I received this book for free from the Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on 18 September 2012
Source: Book Expo America
“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.
The Scorpio Races is my favorite book that I’ve read so far in 2012 (and one of my all-time favorites), so Maggie’s new book has been my most anticipated book EVER (except maybe Harry Potter). I got an ARC at BEA in June, but was terrified to read it. I had so many expectations. When I finally read it, I wasn’t disappointed.
Characters: There are a number of characters in the Scorpio Races and all of them were epically different from each other and the characters in Maggie’s previous books. Anybody who has read this blog even once before, knows that Maggie’s previous novel, The Scorpio Races, is my favorite book and that I kind of want to be Puck Connelly. Blue, the main girl in The Raven Boys, is tough and interesting. I loved her and I loved reading about her, even though she is not someone I aspire to be. Her family is made up of crazy lady psychics and her home life kind of made me feel like I was Harry Potter at the Burrow for the first time. It was magical.
Blue gets to know four Raven boys from the local prep school and they have an interesting dynamic. There is Gansey, the rich boy who has everything, but still feels alone. I’ve never actually been a fan of rich boys, but I am a fan of Gansey. In some ways he lives up to the rich boy expectations I have in my head, while at the same time being incredibly human and turning cliches on their head. His best friend is Adam, a scholarship student with a rough home life. I won’t go into details, but every single thing about Adam, from the first page to the last, broke my heart.
Then there is Noah, the socially awkward boy who seems almost superfluous until that moment (THAT MOMENT!) and it all makes sense and you love him more. Finally… Ronan. He is angry about his father’s death, out of control, getting in fights and coming dangerously close to flunking out of school. He’s dark and he is dangerous and reading about him made me nervous. He is completely unpredictable. Yet… the more time I spend away from the book, the more he grows on me and I think he may end up being my favorite character when it’s all done.
Plot/Pacing: This is a mystery and a quest and I loved everything about it. There are so many questions: Who is Blue’s father? What is her mother not telling her? What is so magical about Henrietta? What does Ronan know about his father that has made him so angry and WHERE THE HELL DID HE GET THAT RAVEN? Who will Blue fall in love with? When and how will Gansey die (Blue sees his spirit on the corpse road at the very beginning… so, not a spoiler!)
Then, there is Gansey’s quest to find Glendower, an ancient Welsh King he believes has been brought to the new world and sleeps in Virginia. Is Gansey crazy or is there magic in the world? Why does he really want to find Glendower? Why does Adam? What is Glendower’s power?
There are actually way more questions then I realized when I started writing this section of my review. However, enough of these are answered or hinted at that I felt the book was satisfying, but at the same time enough of these were not answered or only hinted at that I am DYING for book two. I love the mystery, I’m invested, and Maggie does a great job of teasing me the entire way through the book. I never got bored or frustrated and I’m incredibly impressed with how well she balanced everything that was going on.
Moments I Loved: Blue and her Raven boys find a magical tree that gives them visions (it is cooler than it sounds, I’m just explaining it badly). We’re not sure if it is the future set in stone, a possible future, or something else entirely. However, Blue’s vision… probably my favorite part of the book. So much tension, love, and heart break all in one scene that has almost no context. I have no idea how Maggie did that. I have to know what this vision means. I have to know if it is Blue’s future and how they got there and what comes after.
WTF Moments: The last line of the book. Ronan, you are going to break my heart and make me love you for it, aren’t you?
Also, in the best way possible, that thing with Noah. I read the last line of the chapter and literally stared at the sentence for five minutes saying, “OMG WTF.”
Overall: A great start to a new series, this book is full of great characters and wonderful mystery. Waiting for book two is going to be difficult, but this series promises to be one of my all-time favorites.