Tuesday, October 15, 2013

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

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: September 18, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
409 Pages

“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 the Shiver 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 have to be honest and say if Jenn hadn't kept pushing me to read this, I probably would've waited until the entire series had been released, maybe even longer to pick up The Raven Boys. But her raving about this book, and its sequelThe Dream Thieves, piqued my curiosity to a level that I just couldn't ignore. So I finally decided to open my copy and I'm so, so glad that I did because damn, that was the most imaginative, and gorgeous story. There was so much mystery behind the magic of The Raven Boys that I found it impossible not to be sucked in.

It is so hard to explain what this novel is actually about, because I'm not even one-hundred percent sure myself. That may sound bizarre, but Maggie Stiefvater really pulls out a unique tale that left me confused, and dying for more. The Raven Boys is basically the story of Blue Sargent, and the four boys that she never would've imagined herself getting entangled with. Gansey, Noah, Ronan and Adam are a band of misfit best friends/brothers on a search for magic that leads them directly into the arms of Blue and her psychic family, but the adventure they embark on will bring twists that they never expected and take them to places of which they had never dreamed.

The plot moves very slowly, but I believe that it really works for the story. Though it moves languidly, it never dragged, and I was never bored. Actually, I was quite fascinated with the set-up and lives of the characters. The intrigue of the plot was just a major bonus. I especially like the incorporation of Latin--that was a new twist on myths. It's rare to see Latin (at least from what I've read) play such a large role in a story, and I thought that made The Raven Boys all the more unique. I cannot wait to see how book two plays out, and what mysteries, adventures and dilemmas lie ahead.

These boys… I love these boys. I didn't expect to feel so much for them, but I do. I hurt when they hurt, and get mad when they are mad. Each one has been through trials of his own and watching them grow and change as the story progressed just blew me away. The author did an excellent job at giving the readers characters with which to connect. It is impossible not to fall in love. What I love even more about this story, and those who lives it revolves around, is that it isn't superficial. It doesn't deal with petty problems, or try to stuff itself full of drama. These characters are humans with faults, flaws and fears who have somehow become a part of this magical adventure. So you can relate, and you can feel what they feel. Blue is definitely included in this. She herself is a mystery that I can't wait to see unfold. I am so curious about her patronage, and why is she is the way she is (magically, I mean). Plus her relationships with the boys made me smile. The dynamic of the group as a whole was just so wonderful. Their wit and ability to play off of each other only made the book that much stronger. I loved reading their interactions, especially when Gansey and Blue are together--their gentle teasing made me giggle. This book is just utterly fantastic.

There is no doubt that Maggie Stiefvater is talented. Her story lines are insanely unique. Her prose is magnificent and captivating. Plus she easily weaves relatable relationships between her characters that make them feel real and connections with said characters are so easy to form. The Raven Boys is no different than Maggie's previous stories in that sense. The tale she created for Blue, Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan will leave readers delighted and entranced, begging for the sequel. I know that as soon as I finished, I immediately texted Jenn saying that I was going to pick up book two because I am not quite ready to let go of Blue and her boys and the mischief they've found themselves tied up in.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.

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