Book Review: The Raven Boys

|+| Triggers: Abusive home situations |+|

“She wasn’t interested in telling people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.” ~The Raven Boys

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Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA paranormal/mystery romance

Summary: Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

My Opinion: I totally blame the read along by buttermybooks  for getting me to finally read this book. But note in that very friendly blame is an incredible amount of gratitude. I heard someone say once that you don’t pick books, they pick you. You’ll read the right books at the right time. This was definitely the case for me with The Raven Boys. The diversity and depth of characters, the world building and the mythology completely sold me on this book and series. 5 stars!

I’ll start off by getting my one complaint out of the way. Blue. Without her you don’t have a story. Blue is the trigger for everything just about. Yet I feel like I knew very little about her. From the summary I was under the impression that Blue was the main character and so we’d see a lot of her. We saw a good bit of her, and I really enjoyed what I did read about her, but I felt like I knew Gansey and Adam simply because so much time was spent on them. I’m hoping this will improve as the series goes on, but that was the one thing that got on my nerves.

Despite that I loved this book. I learned a lot about myself in this book in a way. Not only does it have a plethora of Welsh mythology (my family is originally from that area, a few generations back mind you, but still, I felt connected to my history), it also touches on a lot of raw human emotions and situations that I could relate to. I found myself wanting to pack up and look for my own Cabeswater or find a magical portal and move into the world of the Raven Boys.

In my favorite books I’ve been able to see a large part of myself in the main character, and only really in them. Yet in The Raven Boys, I saw a part of myself in Blue, Gansey, Noah, Adam, and Ronan. Together the elements of them all added up to me in a way. It made the book a very personal experience because I could deeply and equally connect to the five main characters. That made certain parts of the book hard to read for sure, but made the book so worth it. While I wasn’t able to relate as deeply to the minor characters, they were still fleshed out and interesting. This speaks to Stiefvater’s skills as a writer, to be able to flesh out each character to the point where readers can deeply connect to each one.

I really do think Stiefvater is my new favorite author. Her style reminds me a bit of the writing found in The Great Gatsby (which is one of my favorite books fite me). Lyrical, somewhat repetitive in parts to get the deeper meanings across, and very natural. Something about the writing style made the book incredibly emotional, even in the slower parts. Even if Stiefvater wrote in loving detail how Adam made a sandwich and spent 12 pages on it I would enjoy every single one of those pages (she doesn’t but seriously I’d read it). I’d also probably know a whole heck of a lot about Adam. That’s just Stiefvater for you. Slips in things that you don’t think are important that lead to massive plot twists.

Kind of like the major plot twist that I’m not talking about because of spoilers. I had to put the book down for a bit to comprehend what I had just read when I came to that part. Yet that wasn’t the only plot twist and all twists were well done. Each twist used everything that was already previously explained. I never felt like these twists were out of the blue and never felt like I was cheated by them.

Ultimately you should read this book. Go read it. The characters are deeply interesting, the plot twists are actually twisty and the mystery is well done. If you like magic, epic quests, smart people sometimes doing stupid things/stupid people sometimes doing smart things, really freaking weird forests, and Welsh mythology you need to read this. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of all of those things, give this book a try.

TL;DR: The world building, character development, and beautiful writing style made this book one of my favorites of the year. It’s a beautiful book on so many levels and I really cannot recommend it highly enough.

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