters. I'd heard about Richard Gansey III way before I even learned where he was even from. And the fan casts and graphics people on tumblr made were absolutely flawless. (For example, some I've loved recently are here, here, and here). What I'm trying to say is, I had expectations. Lots of them, more than I've had for a book in a long time. I also thought I knew how the book would go because of a lot of what I heard. But I was wrong. This book was nothing like I expected it to be. 

And I loved it.

Maggie Stiefvater gives the reader a story that is such a different story than what I've read a lot of recently. Her prose. Her descriptive writing and how she lays the story out for the reader. It really had me immersed into the town of Henrietta, Virginia (can I say I squealed at the story being set in my state). And the mystery of the novel, was truly a mystery. Even with the information being fed at a moderate pace I was constantly wondering, just how connected is Gansey's search for this king connected to Blue and her family? One thing that drove me a little crazy: the pace of the relationships. Not romantically, but just how much time it takes for Blue and the Raven Boys to connect and to go forth in the story as a group. I'd heard so much about how great they all were together and I was impatient! But it wasn't something that took away from the story for me, either, impatience aside. Plus, the plot speeds up plenty once the book reaches it's climax. And what a climax, because I really was not expecting the things that are revealed.

The Raven boys, man. These were some very interesting characters. Their differences in not only their very selves but their lives and their outlooks on life. They all clashed but still felt deeply for each other in subtle ways. Ronan was so wild and brash but I couldn't roll my eyes at his rebellion. There was something so much deeper under the surface. I was hooked from the moment he started taking care of his little raven (I can't express how fucking cute and perfect I thought this was). Then there's Adam and the pride he takes in his independence and how hard he tries to make a better life for himself despite his circumstances. That determination and the way Stiefvater shows the good of it, and the flawed (I was a bit upset at how he brushed aside Gansey's worries). Then, Gansey and his perfectly gentlemen ways but his often very privaleged look at life and how that also clashed with others. But he wasn't cavalier about it. Even Noah and his comfort in his silence (or his need really, because whoa buddy at what we get from his character).

Blue and her family were just as entertaining and vibrant on the page as the boys. They were humorous and really brought an extra oomph. Her reticence to get involved with Aglionby boys and then her eventual relationship with this group, and how everything evolved, was done very gradually, as mentioned before. But the slow burn was something that worked smoothly. It didn't bore me. I also liked that the romance was a slow burn. Lets be real, the definition of a slow burn. But considering Blue's hesitations and what is foretold about her true love, it works just right. Realistically, one wouldn't rush head first into love that is suspected to end in death, after all.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Enough that I couldn't stop thinking about these characters, and I'm about to head straight into The Dream Thieves. I'm excited about the focus on Ronan! Thank god for amazon gift cards.