Review: The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) – Maggie Stiefvater

the raven boysEvery 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.

Rating: 5/5

What an unexpectedly beautiful, lyrical book.

It wasn’t romance-heavy, but the tension was still there. Furthermore, the plot was intriguing enough that I honestly didn’t notice. The ebb and flow of the prose was just magical, and for all the seriousness of the events that occur, a gentle humour permeated throughout the book.

And oh, the characters. I loved the depiction of the relationships between the four boys, and how they all deeply care for each other, masked as it is by conflicts and outlandish adventures.

Blue, the female protagonist is quirky and somewhat of an outsider, due to her unconventional and impoverished upbringing in a family of female psychics. She sometimes feels left out even within her chaotic household, being the only member without psychic ability. She is also brave, proud, and willing to put Gansey in his place.

This feeling of exclusion is somewhat echoed in the character Gansey, who possesses material riches but seeks fulfillment that money can’t buy. Furthermore, his good intentions go awry when he inadvertently insults those he tries to help. Although he appears to be the ringleader of the group, he notes that he needs them more than they need him – he is unable to walk away from them even when they abandon him. He is so full of yearning, and a desire to be something or do something.

Adam’s character had a side of cold ruthlessness revealed near the end that I found rather chilling. I understand wanting to be his own person, and making it on his own, but it appeared that he was determinedly living in intolerable conditions just for a principle. He could have paid Gansey back when he was older, for example, signing a contract to this effect in order to save his pride whilst being able to live without being hit or working three jobs. Hell, maybe that’s just me.

I would love to find out exactly what the secret was that killed Ronan’s father, and what caused such a giant rift between the three brothers. Also, we never really find out anything about the younger boy. Ronan has an angry, brash exterior which appears to mask a deeply hurt soul. And Noah. Oh my. His story is so incredibly sad.

The Raven Boys is a darkly mystical tale, interwoven with ghosts, spells, copious amounts of Latin and orange Cameros. This book is an absolute treat.

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