Friday, 4 January 2013
Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Released: 19th September 2012 (UK)
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Reason for reading: It's Maggie Stiefvater, of course I was going to read it
“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.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.
There aren't many authors whose books I would read indiscriminately, but Maggie Stiefvater is one of those authors. She could write a textbook detailing the life cycles of tree frogs and I would probably read it. I always have expectations of what her books will be about, and she always manages to smash those and totally blow me away with her literary offerings. You think you know exactly what to expect from this book, exactly what will happen, but The Raven Boys is so much more than the synopsis suggests.
When Blue's mother forbids her to get involved with the raven boys, that's exactly what Blue decides to do. Because her mother has never forbidden her to do anything before and well, she's as intrigued by their search as she is by her mother's order. The raven boys are looking for a myth, a great king of legend said to reside somewhere along the ley line Blue's sleepy little town Henrietta has been built on, and the more time she spends with the odd group of boys, the more she grows to like them, and the more entwined in their search and their lives she becomes.
Blue was a really down to earth, likeable character which seems an odd thing to say about a girl who lives with a bunch of psychics but it's true. Knowing she's going to kill her true love doesn't lead her to angst and forbidden romances, but a very pragmatic decision to never kiss anyone, just to be on the safe side. Blue's extended family of friends and relatives were a mish mash of personalities that, despite getting little page time, shone out. But it was the raven boys that really captured my attention. Gansey, the leader was in part a rich, self-entitled boy with all the arrogance and self-assurance that comes with that, but for the most part an obsessive researcher, with all the quirks and mannerisms that come with that. Adam was sweet if sometimes a little silly in his decisions, Ronan was a bad boy, the like of which we get in Stiefvater's novels a lot, but each has their own distinctions and Ronan was no exception. He's a lot more dangerous, a lot more unstable than even Cole St.Clair and Sean Kendrick. I'm looking forward to seeing how his character develops. Noah was an interesting one, I didn't expect the character development we got for him at all, literally I was so shocked by it, but it was clever and it worked.
I loved how the plot had so many aspects to it, Blue's curse, the Glendower myth, what Blue's aunt was upto and all the rest of it, it made the story rich and interesting to read, and I loved how it all linked together to form one cohesive plot. My only quibble was the ending, which I found confusing and not quite complete, but then I discovered this was the first book of a series. I still feel it could have been more polished at the end though, it felt a little sudden, a little abrupt
TL;DR: The Raven Boys is a richly intricate, unique offering from the queen of beautiful prose and diverse characters Maggie Stiefvater. Perfect for fans of her previous books, but great for anyone looking for mythology, magic, adventure and unpredictability in a novel.