If Blue Sargent kisses her true love, he will die. Or so she is told. Blue is the only non-psychic of 300 Fox Way, and that’s what her aunt Neeve and mother Maura both see in her tarot cards. But Blue is not without an intuitive power of her own. Neeve, who is famed for doing her readings on television, and Maura, who does her readings privately, both benefit from Blue’s ability to amplify any psychic connection. That’s why she accompanies them each year to the watch at the churchyard on St. Mark’s Eve, when the spirits of the future dead appear. Sensible Blue is glad to be of some use, despite never seeing them for herself, until now. Meeting Gansey, one of the privileged Aglionby Academy boys in spirit and in person not only confirms her doomed first love, but sets in action a chain of more-than-coincidental events in which Blue becomes part of the Raven Boys and their fated magical quest.
This book. How could it not be one of my highest anticipated reads of the year? I’ve alternately liked immensely or passionately loved each of Maggie Stiefvater’s books. Genre and premise aside, count me anxiously excited every time she has an upcoming release. I was thrilled to snag this at BEA this summer, but I let it sit on my shelf for awhile until everything felt right in the small corner of my world, and as always, I’m glad that I did. The Raven Boys is a chilling read, befitting the autumn season as many of her previous books (The Scorpio Races, Shiver, Ballad, and others) do.
I’ve been mulling over The Raven Boys in the handful of days since I finished it and I can say that although the book wasn’t a perfect read, and I didn’t love it unequivocally, I can use any number of glowing adjectives to describe it - striking, haunting, and beautiful to name a few. That first line, Blue, and her quirky clairvoyant family hooked me from the beginning. My attachment to the Raven Boys – Gansey, their self-assured leader; Adam, the scholarship student with a secret; Ronan, the broken rebel; and Noah, the taciturn, gentle boy in the background – developed gradually over the course of the novel but became just as substantial. It would seem as if Blue is the main character from the opening chapters, but it’s quickly apparent when the perspective switches to Gansey, Adam, Barrington Whelk and others that this group of characters share the narrative equally. For the most part the constantly changing perspective kept me intrigued and more deeply invested in the characters, especially Adam and Gansey. When Blue first meets them, their stereotypes are dominant, but with a little patience, their personalities and motives as well as the complexity of their relationships with one another are fleshed out in the second half of the novel. So if you can stick with these flawed, united boys, you will be richly rewarded. I particularly connected to how the classic rich/poor dynamic threw a wrench in Gansey and Adam’s friendship. And who could forget volatile Ronan? The mystery behind Ronan’s struggle with daily life and the circumstances surrounding his father’s death have piqued my curiosity. That’s what I love about these characters – there is so much potential for them, both realized here and waiting to be realized in subsequent books. While there were a few chapters in the middle that lagged and lost my attention momentarily, the setup for the series is flawless and concluded with suspense and satisfying resolution to the book’s plot. Still, we’re left with many unanswered questions and unresolved fortunes and I’m impatient to see how each mystery is solved, especially Blue’s romance. If the emphatic opening The Raven Boys is any indication, the next two (or three) books of Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle are going to be just, if not more, epic. Needless to say, I can’t wait.
Alison Can Read review – “I can’t recommend The Raven Boys enough. It will take awhile to catch on, but the pay off will be well worth it.”
Angieville review – “Read this book. Read it because it involves ancient magic, dirty Latin, and sleeping kings. … I don’t care why you read it. Just as long as you do.”
The Midnight Garden review – “I’m happy to find another Maggie Stiefvater book that I like so much and I’m incredibly excited to see where this story goes next.”
The Mountains of Instead review – “With each book Maggie Stiefvater improves and The Raven Boys she has created a sprawlingly awesome start to what is surely an epic story. Highly, highly recommended…”