The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publishing Date: September 2012
Genre: young adult, fantasy, gothic
“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.
Gansey is on a quest to raise Glendower, a Welsh king with the mythical legend akin to King Arthur, from the dead. He has wealth, privilege, and intelligence, as well as a group of friends who strongly believe in the supernatural. Together, their heartbreak and sorrow spur them on this quest; they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Blue, daughter of a psychic and cursed to kill her true love with a kiss, is drawn to these Raven boys, and can’t help but stumble into their adventure. But when the boys’ past begins to haunt them, and time bends out of shape, they wonder if this quest for Glendower is worth the risk…and inevitable death.
To read this book, one needs to suspend disbelief. It is a fantasy of sorts set in the real world. There are no wizards and dragons, but a very strong faith in ghosts and legends. Psychic powers are strengthened in Henrietta due to the ley lines, where Gansey believes Glendower resides and where Blue knows the soon-to-be-dead walk to the afterlife. Years of research steeped in lore spur these characters on.
At first I had difficulty finding this entertaining — the reactions to time stopping, to seasons changing in minutes, and to visions of the future weren’t as surprised as I’d expected. Rather, these characters seemed completely at ease instead of shaken. Too calm. But as the reader delves into the mind of each character, learning about their history and why they have such faith in finding something only spoken about in legend, they became more real. These boys are fully-fleshed characters with a dire need to prove themselves. Ronan comes from a broken family; Noah is the epitome of death; Adam is abused; and Gansey tries to solve everything with money, even though he doesn’t like those principles. They have nothing to lose in finding Glendower, and their desperation increases as events spiral out of control.
The ending was rushed and jarring, and certainly ends on a steep cliffhanger. Thankfully the second book will be out in September 2013.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater”
A Simple Taste for Reading
I really enjoyed this book! Have you read anything else by Maggie?
I haven’t! Any suggestions? I’ll probably read the next in this series though.