The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Press on September 18th 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 409

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

3.5 Stars

So technically, this was more like a 3.75 than 3.5 stars for me. Do you see, dear friends, what this book has done to me? Call the police! I would like to press charges against this book for making me give a three-quarter star!

The Raven Boys is the solid start to a promising fantasy series weaving a compelling tale of magical forests, ancient kings, and power and greed. But foremost, this is a story about love, friendship, and sacrifice. Are thou ready to be enchanted by the Raven boys?

“Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”

I know that, if you’re reading this and you’re a Raven Boys enthusiast, you’re disappointed that I didn’t give this 5 stars. The thing is: The beginning was very, very slow. I found the book easy to put aside even after having reached the 50% mark, whereas the ending was so gripping I couldn’t stop reading. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t invested throughout the book but it hadn’t completely sucked me in until shit got real towards the end.

The world-building was more confusing than enlightening at first, which increased the difficulties I experienced getting into this series. I do love the magic concept, though! Blue’s family being psychic was intriguing but nothing compared to the broader concept. I love how Stiefvater created a magical element – the Ley lines – that is impalpable, mysterious, and dangerous. The little twist at the end, hinting at further magical development, had my blood pressure increase quite a bit. I’m curious to find out what Stiefvater has in store for Blue and the boys (one boy in particular) in the next instalment.

Needless to say, I love the characters. The boys are such a dynamic group of memorable individuals, and Blue was adorable with her funny outfits and her witty personality. If I could give the protagonists a separate rating from the plot, I’d give them a bazillion stars.

“Blue. My name’s Blue Sargent.”
Blue sighed. “Jane.”
“Oh, Jane! I thought that you were saying Blue for some reason.”

Blue’s character was easy to grow attached to. She’s a little different, a little quirky and so wonderfully naive. She’s from a psychic family yet she herself is not. Her family was equally likeable – her mother Maura is a bit excentric and doesn’t believe in traditional parenting, whereas her aunt Neeve spreads a little mystery, and her cousins Calla and Persephone are reliable sources for quick-witted retorts, having me crack up a few times.

The Aglionby Raven boys as individuals were so distinct, yet they form an entity difficult to think apart. I enjoyed all of them equally, yet for different reasons. Gansey is the leader, sort of. He’s a dreamer, an adventurer, he’s fixed on finding the Ley lines, and we learn he has a dangerous Bee allergy. Ronan is the troublemaker. He’s a foul-mouthed thing with a temper, more prone to act than to think. However, he’s an incredibly loyal figure. Adam is the bothered one. He’s quiet, a little shy and thoughtful. He’s not from a rich family like the other boys, which affects his self-worth. But he, like Ronan, is exceptionally loyal. Towards the ending, a reckless side of him begins to show. Noah is the peculiar one. His behaviour struck me as weird from the beginning. He’s a little awkward but quickly warms up to Blue. And he has a terrible secret.

An additional aspect worth mentiong is the writing. The writing is drop-dead beautiful. Stiefvater weaves words into delicate phrases as though this was ballet rather than written art. I kept making markers for sentences worth remembering. In addition, the sassy humour is an absolute delight to read.

I have no idea why I’m even writing a detailed review since I feel like the last person on Earth to have read this book, but I hope you all had a wonderful trip down memory lane!

Though the beginning was a bit slow and confusing, the book unfolded like a blossom, with the captivating characters being at its core, pulling you in until you’re caught up in their world of magic. (Ok, I feel like I went a little overboard with the figurative language there, but you get my point).