Book Rewind Review: The Raven Boys
(The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
We are resurrecting our Book Rewind feature! Book Rewind is a meme where we review a backlist title to distinguish reviewed books that are in no way a new release. We noticed we tend to review almost all new or newly released books and wanted to have a feature to spotlight some older books that we either just read or are just reviewing because we never got around to it, or possible didn’t blog back then! We are thinking we will post this meme on Thursdays as a ‘Throwback Thursday” kind of deal.
We totally encourage others to participate in the Book Rewind Review meme! Backlist titles need love too! Just use our banner and be sure to link back to our page and tag us on social media so we can help promote your posts too!
Today we are reviewing The Raven Boys, the first book in The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater!
Category: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publication: September 18th, 2012; Scholastic Press
“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.
If you want to hit me in the head for waiting this long to read this perfection of a book, please go ahead. I would do the same probably. I was literally so angry at myself all the while I read because it’s just so good and I was missing out big time. I loved Maggie’s other books Shiver and Linger (haven’t read Forever yet), so I really had no idea what kept me back.
If I had to describe The Raven Boys in one word, that word would be magic. The whole book is just so magical and the story is the kind of unique and fascinating which you haven’t read before. While the beginning was kind of slow and I had a hard time reading it, it was still a thrilling and captivating introduction of a series with stellar characterization.
Blue was kind of an unusual character, but still felt ordinary, compared to her family. She is really different from them in the aspect that she does not have any kind of psychic abilities. My favorite scene with her was when she finally met Gansey and the others.
The boys were the actual mystique of this book. Gansey, the driven and motivated leader of the group; Adam, with his strong will for freedom and the heartbreaking backstory, who’s stubbornness made me mad so much; Ronan, the strangest and most intriguing character with massive grief and an actual baby raven; and Noah, who was cryptic and uncanny and who’s secret I suspected all along.
They were all unique, each of them had their own way and are really different from each other, yet the task of finding Glendower, the thrill of the adventure, and a strong bond connects them together and deepens their friendships. They were complicated characters, nothing like today’s rich YA boys who go for girls left and right and flaunt their money. These boys weren’t interested in partying or picking up girls for a night. They had actual problems beside school and their quest. I really loved getting to know them.
Even though I loved all the supporting characters, especially Blue’s family, there was only one character, who I didn’t love and it was Barrington Whelk. I didn’t even like reading his chapters, because you could feel his bitterness and ill will oozing out of him. What you couldn’t feel was remorse for his actions or any kind of regret. But even though I didn’t like him, on a very deep level, I could identify with him a bit.
Usually, every time I read a book, there is one or maybe two characters that I favor over everyone, but choosing just on or two between the boys and Blue would be impossible. There were things that I loved and things that I hated in each and everyone of them. But I felt really close to Ronan and kinda wish I could’ve read a bit more about him. I feel like the second book maybe centered a bit more around him, so I’m really looking forward to reading it.
While I don’t like reading books without romance, and to be honest, The Raven Boys wasn’t full of it at all, I still really enjoyed it. I even liked that there wasn’t a definitive love interest for Blue, yet it didn’t feel like a love triangle. I’m really REALLY hoping it will stay the same and Blue won’t be torn up choosing between two equally great boys.
All the while reading The Raven Boys, I’d felt like it was a rainy autumn day, even though it was hotter than hell out there. I just imagined the setting of Henrietta as a really tiny town with a lots of wooded areas and with just nature all around it in a perfect fall time, when all you want to do is sit in the window with a book and hot chocolate and watch the rain. Even though the book takes place during spring and early summer, I just couldn’t imagine it like that.
I really loved the writing and Maggie’s style in Shiver, but I think I fell in love with it completely in The Raven Boys. Maggie built a brilliant and fascinating world, and now I really want to visit a place like Henrietta, but I’m afraid nothing can come up to my expectations.
The Raven Boys left me wanting for more more more and I cannot wait to start the second book The Dream Thieves, especially after that last line. I’m hopeful that the series will only improve with each book.
*This review was originally posted on my now defunct blog on August 2nd, 2015.