Publishing Info: September 18, 2012 by Scholastic Inc.
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 23, 2013
Related Posts: Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), The Scorpio Races, The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)
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.
THE RAVEN BOYS was totally different than I expected, but in a good way. I read SHIVER from Maggie Stiefvater about a year ago and wasn’t crazy about it at all and then got the audio of THE SCORPIO RACES and began to feel a lot better about how I would be able to dive into THE RAVEN BOYS. For some reason I was expecting that same “older” feel that THE SCORPIO RACES had, but really THE RAVEN BOYS is a modern-day story, although it has many ties to the characters’ past as well as historical legends and paranormal practices. For some reason, I kept getting the feel of the movie The Skulls. (Even though the plots really aren’t similar. Maybe it was just the boys at a private school. How easily I am reminded of things!)
I think I went into THE RAVEN BOYS thinking it was going to be more of a contemporary feel with a hint of paranormal, but really the paranormal is a key player in the book. Blue, our main female character, lives in a house with her mother as well as other relatives/women, all of which possess psychic abilities. Except for Blue, that is. Blue is merely an amplifier of psychic energy for others but doesn’t possess abilities of her own. Without rehashing the plot (see Goodreads summary above), Blue’s life starts to get complicated once she starts to tangle with “the raven boys” – The boys who attend Aglionby in their raven embroidered shirts.
At first I was terribly interested yet slightly confused about what was going on in this book. It was clearly very deliberately written, all of the intersecting moments between Blue’s story line and Gansey/Adam’s story carefully and I must say very creatively chosen. It wasn’t until Blue started to get to know the Aglionby boys that I finally got a solid feeling for all of them because up until then, we get alternating chapters from different characters and they’re each describing each other with unfamiliarity. It caused a bit of confusion on my part, but rest assured it did come together and I actually did kind of like the POV weaving in and out and seeing different vantage points. It almost felt like a movie the way it jumped from character to character. We still see Gansey & Adam when it’s Blue’s POV, but in an incredibly different way than Blue sees her own life, etc etc.
The whole plot of the ley lines was interesting but the connection to Glendower and Gansey’s obsession with finding him was kind of fuzzy to me. I felt like I half understood his obsession and the other half was confused on why it really mattered so much. I didn’t get the answer to the obsession until later in the book — which does play out well with several plot twists and SUPER interesting reveals — but keeping that secret until the end of the book made me feel like I didn’t really grasp that story or obsession.
Maggie Stiefvater has some amazing plot twists, one of which I kind of saw coming but was even deeper than my original guess so that made it even more awesome! The paranormal aspects and involvement with spirits is not meant to be creepy, so that really made me happy since I don’t do well with “scary” ghost stories. On the contrary, it was a very good interaction with the spirit world as well as some really cool elements of an entirely different kind of paranormal that the plot dips into with the ley lines. Very, very cool stuff. It definitely gave me the shivers and kind of made me wish I could have experienced that too! I don’t want to go into details because it’s really best just to read it yourself, but VERY cool ideas from Stiefvater.
I also really liked how we’re given a few specific clues and “prophesies” so to speak and not all of them are answered in book one. I think that also brought a draw to see how this turns out in the second or third or whatever book of this series. It makes me feel like the series has a “bigger picture” to it and I like that not everything was neatly wrapped up in the first book. I think it’ll give a great tie between books in the series which happens to be something I struggle with from time-to-time.
I would say due to a little bit of a slow start in the beginning, the book didn’t completely knock my socks off, but it was definitely an interesting read and held my interest the entire book. We got one more twist at the end which sets up the next book in the series which I cannot WAIT to read now! I’d definitely recommend this book even if you haven’t liked Maggie Stiefvater’s previous works. I actually wasn’t a fan of SHIVER but I did really enjoy THE SCOPIO RACES, but really — THE RAVEN BOYS is totally different both character-wise and plot-wise. I would really recommend it to anyone to try! There’s a little bit of something in there for every reader.
Blue: I’m just glad SOMEONE made fun of Blue’s name in the book because you know me and weird character names. If no one had mentioned how weird that was for a real name, I would have been slightly disappointed! Anyway. I really liked Blue’s character! She wasn’t always a feisty one but I think her devotion to and interest in the raven boys’ quest really brings it out in her. I feel like she finally had something to be passionate about and it was something that really held her interest for the first time. Not to mention she knows her fate is intertwined with Gansey’s whether she likes it or not.
Gansey: Gansey was kind of a conundrum to me. Since he had the President Cell Phone persona (as Blue called it) and the Glendower-obsessed side, he was kind of hard to figure out as a character in the very beginning. Not everything is cut and dry with Gansey and that’s what makes him so interesting. I can’t wait to see what happens with his character in the next book.
Adam: I think Adam was my favorite character. He was the one that felt the most like a real person to me, possibly because of his deeper seeded issues, but he’s also the one who really revealed the most emotion throughout the book. I think Adam’s story line in the book is actually the most interesting and he’s DEFINITELY the character who changes the most. The ending absolutely blew me away and I really have no idea how different his life will be in the next installment.
Wow, this was really different from what I expected but in a good way. It did take me a little bit to get the feel for the writing but it was so beautiful and what a story. I can’t wait to continue on!