Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater. The GoodReads summary:
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.
I’ll admit I entered into this book with some trepidation. While I loved “The Scorpio Races,” I wasn’t that into “Shiver,” and since I heard this book was nothing like “The Scorpio Races,” I wasn’t sure what to expect and if I’d like it. And it’s true—this book isn’t at all similar to “The Scorpio Races”; I don’t know if anything can be. But nevertheless, I’m happy to report that this book was entirely wonderful.

This book took me by surprise actually. While it’s true I didn’t know what to expect, I did worry that it would end up being a paranormal romance, which, while that’s a perfectly fine genre, it’s not a genre I tend to like. But happily for me, that wasn’t this book. I mean, it has fantastical, magical elements to it for sure, but it’s the psychics and ley lines and wishes granted kind of paranormal and not the vampires, werewolves and faeries kind. And there really isn’t much romance either. Usually, I like a bit of romance in my books, but I was totally fine without much of it here, because the friendships in this book are so central that I think a strong romance would have ruined it.

While Gansey and Blue are the main characters (and what brilliant main characters they are), the secondary characters are so vivid and necessary to the story that I don’t know if they can really be called “secondary.” I love it when an author manages to bring all her characters to life and get me equally invested in all of them no matter how much page time they get. And oh man, I love me those Raven Boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. I don’t even think I could pick a favorite one, because each has his own strengths and weaknesses, and I like them all for completely different reasons.

But I think one of the things that I admire most about this book is that it’s a good first book for a series. This series is going to be four books long, so pacing across the books is going to be important. I feel like often in series, the first book either contains too much of the story, preventing the subsequent books from being as good, or the first book contains too little of the story, making it a bit boring. But “The Raven Boys” strikes a really good balance between the two extremes, and despite my general disdain for series, I’m actually really excited to see where this one goes.

Overall, a great book with all the things I need to enjoy a book: likeable characters, talented writing, and a unique premise. I think I’m in danger of becoming a serious Maggie Stiefvater fan.

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. I love Stiefvater's writing. The Raven Boys is a must-read book for me - all her books are.

  2. Fantastic review! I have to agree - I didn't enjoy Shiver but I looooved The Scorpio Races, so while I was disappointed this wasn't as amazing as TSR was, I was still pleasantly surprised by it. I simply cannot WAIT for the sequel and I just loved the characters in this one, so I'm sure whatever Stiefvater writes next will be just as mind-blowing! ;)

  3. I had many of your same feelings... loved The Scorpio Races, wasn't blown away by Shiver... what to expect with this one? But I too loved it and felt the characters, the boys especially, made the book. Besides which, I'm fascinated with the idea of ley lines. Can't wait for more! (It was fun meeting you the other day!)

  4. I've really been wanting to read this (and The Scorpio Races). I also didn't care for the storyline of Shiver, but I LOVE Stiefvater's writing. It's gorgeous. This is a great review Karen. Can't wait to read it! :)

  5. I guess I'm with the crowd of loving The Scorpio Races and thinking the Shiver books were decent, but not favorites. I'm so happy you liked it! I'm all for character driven books, so I hope I'll like it too.


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