Monday, March 24, 2014

Novel Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Genre: YA Paranormal (with some romance)
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: September, 2012
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

“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.

The Cover:

I really, really like the cover. It's pretty, and I really like the decision to go with drawings, instead of some graphically made picture, or a girl in a dress or something. The drawing really fits with Stiefvater's style and tone. Plus, I definitely love that the cover portrays the book really well, and that the four boys on the paperback are actually supposed to look like the boys in the book. That in itself is an added bonus.


  • "Maura had decided sometime before Blue’s birth that it was barbaric to order children about, and so Blue had grown up surrounded by imperative question marks.” (Paperback, pg. 6)
  • "If she hadn’t been so vain, Blue could’ve worn the boring but functional gloves she’d been given for Christmas. But she was vain, so instead she had her fraying fingerless gloves, infinitely cooler though also colder…” (Pg. 6) I’d never thought of it as vanity before, but it’s true…
  • "It felt as if there were a larger, terribly curious Blue inside her that was about to bust out of the smaller, more sensible Blue that held her.” (Pg. 103)
  • "The poor are sad they’re poor, Adam had once mused, and turns out the rich are sad they’re rich. Pg. 132)
  • "'My mother used to say, “Don’t throw compliments away, so long as they’re free.”’” (Pg. 302)
  • "...People shout when they don’t have the vocabulary to whisper…” (Pg. 350)


This was very good, and very much an opening to whatever is coming next.
I love Stiefvater’s writing, as I always do. It’s beautiful, and the character’s and their voices were done really well. She did a very good job with this book, and perhaps I’m only emphasizing this because her book before this one, The Scorpio Races, was not as good as her books before it. Also, it’s often been hard for me to tell when her books are set, as they usually seem modern but there was always something missing, something that made it seem older. And I think now that maybe it’s the lack of technology. Computers, cellphones, just any use of high tech items are missing in her books. There are some mentions, but they’re so little. I still think there’s something else to it, but I think that’s part of it; not that that’s bad, as I rather like the feel her books have.
I loved the characters. I don’t feel like we got to know them as well as we could have, though, for some reason. Like I didn’t get to know them as people, or something. And I think part of this might be because it seemed like almost every scene was put in for a specific reason, to move the plot forward or set up a plot point later on; none of it was just for the characters to develop (although they did develop along the way). This isn't necessarily bad, but sometimes I just love the scenes where the characters are just being people.
But still. Blue was great. I related to her in ways, and I loved her thoughts on things, her hesitance but straight-forwardness. And her family, the group of older-lady psychics, were fantastic. Her relationship with her mom, Maura, was really nice and mature and honest once they got past the lies and secrets. The other psychics were great, and I loved their all-knowing, cryptic statements, and the readings they gave.
Then there’s the group of raven boys. I did like Gansey a lot, his quest and determination and responsibility. I know his relationship with Blue is going to develop more later, and I’m looking forward to that a lot.
I like Adam a whole lot, although I’m a little conflicted about him now. At first he seemed sweet and a little broken, beaten down, but like he was going to get better. But now it seems like bad things are in his future, and I’m not looking forward to that. Also, what happened to him near the end of the book has me a little confused…
Noah was a sweetheart, and I like him a lot, and am really happy with what happened to him in the end. I want to see his relationship with Blue grow, though, since we only got hints of their friendship here.
Then there’s Ronan, who I really don’t know what to think of. I like him. He’s tough and hard around the edges and there is definitely something bad just around the corner for him. But at the same time he has that raven and I can tell there has to be some kind of good hiding inside him. I want to see that part show itself. But also, what did that ending mean? 
Quite a bit happened in this book, but at the same time it's very much a beginning. A lot more is in store for these characters and their story, and I’m really intrigued and interested and excited to see what happens next.

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