“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.
This is one of those books I really wasn’t sure about when I was told I had to read it for the Toronto Forever Young Adult Book Club. I am SO happy to say that I was totally wrong about it. This is one of the best, most creative paranormal books I’ve ever read. It’s unique, it’s different, and the writing is BEAUTIFUL.
The concept. Can I just say right here that this was not what I was expecting at all? There’s a quest, and medieval history, and a little bit of mystery and intrigue, and awesome magical elements. All of that was awesome, and this is one of the few books where I really couldn’t predict what was going to happen next, which I really, really liked.
I know quite a few people are looking for romance in this book. I mean, with a synopsis like that, you kind of expect there to be swoony moments with Blue and Gansey, right? And yeah, there are a few moments that are pretty intense, but it wasn’t what I expected. Stiefvater is really going for the slow build in this novel, and I really liked how it focused more on the characters and their problems than it did on the romance. I suspect the romance is still coming, so just hang on until the next book.
Honestly, there were only two little teensy things that bothered me with this book: one, it was long, and while I kind of loved the slow pacing and the build up of tension, it’s not something I see a lot in YA, so I could see some teens getting a little frustrated.
The other thing that kind of bothered me is really my own fault. I didn’t really know this book was a series (I think I was confusing it with Stiefvater’s stand-alone, The Scorpio Races), and when I found out that it was a series with THREE sequels, I was like,
I think I’m having a bit of series fatigue.
That said, [VERY slight spoiler] I’m glad it didn’t end on a huge cliffhanger so that I’m not feeling that achy annoyance that I normally feel. I will definitely be picking up book 2, The Dream Thieves, but I’m grateful that I’m not on the edge of my seat waiting for it.
Gorgeous Writing For Literary People: It’s so dark and Southern Gothic-y. Stiefvater’s
description and word choice is precise, fanciful, and it just
works perfectly with the setting. I could see the vintage-y warehouse
where the Raven Boys live, and the stateliness of Aglionby, their
school, and the quirkiness of too many people living at Blue’s home.
Epic Quest: I love action-adventure with a little bit of mystery. I always loved the idea of Link and Zelda, and that’s what The Raven Boys feels like to me: a quest for truth, for identity, and one that will change the world and history as we know it. I LOVE IT.
Complex Characters and Relationships: Much of what I love from good contemporaries is that they focus on characters and how they relate. The Raven Boys and Blue felt so real to me by the end of this. I wanted to be their friend, I understood that how they worked together went deeper than even the book could explore.
The Final Word
With very strong writing and incredible characterization, and a compelling medieval-inspired, magical plot, The Raven Boys is one of the most creative, and best executed YAs I’ve read this year. If you’re a contemp reader, or someone into literary fiction, and looking for something different, I highly recommend The Raven Boys.