Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Genre: YA, adventure, fantasy, supernatural
Published on September 18, 2012
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 409
Read From: 10.6.12 - 10.9.12

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, and he's 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, that 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.


Cover Blurb: At first, I didn’t especially care for it for some reason. But now that I look at it closer, I find that I actually do really like it. The simplicity and the slight nods to things in the actual story are all nice touches.

What I Liked: I absolutely loved the dynamics between the four Raven boys. I loved Gansey’s protectiveness of the other boys, especially Ronan, and how people only saw his money, while his real personality was the “obsessed scholar.” Adam was a total sweetheart - the scholarship kid who refuses charity of any kind as a matter of pride, and is a very good soul. Aside from Adam, Noah was my absolute favorite. He doesn’t say much at all, but there’s something about him that caught the attention my “Favorite Character Radar.” Out of the four, Ronan was my least favorite, but I also understood his purpose to the story. I wouldn’t for one minute tell the Author that Ronan should be gotten rid of, because he adds a lot to the quartet with his troubled past and rebellious anger. I really look forward to seeing how his story plays out. As for the girl character . . . I’m not a fan of her name (Jane would have been a much better name than Blue; I absolutely agree with Gansey on that), Blue herself was a surprisingly good character. She didn’t have The Attitude, and she interacted with the boys very well. As I like to put it, she is one of those girl characters who actually works as “one of the guys” without putting on an attitude and behaving all macho. On the other side of things, Maggie also has tons of characters in this that I enjoyed hating. Adam’s father, Ronan’s brother.

What I Disliked: See content; that’s the only issue I had, other than Blue’s name.

Believability: Not really applicable.

Writing Style: I don’t know what has happened since she wrote Lament, but Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style was amazing in this. She has gotten better by leaps and bounds since the days of Lament and Ballad. There’s a very subtle, dark humor to her style, and her descriptions literally crackled with magic. I was wholly swept away by it. The storyline was very surprising and original, too. Reading the synopsis, I expected a sappy romance not unlike Lament, which I hated. But instead, Maggie presented me with a highly engaging quest for the lost Welsh king Owain Glendower, ley lines, a woods frozen in time, and a murder case thought to be closed.

Content: 10 f-words, 2 g--damns, and 17 s-words. If it wasn’t for the huge amount of language, I absolutely would have given this book five stars. I would have given it four if there had only been half the number of f-words there are. But content factors into my rating, and I couldn’t ignore it. Strong language acts like a little electric shock: I’ll be submerged in the storyline, and then language will pop up and jolt me out of my revere, so it affects how much I enjoy a book.

Conclusion: The climax is weird - very weird. But somehow it did work, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I absolutely loved this book. The characters, the story - everything. It is right up there with The Scorpio Races. Except for one thing: the language. There is absolutely no reason why it needed so much, and as I said above, if it weren’t for the language, I would give it five stars in a heartbeat.

Recommended Audience: Fans of The Scorpio Races will like this one. Girl-and-guy read, older audience due to the language and some of the family situations that are explored.

Others in The Raven Cycle:
1)The Raven Boys
2)The Dream Thieves
3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue

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