REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

ravenboysukThe Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater

Scholastic, 2012
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him.

Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favor.

Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can’t imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them?

mythoughtsI want to start this review off by stating that I tried to read The Raven Boys back when it was first released in 2012 and didn’t get any farther than 35 pages into it before stopping. I just found it weird and kind of hard to follow, and wasn’t really feeling the writing style or the way all the characters were being introduced, and spent a large portion of those first 35 pages being confused. But – knowing how very popular the book was – I didn’t DNF it all the way, choosing instead to set it aside for later. Two years went by, and it continued to sit, until a friend of mine told me that she really thought I’d love it if I just tried it again. She suggested the audiobook – which I had actually been toying with – and with that I decided to go ahead and take her advice. I bought the audiobook, loaded it onto my iPod, and started listening to it each morning as I got ready for work. And wow, was that the right choice; while I by no means blew through it – I am slow at audiobooks – I did find myself loving pretty much every second of it, and really loving the way the narrator was telling the story. So, after two years and several eyebrows raised in the book’s direction, The Raven Boys has been finished and I’ve immediately started The Dream Thieves because, yes, all those reviews raving about it were spot on and I am now about to add another one to those numbers.

One thing that put me off reading this in book form is that the story takes a bit to get started; the plot is sort of slow to develop, and we also have multiple point of views, including some from the “bad guy” of this book. It was actually after reading the first chapter from his pov that I set the book aside because it just confused me. With the audiobook, though, I was more easily able to just flow through the story and let things happen; while portions were still confusing or the plot slow-moving, there was something about the narrator’s voice and the way he read the words that just worked for me. So, if you tried reading this book, and couldn’t get through it, do think about giving the audio version a try! It worked for me, and has actually worked for several others as well, so I figure it’s good advice to share.

I definitely came out of this book with my favorites. I like Gansey, even though he comes across as condescending at times and really doesn’t get certain things about why people think he is that way. Blue is a wonderful narrator, and I liked how her opinion of all of “her” Raven Boys changed as the story went on. Ronan is the classic bad boy – and I’m thrilled we get more of him in the sequel – who you can’t help but like simply because he comes across as so unlikable. And then there’s Noah, who just winds up breaking your heart. The only one I didn’t love was actually Adam, and I can’t really get into my reasons for that without giving anything about the book away, so. Suffice it to say he’s my least favorite, but it’s not like I hated him or anything. Also, the supporting cast of psychics who all clutter up Blue’s house are delightful and funny and so eccentric in their own ways that you can’t help but laugh at some of their antics. So while the plot is maybe slow – or at least it was for me – the descriptions of the characters making up this book’s pages are first-rate and wonderful and honestly a highlight for me.

All in all, I found The Raven Boys to be a truly amazing read. It has an interesting over-arching plot, but also features tons of character growth and development for pretty much every single character gracing its pages. I liked the mix of focus on the characters and the mythology that Gansey and co. are diving into, and also liked the way the magic is seamlessly weaved into an otherwise contemporary world. I also love it when stereotypes are knocked down, and Blue definitely had to do some rethinking about some of hers. I’m curious and ever-so-excited to see where the whole ley lines and search for Glendower are going to take us!



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3 Responses to REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I am sure, had I tried to read the print version of The Raven Boys, I wouldn’t have been able to get through it. I think Stiefvater is an author that works best for me in audiobook format. But I LOVED the audiobook, and I am glad to hear how much you liked it too. Adam is my least favorite Raven Boy, too, although I still like him. But my love for Gansey is fierce. I LOVE HIM!

  2. Pingback: REVIEW: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater | Read and Reviewed

  3. Pingback: REVIEW: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater | Read and Reviewed

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