The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review (The Raven Cycle #1)

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Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: 2012
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Length: 416 pages
Rating:★★★★½☆

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


I read The Raven Boys for the first time in January 2015 (and fell in love with it), and in honor of the release of The Raven King, the fourth and final installment to The Raven Cycle series, I decided to finally get around to reviewing The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. 

Packaging: 

★★★★☆

The packaging for The Raven Boys isn’t a favorite of mine, but I don’t necessarily dislike it at all! It definitely would strike readers as either a fantasy or paranormal read. 

Writing Style: 

★★★★

I didn’t hear very good things about Maggie’s Shiver series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from her when I began reading The Raven Boys. But my God- Maggie Stiefvater has an absolutely magical way with words. There’s no other way to describe it. Her words can be so profoundly touching and heavy and precise, and the way that she weaves her story is absolutely alluring. She makes us fall in love with the plot, with the premise, and with the characters and the boys and their quest. Especially for the first book in a new series, I was beyond impressed with her writing. 

Characters: 

★★★★

Blue. The boys. Maura. Calla. Persephone. I loved every single one of the characters introduced in this book, and the characters are definitely what made this book, and what made me love this book so much. They were all so vibrant and real and unique and flawed and just made my heart ache. Their complexities are what made them feel so raw and so young and alive. 

The love that Gansey, Noah, Adam, and Ronan have for each other, and the love that Blue comes to have for them all and the love they all have for each other is enough to make my heart ache. Especially because of what we know from the very beginning of the book- the fact that Gansey is going to die<- (highlight for spoiler). 

This book is a favorite of mine for the characters alone- it’s only a plus that the plot is so incredible, too. 

Plot: 

★★★★½☆

At first glance, The Raven Boys may appear to be another YA paranormal romance- but this book is so much more than that- no one would ever come away from reading this book and reduce it to simply a romance novel without much substance. Honestly, after finishing this book, I would willingly and happily argue that the most powerful and touching relationships in this book are composed of the platonic love that Blue, Gansey, Noah, Adam, and Ronan have for each other. 

This book is honestly just so incredibly unique, and even a bit strange- but in a good way. The atmosphere of the book itself was a bit eerie, and curious. Before reading The Raven Boys, I never thought twice about Welsh mythology- and now, I’m so intrigued by Glendower, and by clairvoyance, and by the mystique that surrounds Blue and each of her raven boys. The Glendower plotline is by far one of the most interesting and unique plotlines that I have read about, and kept me so curious and invested in the book. This book is a bit slow, but I rarely take issue with that, as it wasn’t unbearably slow and the plot kept moving. For those who don’t enjoy it when the pace of a book slows down, keep reading! Things really pick up during the next two books of the series.

Overall: 

★★★★½☆

Overall, The Raven Boys was a wonderful introduction to what would become one of my all time favorite series.The story of Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah, and their search for a missing Welsh king, is one that I was absolutely enraptured by and fell in love with. I would recommend The Raven Boys to anyone (and I have- I got my best friend to love the series just as much as I do). 

 

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