The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)

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A fantastical and unique story
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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.
Good Points
Maggie's wonderful writing gets better and better
Original plot about Welsh mythology mixed with individual story lines and sub-plots.
Bromance everywhere!
A great cast of unique and interesting characters
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Unique Story Line Great Book
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
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.
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Deep, Eloquent, and Fascinating
(Updated: August 30, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Probably the first thought I had about this book (after OMGOMGOMG) was that the writing felt so deliciously deliberate. The pace throughout was steady and relaxed. While I always wanted to know what happened next, I never felt a sense of urgency, which was kind of refreshing. It’s like the book keep assuring me that things would happen, and I’d be there for them, but I didn’t need to rush. The best thing, though? Many times while reading, I’d come across a sentence with words so perfectly placed that I just about squealed right out of my seat! Each time was like finding a treasure and it made me appreciate the writing so much.

I have to to tell you that my favorite parts of the book were the scenes that involved Blue and her psychic family. Learning about each psychic and her abilities, quirks, and personality was so much fun. When the scenes began to shift toward the raven boys, I wasn’t as interested. Why read about normal characters when I can read about mystical characters? Although, I must say, that once the story picked up with Gansey’s quest for leylines, I was much more interested in the scenes involving the boys.

One of the coolest things about this book, in my opinion, is that its magic seemed so much closer to home than most other YA novels containing a supernatural element. Perhaps because it’s tied to things like tarot cards and legendary leylines. Things that already exist (more or less) in our world. Stiefvater did a great job of taking these concepts and building on them, bringing them to life in such unexpected and interesting ways.

Something I really appreciated was the way that all of the characters were tied to one another. I loved getting to see the various facets of each character when they were interacting with one another, and when they were alone with themselves. Though I have to admit that I preferred the female characters, each of the raven boys grew on me as the story progressed.

Honestly, I think one of the weakest parts of the story was the raven boys themselves. Gansey is the main male character, and while I enjoyed following him on his quest, at the end I still didn’t really feel like I knew him at all. Each raven boy had his own story weaved in throughout the book, but my favorite was Ronan. Yes, the troublemaker and jerkiest punk of them all. Maybe his story was told best? Or maybe, like Blue, I felt drawn to him because he seems so difficult to impress.

Perhaps the bottom line is that I got to know each character a little, but right now we’re still acquaintances. Maybe we can’t be friends until the next book? I think this just shows the depth of these characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and the roller coaster ride that Blue and her boys went through. I’m looking forward to book two, and hope that it has just as much of the magic as did book one. Most likely I’m going to re-read The Raven Boys before book two comes out, just so I can go on the adventure all over again.
Good Points
In-depth characters, fascinating magical storyline
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