Friday, August 7, 2015

Book Review: The Raven Boys

 Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult // Paranormal // Magic
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Format: Physical
Source: Purchased (Half Priced Books)

“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.

Oh Raven Boys, how can you lure me in like that and just- stop? 

Plot: The Raven Boys tells the tale of sleepy Henrietta, VA which has magic pulsing through its veins. Stiefvater takes no pity on the reader, it is your job to keep up with her cast of characters! Dick Gansey the III is drawn to an old Welsh tale that promises one favor to whoever can find the sleeping king. Being bored and completely loaded, Gansey has made it his life's mission to solve the mystery, and naturally his friends come along. 

Even though The Raven Boys gave me SUCH a book hangover, I couldn't bring myself to give it anything above 4 stars because this first installment serves mostly as exposition. Although some minior conflicts are solved, Stiefvater presents more and more questions which frustrated the hell out of me.

Characters: I entered this book extremely flustered because for the first time in YA history, I didn't know who to ship. There are hints and nudges towards the future, but romance is barely touched on in The Raven Boys. Instead, The Raven Boys focuses on friendship and the fragile ties that bind this group together. Blue's family of clairovoyants stole the show for me and I hope that we learn more about Blue's talents as well as her family in future books. 

One thing that fascinated me about the storytelling in The Raven Boys was that there was no unnecessary information given. If we are in a section told from Gansey's perspective, Stiefvater does not bother to explain, in depth, who people are and what their relationship to Gansey is, because Gansey knows this. It is only until an outsider comes along and asks the "who are these people" questions, do we get a more holistic picture. 

World Building: While Henrietta wasn't described in detail, it didn't take long for me to fall in love with the quiet town. Like most towns, there are two dominating social classes, the rich and the poor, and the tension between the two classes was very evident from multiple perspectives. 

Short N Sweet: The Raven Boys is a tease in every sense of the word. Stiefvater paints characters that you ca't help but love and a seductive tale of power and magic. 


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