Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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.

Let me just start off by making this clear: the synopsis of this book does not do the actual story justice. Not by a long shot.
Yes, Blue is apparently destined to kill her true love with her kiss, and yes, she meets four Raven Boys.

More than that, though, this book is about an eccentric family of secretive psychics and a non-psychic daughter, a journey to find a magical ley line, the legend of the Welsh king, Glendower, and the fierce friendship between four boys that is complex and heart-breakingly beautiful.

The best part of this book, for me, is definitely the friendship between the four Raven Boys.

You've got Gansey who is born with unimaginable privilege and harbors an obsession for finding the legendary Glendower. I loved the dichotomy of Gansey's character! On the surface he is the cookie-cutter rich boy, but beneath that there is this inexplicably complex nature, from his deep insatiable yearning for Glendower to his love and protectiveness of his friends. I wish I knew the right words to describe Gansey, but all I can tell you is that he is a truly unforgettable character. 


"In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.
They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed able to walk away from them."

Then you've got Adam, sweet and endearing Adam. He's a tortured hero who has been able to retain this rare kindness and gentleness about him despite the hell he grew up in. Adam comes from nothing and, like Gansey, yearns for something more, but he won't accept anything unless he's earned it himself.

"It means I never get to be my own person. If I let you cover for me, then I'm yours. I'm his now, and then I'll be yours."

Ronan is the bad-boy of the bunch; angry, intimidating, and downright dangerous. However, there is a concealed softer side of him, a side that may not be described as "kind," but definitely shows that he cares more about people than he seems to. His past is shrouded in mystery and I really cannot wait for the sequel to find out more about him!

"Gansey had once told Adam that he was afraid most people didn't know how to handle Ronan. What he meant by this was that he was worried that one day someone would fall on Ronan and cut themselves." 

Last, but certainly not least, is Noah, the most mysterious of the four--but just as endearing. Noah harbors a dark secret which plays an integral part in this novel, both in the the mystery of the book and in the relationships between the Raven Boys.

"Noah was a good bellwether for people. He was so shy and awkward and invisible that he could be easily ignored or made fun of."

These four boys are as different as could be, but they fit together like jigsaw pieces falling into place, balancing each other and keeping each other in check. Their relationship is complicated, but so compelling to read about, and before I could help it, I'd fallen in love with each of them.

I've read Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy and part of her Scorpio Race, and in The Raven Boys, her writing is still effortlessly gorgeous! Her descriptions are so vivid it's really like I'm in Henrietta, Virginia with its hot days, cold nights, and mountain air.

The only frustrating part of this book, for me, was the romance. Or lack thereof. As a romanceaholic, I crave that bit of romance in books and as I was reading this, I was constantly anticipating the emegence of the romantic element....but it never came! Not really. There was a slight blossoming of feelings, but for a story that emphasized how Blue was going to kill her true love, there really wasn't a whole lot of love present.

AND THAT'S OKAY.

Let me repeat: It's okay that there wasn't much romance. I still loved this book regardless. The story, the mystery, and especially the characters drew me in and kept me a willful prisoner for 408 pages.

Rating: 4.5 stars*

All in all: I. Need. The. Sequel.
I need it now! This book captivated me while I read and even when I finished, I could not get the story or the characters out of my head. So the question now is, how many "reallys" do I have to put before "recommend" to get you to read this?


*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review purposes. All opinions are my own

5 comments:

  1. This was such a good book. It wasn't fast-paced, but I don't think that mattered because it was totally compelling. I especially liked the Raven Boys themselves. The dynamic between them was so, so interesting. And I'm like you, I'm a total romance-aholic. I'm pretty sure there's going to be more swoon as the series goes on. :)

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  2. I don't mind the fact that there isn't so much romance. I don't think it would bother me, especially not when I read the rest of your review. I love the sound of this book! The characters; awesome :) Great review.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  3. You said all of the same things that I did about this book! I love the relationship between the raven boys. I love them all! And I was actually glad that there was no romance to muddle the wonderful story. I can't wait for the next book!

    Maggie posted a little book #2 title teaser on her blog. You have to read the whole crazy car rally racing post - she's so darn funny. Her race car is going to get wrapped with the cover of book #2! Can't wait to see it.

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  4. Oh wow. It sounds even more amazing than I thought. And that gif says it all!
    I'm not such a romanceholic, so I don't mind it not being the focus of the book. Looking forward to reading it!

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  5. lol that gif is AMAZING! I've never read a book by Maggie but you've definitely convinced me that I'm missing out!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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Thanks so much for commenting! I read every single one and they always make my day! <3

*Sorry, this is now an awards-free blog as I've already been nominated for them. Thanks for your consideration!

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