The Raven Boys was impressive. The book has a plot inventive enough to keep a reader guessing, and is populated with a fabulous assortment of characters who bring the story to life.
The Raven Boys centers on Blue, the pragmatic daughter of the town psychic, and her relationship with an eclectic group of prep-school students known as the Raven Boys. Led by sociable, rich, and effortlessly pretentious Gansey, the boys and Blue investigate the grey area between science and myth for “ley lines,” energy pathways tied to geographical areas. Their ultimate goal is finding the sleeping ancient Welsh King Glendower, who they believe slumbers somewhere on the East Coast. Blue’s household of women psychics adds depth to the plot. They all foresee that if Blue kisses her true love, he will die, and that this is the year she will fall in love.
Stiefvater adds color and strength to an already well-thought out plot (this book actually lays the foundation for continuation as a four-book series) with her delightfully realized characters. Blue is a well-developed protagonist, with relatable qualities and a personality that corresponds with her upbringing in a female-dominated, independent world that accepts the supernatural. Secondary characters are truly brought to full-bodied, dynamic characters in their own right. Blue’s mother and aunts, though relatively minor characters, have in-depth personalities and deviate from the stock characters of Supporting Albeit Domineering Mother-Figure. Blue receives assistance from her aunts to spy on a houseguest, and her mother has never given her a direct order.
The four Raven Boys each bring a fully developed and dynamic character to the scene, characters which have life both on their own and a synergy as a group. We are introduced to three of the boys from Blue’s perspective:
“One was smudgy, just as he said, with a rumpled, faded look about his person, like his body had been laundered too many times. The one who’d hit the light was handsome and his head was shaved; a soldier in a war where the enemy was everyone else. And the third was—elegant. It was not the right word for him, but it was close. He was fine-boned and a little fragile looking, with blue eyes pretty enough for a girl.”
The personalities of each boy are as distinct emotionally as they are physically, allowing true group dynamics to form. Each character relates to the others in an individual fashion, which makes the book more realistic.
The book is written from different points of view, so insights to internal feelings as well as their external interactions are both expressed. In this way, Steifvater creates holistic characters and the presentation of their side stories as well as role in the overall plot, is believable.
One complaint on The Raven Boys is that it is the first book in a series of four. The Raven Boys opens more doors than it closes, and as an impatient reader, I enjoy closure at the end of my novels, which is not provided here. Steifvater has the content to make a full, balanced story, in the same way that Melina Marchetta’s novels are separate entities that are fantastic in their own rights. The foreshadowing of plot intricacies in the books to come made me feel like I would eventually be overwhelmed.
Though Stiefvater writes books in series like most other YA authors, she breaks the mold in terms of subject matter and literary quality. Recently, supernatural fiction has heavily weighted the balance of young adult books. However, The Raven Boys asserts its individuality by breaking trail instead of following in the footsteps of mainstream supernatural, with lay lines and Welsh mythology creating an intriguing and fresh premise. What’s more, Stiefvater is a self-professed perfectionist, and it shows in her writing. This book demonstrates a lot of thought and effort, not only in plot organization, but also in the crafting of sentences and presentation of dialog. There is fluidity to the writing that weaves metaphors into a narration that connects the reader to the emotions of the novel.
In her blog, Stiefvater writes of a previous book:
“If it was about these things that were eating at me, it would have emotional truth, and no matter how great your plot or your hook or your legend is, if you don't have the emotional hook, it's just not going to mean anything to anybody else.”
The emotional hook remains in this novel. The Raven Boys is polished, consistent, interesting, and will leave you thirsting for the rest of the series. I recommend it as a solid piece of good writing for young adults, as well as anyone in the mood for a bit of mystery and an unforgettable assortment of characters.
Excellent writing style, and beautifully developed characters.
Ever since she was a little girl there has been a prophecy about Blue Sargent, if she kisses her true love he will die, and this prophecy has been around for so much of her life that Blue has grown quite used to it, at times believing it and at other times thinking it’s a trick from her clairvoyant mother to keep Blue from kissing any boys. Then one night on St. Mark’s Eve in a church yard Blue sees a spirit of boy who will die within the year. But Blue isn’t a seer and the only explanations for her seeing a soon-to-be-spirit is: one, he is Blue’s true love or two, she is the one that will kill him. Blue has never met the boy however and all she knows about him is that he is a student from Aglionby, a Raven Boy, and that his name is Gansey.
Gansey is a boy on a quest, sort of like Indiana Jones but with less bad guys to beat up and tombs to raid, though, he is looking for a tomb. For many years Gansey has been searching for Glendower, an old Welsh king, why? I’d tell you but then that would spoil you. Aiding Gansey in his quest are his three closest friends Noah, a shy boy who barely speaks and does less of everything else, Ronan an angry boy with a broken past who seems to want to destroy his future, and Adam who tries his best in school and has multiple jobs so that he can truly be free and never have to depend on or belong to anyone.
The Raven Boys is a story filled with ley lines, magic, and old Welsh mythology and it is a story about friendship, complex characters and their complex relationships. And although The Raven Boys focuses very much on the plot of Gansey’s quest, the story also equally focuses on the lives of the characters, not only their back stories but their goals and motivations, their personal lives and their starkly different personalities that seem to mesh perfectly even though logic says they shouldn’t.
When it comes to her writing Maggie Stiefvater has a very subtle style where she will say a lot but with very little words making almost every word you read vital. I like this because it kept me focus on what I was reading and kept my mind whirring as I worked out what a character was doing or not doing. I also had to be careful though because when I got caught up in a scene I would need to slow down, re-read it and make sure I understood what just took place, which I didn’t mind because I loved reading this book.
In my opinion this is Maggie’s best novel yet, not only is her writing wonderful but the story is unique and the characters intriguing. I’ve heard there will be four books total in The Raven Cycle series and I know it’s going to be torture waiting for each one of them.
Maggie's wonderful writing gets better and better
Original plot about Welsh mythology mixed with individual story lines and sub-plots.
A great cast of unique and interesting characters
We’ve all heard the saying slow and steady wins the race. But in books, sometimes that seems counterintuitive. If the storyline is just too dang slow, you’re gonna put that sucker down. So it takes a lot of skill to make a story progress at a slow pace, yet still keep you glued to your seat to figure out what happens. That’s exactly what Maggie Stiefvater does in “The Raven Boys.”
“The Raven Boys” follows the story of Blue, a psychic’s daughter, who is told from birth that the boy she falls in love with will die. To avoid being the killer of an unsuspecting fella, Blue avoids flirting, handholding, kissing, or dating of any kind. Of course, in comes a group of guys, who despite their snooty upbringing at a private school full of spoiled rich kids, each have something charming to offer. This seems like a recipe for disaster.
From that brief plot summary, this story seems action-packed. It most definitely is, but the real heart-racing antics don’t get going until the second half of the book. The beauty of the first half is that even if there isn’t as much action, the mystery of it all is just so darn compelling you can’t wait to find out what spiritual antics are bound to happen. Stiefvater shows that the world doesn’t have to end, girls don’t have to fall in love with vampires, and protagonists don’t need to wield bows and arrows to really grab your attention. It’s putting just the right amount of small little morsels of plot clues, perfectly placed, that will really get your mouth watering to keep devouring a book.
An addicting sense of supernatural mystery.
Wonderful plot surprises.
An array of developed characters.
Masterfully crafted pacing within the storyline.
Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Raven Boys“ is hands down my favourite book of all time. So much so that if I could only ever read a single book for the rest of my life, this one would be it. Not any of the Harry Potter series or “The Lord of the Rings“, but “The Raven Boys“. Why?
Well, I’m a firm believer in that the best story cannot possibly work without great characters, and boy, do I love these characters to pieces. There’s Blue, the slightly odd, sensible daughter of a psychic, and of course her Raven boys - seemingly entitled rich kids that attend Aglionby Academy: Gansey, a drop-dead wealthy explorer, the less unfortunate Adam who tries to make it from rags to riches on his very own feet, there’s Ronan, the angry dreamer, and there’s Noah, the glum little creeper (and of course batches of brilliant supporting characters!) Each of these five protagonists are so real and raw, it’s quite impossible to not fall in love with each and every single one of them over the course of this magic carpet ride. And Henrietta, West Virgina, is a whole new world filled with magic, adventure and loyalty, with its eyes on exactly these fast five friends.
But the characters aren’t the only things lovable about “The Raven Boys“. Stiefvater has managed to find a quest so outrageously fascinating it’s hard to put the book down once you start reading. I used to be completely put off by the medieval studies classes I had to take at uni, but somehow, she managed to get me interested in this topic again, and I was excited to delve further into the history of Welsh prince Owain Glendower (a real Welsh ruler by the way) and the hunt for his corpse on the infamous ley line in town.
And this is also where Stiefvater manages to enthrall you with her writing (from different POVs) so much so that it is able to create a feeling so magical and of such utter peacefulness that it is a hauntingly beautiful reflection to her magical adventure quest of a story. Reading this book, you can’t help but feel completely at home in the setting.
Honestly, I can never stop fangirling over this book because it has everything I love about literature: amazing prose, beautiful characters, quick humour, so much magic that it transcends the pages, great twists and revelations that keep its seemingly slow pace interesting enough to never want to stop reading, a gorgeous 1973 Chevrolet Camaro (in orange!) and above all great friendship and a great undertaking for the something more.
I really enjoyed reading The Raven Boys. It was filled with mystery, magic and adventure.
The Raven Boys had a great plot that was well written. It had some unexpected elements and twist to the story. And I loved the combination of psychic elements, ghost, magic and more!
Gansey and his friends are on quest to discover a king and Blue is somehow connected to it. Together they try to find out where the king is buried but someone else is also searching for the king too.
I loved the characters. The friendship between Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah was real and truly something great. I also liked how Blue fit in with them and clicked immediately. Blue's family; Maura, Persephone, Orla and Calla were also as interesting and unique as Blue.
I really loved diving into The Raven Boys and can't wait to see what Blue and the raven boys do next!
"The Raven Boys" is a haunting, lyrical masterpiece. Blue is a young woman whose mother is a genuine psychic. She has grown up being you'd that she'd kiss her true love and then they'd die. Later, she finds out this person is a "raven boy," or a student at the elite boy's school, named Gansey. Gansey is obsessed with finding ley lines. Together with Adam, Noah, and Ronan, they explore the mystical area around them and find more than they bargained for.
Altogether, this is a beautiful fantasy novel that hooks you and keeps you waiting for more. It's haunting and lovely. There are more issues and events than I can discuss here, but it's really an incredible book and I can't wait to read the next. I'd definitely recommend not reading it close to bedtime if you are a wimp like me (I have a low threshold). But definitely read it!!
A magical realism novel that I truly couldn't put it down!!
This book is absolutely amazing! Beautifully written and compelling, with memorable characters. I was completed invested in each of them!
The story started out slowly, but then I couldn't stop reading. The Raven Boys is a book that deserves to be savoured, a lot more complex and mysterious than I thought it would be. The ending left me wanting so much more!!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvatar is a must read for the fall. The lore is unique and the plot will keep you turning the pages late into the night.
The Raven Boys is unlike any book I’ve ever read. The lore starts out similar to things we have read in the past, psychic family with the one girl who doesn’t have any power, the fact her family has seen her future and it’s not pretty. Then it becomes something completely different about long lost princes who will grant a wish to the one who finds them and the mystery surrounding the legend of Glendower.
Blue is the only non-psychic is a family bursting with them. Blue is also destined to kill her true love with a kiss. So her life is a complicated to say the least. Even though Blue can’t connect with the spirits her presence enhances other psychics’ abilities. Every year Blue helps her family watch over the soon-to-be dead but never actually sees anyone until now.
“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.”
Blue doesn’t worry too much about her future until she meets The Raven boys, a group of friends who attend the local private school that caters to the rich. Gansey is clearly the leader who holds the group together and the one on a mission to find Glendower, a Welsh Prince with a mythical story. Then there is Ronan, who is angry at the world due to the loss of his father. Adam is the local boy masquerading as a Raven Boy. Adam’s home life is not pleasant and being a poor Raven Boy isn’t always easy. Lastly there is Noah who observes everything and only talks when it is really important. The group of boys are so well written and while on the surface appear very different Stiefvatar finds a way to make them work as a group.
All of the characters are so richly drawn and believable. Blue’s family which consists of not only her mother but aunts and cousins adds a rich layer to the story. While the main characters are teenagers the story doesn’t feel like it is written for any age range. It is just an incredibly unique story that keeps you guessing to the very end.
Maggie Stiefvatar has written a story that is fascinating and unique. It takes a legend not known to many and adds layers of mystery and science that take the story to a different level. Her writing is so well paced you won’t be able to put the book down. While the story may seem like a romance with the whole kissing and true love aspect it is at its heart a mystery that isn’t bogged down by the romance aspect. It is definitely a story that has something for everyone.
This story is like few others out there. If you like mysteries with incredible characters and a plot that constantly keeps you guessing this book is for you. The Raven Boys releases on September 18, make sure to pick up your copy.
I loved this book. It was so typically YA and then it changed and I was delighted and surprised. I haven't read many books like this, because so I haven't read much paranormal ghost stories. And then there is quite a bit of urban fantasy, romance and magic thrown in too. It was fun and every now and then you go, wow I didn't see that coming.
The only reason I'm reluctant to give it 5 stars is because the end disappointed me a bit. I get that a lot still has to happen in the second one, but it was just too abrupt.
Highly recommended though - I'm buying the second one immediately.