Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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More involved and complicated than the synopsis suggests, The Raven Boys combines magic, mythology and ghostly tales to weave a web of intrigue surrounding characters as complex as their plight.

From Goodreads:
“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.

It took me a good third of this book to get to the point where I didn’t want to put it down. That first third introduces us to the complex characters who are unique and separate yet form a unit made of strong bonds and a sense of rightness. They are supposed to be here, in this place, at this time, together. Although sometimes tedious, this extensive introduction is needed so that we can understand each of them, where their coming from and what draws them together. Blue is a strong female character and her “family” is full of quirky personalities. Gansey and his friend all attend the same elite school but are each haunted by their own demons and are fighting to find more than just what lies on the ley lines.

Parts of this book gave me chills to read. Maggie Stiefvater is an impressive storyteller and her writing shines in this book. It’s haunting in parts. It delves into social status and how it can separate even the best of friends without them wanting it to. Those that have money and privilege feel like that’s all anyone sees in them and those without feel inferior. It’s a bridge that’s hard to cross. Gansey, most of all, is taking on the responsibility of trying to save everyone which isn’t always welcomed the way he hopes.

I was expecting more of a star-crossed love story but it’s more focused on brotherly love. One things for sure, these teen are driven more so than I think boys this age would be. But they’re not normal boys, their Aglionby boys, which is wholly different.

Now that the stage is set, I look forward to reading the next book in the series. There is still a lot more mystery and magic to uncover and based on the last sentence in the book, things are about to get even more interesting!

View this book on Goodreads.
View this book on Amazon.

Listen to NPR’s interview with Maggie Stiefvater.

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.

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