Book Review: The Raven Boys

the raven boysRating: Fire star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920

Well, I finally got around to reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, and I can totally see what all the hype is about. It was just so unique, and I thought the writing was marvelous. I loved each and every one of the characters. They were all so complex and perfectly imperfect, and had distinct personalities. The first sentence put me under a haunting and beautiful spell, and it didn’t let up until I finished the book.

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told she would kill her true love.”

It was just a normal St. Mark’s Eve night, when Blue goes to the corpse road and watches the future dead walk by. Except, she can’t actually see them, but her energy apparently heightens the energy for her psychic family. But, for the first time she sees a boy named Gansey. Now, her life is intertwined with him and his crew, the Raven Boys, as they embark on a magical treasure hunt to awake the Welsh King Glendower. 

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

There were so so many characters in this book, but the main five were Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. I loved Blue. She was the type of girl I want to be friends with. She’s strong and outspoken, but caring. I related to her feelings of inadequacy, in an entire psychic family, and I loved how throughout the book she starts to grow into her role and recognize that just because she’s always been content with being left in the dark doesn’t mean she has to be left in the dark. And her relationship to these boys was so sweet and honestly what they needed. She balanced them out, with her knowledge of the otherworld, and also was the voice of reason, as the boys got caught up in emotions and secrets and conflict.

“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

Gansey is the true leader of the pack. But, he doesn’t embrace it in a way that makes him power hungry. He is the leader because he has a heart of gold, and is charismatic, and most of all understands each of the other boys and pulls them back in when things get out of hand. Yes, he could be condescending and arrogant, but the best part about him is he honestly doesn’t recognize when he is, and tries to fix it. I loved how passionate he is about his search, and how much he cares about his friends. Adam may see him as controlling, but he isn’t doing it to gain power over them. Gansey just wants to make sure each of his friends is okay. 

“The most important thing to Adam Parrish, though, had always been free will, the ability to be his own master.”

Adam is the quiet observer of the group. He’s the only one of the boys who wasn’t born rich, and this always led him to feel inferior to them. He values his freedom above all else, and therefore refuses to let Gansey help him escape his sucky home life, because he wants to be their equal not under someone else’s power. I liked Adam, I really did, but sometimes I think he let his pride get in the way too much. Gansey could’ve helped him escape his home and he could’ve had a better life, but Adam didn’t want to accept help. But he’s still sweet and kind and admires all of his friends even though  he’s also jealous of them.

“The approval of someone like him, who clearly cared for no one, seemed like it would be worth more.”

I suspect that further into the series I’ll secretly start to love Ronan. Right now, he’s cruel, lazy, and a little malicious. But, the endearing parts of his personality are starting to creep out. Watching him with his raven, or protecting Adam, or even around Blue, his caring and protective side is coming out. And especially around Gansey, I feel like you can tell he’s just lost, suffering from an awful home life. I love his relationship with Gansey, and how they treat each other like brothers. I love how Gansey doesn’t give up on him, and you can tell Ronan appreciates it immensely, and loves Gansey fiercely. And for some reason, I love how passionate he is about Latin. The fact that he doesn’t care about anything else academic, but leads the class in Latin, is very endearing and I feel like has something to do with his father.

“I’ve been dead for seven years, that’s as warm as they get.”

Noah is the shy, kind of floaty member of the group. He always seems to be present at just the right time, and know things that most don’t. I think his backstory is super interesting, and also was completely unexpected. It really added another dimension to the story and made it even more complex. We got to know the past him and current him and reconcile them together.

Besides this lovable cast of main characters, the secondary characters were equally quirky and lovable. Maura, Persephone, and Calla, the resident psychics, were great. I have to say I loved Calla the best, mostly because she treated Blue the most adult-like. Maura, her mom, especially keeps her in the dark and tries to protect her from her own future, but Calla and Persophone applaud her for moving forward and becoming her own person. I think the fact that each of them have slightly different skills is interesting, and have slightly different approaches to sight readings. Together, they balance each other out and create a really fun trio. I’m excited to see the role they play in the future.

“You’re looking for a god. Didn’t you suspect that there was also a devil?”

I’ve always had a soft spot for legends and myths, so this plot was really intriguing. Also, magic. I love magic. And this magic was less Harry Potter and a little darker, so I liked that aspect of it. I think the dilemma of knowing your future and trying to avoid it is so classic and great that it was put in, but Stiefvater added the aspect of love, and that really makes it more complicated. Because it’s a double edged sword. The true love between Blue and whoever is sweet, but the following death is inevitable.

I also just have to applaud the writing style. It was almost poetic, it was so beautiful. It kind of had the feel of the writing style in The Book Thief (high praise from me). The symbolism and imagery and ambience set was just beautiful. It fit the mood of the book perfectly. It was moody and dreamy and floaty and riddle-y, but honest and real. It was written in third person, but we were able to see inside the head of each character. I loved the setting of a small town in rural Virginia. It added to the feeling of magic and uncertainty.

Overall, this book was exquisite. Everything about it was so different than other YA books, and the writing was so fresh. Each character was perfectly fleshed out and real. The plot was rich with secrets, and I know it’s only going to get better. I have zero idea of what is going to happen in the next books, but I love that uncertainty, the wildness where I can’t predict it. This book is very magical and I’m so glad I picked it up.

Did you read the Raven Boys? What did you think? 

 

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