The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Review

Format: Hardcover, 409 pagesPublished: September 18th 2012 by Scholastic Press ISBN:  0545424925 (ISBN13: 9780545424929)Edition language: EnglishOriginal title: The Raven BoysURL: Raven Cycle #1
Format: Hardcover, 409 pages
Published: September 18th 2012 by Scholastic Press
ISBN: 0545424925 (ISBN13: 9780545424929)
Edition language: English
Original title: The Raven Boys
Series: Raven Cycle #1

Synopsis from Goodreads: “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.
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.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: The Raven Boys is my first Maggie Stiefvater book and man, am I glad I started here.  This is just my kind of read with drama, lots of history, mystery, murder, magic, and a tiny little bit of budding romance.  For Blue Sargent several things have always been certain: 1) she is not psychic like every other member of her immediate and extended family; 2) she will never, ever become entangled with a raven boy and; 3) she must never ever, ever, ever fall in love for the moment she kisses her one true love, he will die.  That blows!

The boys of Aglionby Academy are known as the raven boys thanks to the presence of the bird in their school’s crest and on their perfectly pressed and totally pretentious school uniforms.  The so-called raven boys are the ultra-rich, ultra-snobby, ultra-entitled buttholes who attend the ultra-exclusive Aglionby Academy.  For Blue, these assumptions have almost always proven true and been more than enough reason for her to stay the heck away from all of them.  And then one day she meets Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah and nearly every assumption she has ever had about the raven boys gets blown out of the water.  Here’s the rundown:

Gansey: I sort of love Gansey.  He is very rich (and sort of oblivious about money), very smart, driven by his quest, and one of the most compassionate people in the entire cast of characters.  Gansey feels responsible for Ronan, Adam, and Noah and often sacrifices his own needs and comfort in order to better support and/or protect them.  Though Gansey has no (revealed) magical and/or psychic abilities, he does have an uncanny knack for finding things of myth and legend that no one else has ever been able to find.  The current quest: find the long-lost tomb of the Raven King, Owen Glendower.

Ronan: WOW!  This guy has some seriously stunning anger management issues most of which are directed toward his now-dead father and domineering older brother, Declan.  Ronan is kind of scary but throughout the novel has moments of true kindness which are as unexpected to him as they are to the reader.  These moments of kindness endear him to the reader but his overall role in the plot (and future installments) is still a bit unclear.

Adam: this is a character who elicited all kinds of mixed emotions for me.  Adam is by far the poorest of the raven boys (and is painfully aware of this) and is only at Aglionby because of a partial scholarship.  Inexplicably, Adam has become involved with Gansey, Ronan, and Noah and their quest to find the Raven King.  I like Adam’s determination to work hard and earn his way in the world but his stubborn nature and pride often cause him to make some seriously stupid choices.

Noah: this is the character that can’t really be discussed without offering up some super-spoilers and I just won’t do that to you.  You can thank me later.  Suffice it say, I like Noah and was pleasantly surprised by him and his role in the plot.

The quest for Glendower’s tomb is all-consuming and is the thing that brings Blue into the raven boy’s world.  Each of the group has something to contribute to the quest and without one another nothing would be accomplished.  The early instances of the entire group coming together are uncomfortable for everyone and bring me to the only real complaint I have about this book.  While I generally like Blue, her attitude toward Gansey and Ronan and their money really gets very old, very quickly.  We get it, they have money and you have an attitude about it; suck it up, Buttercup!

The Bottom Line: Although this story takes a bit to gather its momentum once it gets going it sort of steam rolls right on through to the end.  There is such a mix of elements with the psychic, magic, and paranormal elements that you never really know what element is going to come into play next.  The pacing toward the end and the twists and turns are both informative and interesting and will keep you turning the pages.  Most of the big plot questions are answered by the novel’s end but it is clear this series is not yet complete and the search for Glendower’s tomb will continue!!

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