Review: The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater


3/5 Stars

The Raven Boys(The Raven Cycle, #1)- Maggie Stiefvater

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“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”

She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness. It was the way she felt when she looked at the stars.

“It’s irrelevant. It’s not growing. I’m doomed to be a man-child.”
“If you keep saying things like ‘man-child,’ we’re done,” Ronan said. “Hey, man. Don’t let it get you down. Once your balls drop, that beard’ll come in great. Like a fucking rug. You eat soup, it’ll filter out the potatoes. Terrier style. Do you have hair on your legs? I’ve never noticed.”

Plot:
Blue Sargent is used to paranormal activity. Living with a family of psychics, strange is the new normal. The only problem is that Blue didn’t inherit psychic powers, instead she is an energy magnifier, boosting otherworldly influences. For as long as she can remember Blue has been weighed down by a powerful premonition that claimed one day Blue’s kiss would kill her true love. From that day on Blue had avoided relationships at all cost and tried to live her life as if nothing was hanging over her head. Like every year on St.Mark’s Day, Blue goes to watch the corpse road but this time fate interceded. Typically Blue can’t see spirits and simply ups their presence so that her mother can communicate with them, however, this time Blue is the only one who can see the dejected boy faltering down the spirit road. Blue knows immediately that her seeing this boy is wrong, that something is starting that is bigger than she is. When Blue asks her mother’s psychic friend why she was able to see the boy she is told that there are only two reasons, that he is her true love or she will be responsible for his death. Blue feels like she owes it to the boy to warn him of his impending death and when he makes an appointment for a psychic reading at her house, she is even more convinced that their meeting is destined. Gansey is one of the Raven Boys and the boy Blue saw on St. Mark’s Day. The Raven Boys are the notoriously snobby “bastards” that shamelessly flirt with girls and flaunt their money as if they own the world. They attend the pre-Ivy Aglionby private school and have too much money, and conceit to know what to do with. Gansey is flocked by his group of Raven Boys, Ronan, an Irish bad boy with far too much anger and sarcasm, Adam, a trailer park kid whose father is abusive and who works three jobs to attend Aglionby, and Noah, a smudgy enigma of a boy with more mystery than truth. Since he was 7 and had a near fatal run in with a swarm of hornets, Gansey has had one goal, to find the sleeping Welsh King who lies hidden on a ley line. As he lay dying, words were whispered into his ear about the Welsh King granting him a wish. Teamed up with Gansey, and the other Raven Boys, Blue embarks on a quest to save Gansey from certain death, to find the Welsh King, and to discover power within herself.

PROS:

  • Ronan is jaded, violent, rude, and an all around ass but is perhaps the most developed, multilayered character in the book. His emotions are complex and buried beneath all the bravado is a hurt little boy just trying to overcome the loss of his father.
  • The character traits are written in such a simple, matter of fact way that they provide clear insight into their foundation, it’s almost poetic.
  • Blue is just the average girl. She is awkward and unsure when it comes to interacting with boys, she is confused about her feelings, but what is admirable about her is that she has such spunk. She speaks her mind and is unafraid to put down the condescending airs of the Raven Boys, she is her own person; she makes her own clothes, adorning them with feathers and lace, and despite all her intentions of standing out, is extremely sensible. Blue is an amalgamation of conflicting emotions, and wavering ideas of herself. She is the quintessential teen girl.
  • The ley lines, how they work, and their connection with spirits, and magic was different in a very pleasant way. Typically fey would be present in connection with they pocketed energy fields, that fact that they weren’t was a welcome surprise.

CONS:

  • Some dialogue like in the quoted section above was overly vulgar and came off as awkward and mildly repulsive.
  • While the idea of the story, rich with Welsh folklore, spirits, and ritual was really an interesting concept it was presented in a way that it almost seemed common place and boring. General suspense and magic were missing when they should have been present in abundance.
  • Some plot points were fragmented and barely pieced together, almost as if they were thrown in randomly like oh hey btw this happened. This left the plot feeling jumbled and a little confused.
  • Most of the minor characters are unlikable and not present. You get fleeting glimpses into their personalities and then they are gone, leaving the impression that they are incomplete.

If you liked any of the following books you’d probably enjoy this:

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-BB

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