Book Reviews

[review] The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 408
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC received from publisher

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.

Tell Me More: There’s something about a book that doesn’t mind taking its sweet time to grow on you. Maggie Stiefvater is an author that has always intrigued me, despite the fact that I did not enjoy her first series. There is a magical quality to her writing style and it gently encourages you to turn the page and let the story surround you. My experience reading The Scorpio Races was much like uncovering a dream so real, you could almost touch it, and The Raven Boys continues that trend splendidly.

Part of the reason I enjoy Stiefvater’s most recent books is because I never know what I’ll find. A girl who can see the dead? Standard YA fare, you might say. I can name a dozen books just like it. But ley lines? A group of boys on a quest which none of them really understand? A secret that must be guarded? It seems like a crazy mix of a story, but in Stiefvater’s hands, all of these tropes take on new life. I was particularly interested in the points-of-view that Stiefvater chose to employ: they all insert a distance between the reader and the characters, which reinforces the dream-like quality of the story. The details she chooses to include are always on-point, as well, and I never felt like I was being told too much or too little about the setting.

And what a setting it is. From the first time we enter the cemetery with Blue to the monstrous 1136 Monmouth that houses Gansey and his friends, the locations set the tone of the story. There is a sense of uneasiness in every scene which helps to keep the mood of The Raven Boys suitably dark and eerie. I could put the book down at night and get back to it in the morning without feeling as though I’d lost the flow and feeling of the story–I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen next, and that’s one of the best compliments I can offer as a reader.

The Final Say: Maggie Stiefvater’s rich new paranormal series will ensure that you will never want to leave the side of The Raven Boys. Blue, Gansey and the rest of the gang will please readers looking for gorgeous prose and a challenging story.

About Maggie

Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and The Scorpio Races. She is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.

Add The Raven Boys on Goodreads | Follow Maggie on Twitter @mstiefvater | Visit Maggie’s website

Order The Raven Boys from Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters

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5 replies »

  1. I’ve heard good things about this, and I did enjoy The Scorpio Races, but there’s something tugging at the back of my memory. I think I had decided not to read anymore of this author’s books for a reason… Hm.

  2. I definitely enjoyed this one, though I haven’t read Steifvater’s other books (Shiver didn’t really interest me that much). This definitely was a dark book and I loved the setting throughout and all the characters were so interesting, I think this series will just get better.

  3. I loved Scorpio Races, hated Shiver, and enjoyed a lot of Stiefvater’s short stories. And when I saw Raven Boys was coming out, and read the first chapter, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait for its release. That being said, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted to. It felt… lacking. Something was missing the mark for me, and I can’t pin point it. I could be that it’s obviously the first in a series. I still enjoyed the book, though. Not as much as Scorpio Races, though, but much more than Shiver.

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