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

I’m killing it at the game I like to call “Finally Get Around to Reading Much Loved YA Series.”

Today’s much loved book is The Raven Boys, the first in the Raven Cycle quartet, and boy oh boy do I have thoughts and feelings on it.

Interested to see whether those thoughts and feelings fall in the good or bad category? Then Keep on reading!

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17675462The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 18, 2012)

Print Length: 409 pages

Audiobook Length: 11hrs and 8 mins

Narrator: Will Patton

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.

The Review

My first five star read of 2018, and let me tell you, it may be hard to top.

Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is so dark and deliciously atmospheric that I forgot that The Raven Boys was written for the YA genre and just read the book for what it was, a story about a girl and four Raven Boys. I also didn’t mind when the perspective shifted between Blue, Gansey, and Adam. It gave the complicated premise a chance to grow organically, rather than have one character experience everything, leading to what I could only assume in some other YA novels as a hefty therapy bill for certain characters. Plus, the humor that Stiefvater interjected through out the book had me in stitches several times, more specifically the diner scene with Gansey offering Blue money.

Speaking of the characters, Stiefvater has a way of making each character unique and yet fit perfectly like pieces of a puzzle. Of course, I couldn’t talk about characters without talking highly of Blue Sargent. With her dark, spiky hair, and less than conventional way of dressing, Stiefvater was able to represent individuality without being preachy about it. Also, to have her not have an ‘active’ psychic power, in the sense that her mother and housemates do, which the cast at 300 Fox Way were hilarious, was a choice I didn’t necessarily appreciate at the start of the novel but totally understand at the end.

Each of the Raven Boys, Adam, Gansey, Noah, and Ronan, each had a purpose for being a main character in the narrative. Gansey was the leader, trying to keep his boys, and later in the novel Blue, safe and together. While his methods were sometimes questionable his intentions were always good and I hope Stiefvater doesn’t rip my heart out by the end of the series. Ronan seems like he has some secrets to still tell. He’s rough and tough on the outside but then there are moments where you see just how emotionally perceptive he is, as with his relationship with Chainsaw. Adam character was heartbreaking, both in his familiar relationship and his doomed relationship with Blue. I so hope, out of any character, that Adam gets a ‘happy ending’ by the end of The Raven King. And, to round out the Raven Boys, Noah. My jaw literally hit the floor during his ‘reveal’ like how does someone even come up with a twist like that?!

Finally, if the beautiful writing style and memorable cast of characters isn’t enough to have you picking up this book, Stiefvater’s ability to weave historical themes into The Raven Boys is outstanding. Once I finished the novel I ended up researching both Owain Glyndŵr and the theory of ley lines, which to me is a sign of historical concepts well used, so besides being thoroughly entertained I also learned about some things I had no knowledge of beforehand. So, thanks Maggie!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And there is my review for The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater. Do you have a five star recommendation for me?  Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.

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