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Author Posts | What YA Reading?

October 23rd, 2012

The Raven Boys

by Maggie Stiefvater

Ana's Rating


Readers Rating

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Rating: 0.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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“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 theShiver 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.

 

I’m going to be horribly honest with you: I didn’t like Shiver, Stiefvater’s most popular series. Sure, it had its high points, but… it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Also, how many books do we have to read wherein the male lead’s name is Sam? We get it, it’s an attractive name. But there are other attractive names out there.

My current favourite attractive name: Richard Gansey III. Or, shortened, Gansey. That is definitely the name to suit the dreamboat that is The Raven Boys‘ doomed love interest. ‘Doomed?’ you ask, ‘why?’ The answer is simple: if Blue kisses him, he’ll die. Not that Blue wants to kiss him. No, Blue likes Adam. Honorable, honest, master-of-his-will Adam. I don’t pretend to understand.

On that note, I might as well introduce you to our other two featured Raven boys. Ronan’s sharp personality matches the edges of the tattoo creeping down his back. He’s feisty, he’s hurt, and he’s quite possibly my favourite Raven boy– second to Gansey, of course. Noah is best described as ‘smudgy’. Barely there and incredibly faint of heart, no one pays enough attention to him know that he’s harboring a deep, dark secret…

So there you have it: four best friends. And a girl. Blue’s always disliked the rich, stylish and prissy Raven boys. Furthermore, she’s always disliked the idea of love. But you can’t run from fate. Blue would know; her mother’s a psychic. Although Maura’s, Blue’s mother’s, predictions are never specific, they’re always accurate. So you never know when they’ll creep on you…

Complete with magical forests, holy ruins, and very made-over, very cluttered manufacturing warehouses, The Raven Boys‘ world building is so obviously top-notch. I believe that we are even introduced to a pack of unicorns at some point the novel. Yes, you heard me, unicorns. There just aren’t enough of those to go around these days.

Speaking of shortages in current YA novels, I love how respectable these Raven boys are. I know that I’ve mentioned this a thousand times before, but bad boys? They’re great once in a while. 24/7, though? I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me. Passionate for the supernatural, well-intentioned and downright genteel, you don’t need to be a clairvoyant to know that Gansey is so clearly my soulmate. But even Ronan, the most malicious of our main characters, is good at heart. I appreciate that.

It’s these complex layers in every character that really have me hooked, though. Take Adam, for example. Adam is in a constant battle with himself and his friends, fighting for his free will. Because he’s scholarship student at Aglionby Academy, he works way too many jobs; he also has quite a few problems at home. Being a friend to three rich boys, he could have it so easy. But he won’t take their charity. Ronan, on the other hand, has a murdered father, a suddenly mute mother, and a hateful brother. His resulting personality is prickly and bitter. Moreover, he’s failing out of school. But there’s so much more to any of them than that.

Maggie Stiefvater somehow manages to incorporate a hauntingly beautiful tone to her writing, noticeable through these subtle nuances in her characters. Every page, every line of The Raven Boys is stained by her dry wit and equipped with the ability to make you pause, wondering what is just below the surface.

Long-time fans of Stiefvater will tell you that the author comes through once again with sleepy folklore, a cast of characters developed to leave an impression, and an unforgettable conclusion deemed worthy of the rest of the novel. And I will back them up. 4.99/5 stars.

 

I’ll keep you posted,

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