Monday, February 9, 2015

REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: September 18, 2012
Source: OPL
Pages: 416

Description: 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.

My Review: I'm still a little dazed from finishing this book last night. I started it two nights ago, but only got through a little bit because I had to read my nephew a bedtime story of the six-year-old variety. Last night, I picked it up again around 11:00, which was a mistake because I finished it around 3:00 am. Luckily, I didn't have to work until this evening, but I'll apply the lesson when I read the other books in the series. (Maybe)

I didn't read this book when it came out, partly because I was under the impression that it was a sappy romance. I'm not super into sappy romances, as anyone who has met me can vouch for. But when Blue Lily, Lily Blue came out, and I saw the excitement of the fans, I was intrigued, so I decided to do some research-- research that ended with me borrowing the first book from the library.

This book is amazing. I am purchasing it immediately so that it can sit on one of my overcrowded shelves and be available for me to pick up again whenever I want. (I want very much to pick it up again, pretty much immediately, but I have other books to read and I want to read the rest of the series.)

The characters all seemed like real people. No one is perfect, and no one is a caricature. Okay, some of the characters are pretty 'out there', but it makes sense for the character. They have depth. They have perfect names. I'm not sure what the author's naming process is, but Declan, Ronan, and Matthew Lynch are just... the ideal names for that set of brothers. You can't say Declan entirely sweetly, Ronan is firm but has rounded edges somehow, and Matthew doesn't quite fit. I hope Matthew comes into play at some point, because I'd like to see that dynamic.

I was a little afraid, spoiler alert, that Blue was going to keep the prophecy entirely secret and not tell any of the boys about her inability to kiss her true love, but I was pleased with how it was dealt with. I do hope, though, that eventually she tells the boys what it really meant when she saw Gansey on St. Mark's Eve. I have a feeling that if she doesn't tell them, one of them will find out and be intensely upset with her.

I am left feeling proud of Adam, but also concerned for him and a little afraid of him.

Gansey has faced death too many times, and the way that it's a part of him makes me wonder whether he really can die at all.

Ronan... Oh, Ronan. I'm beginning to wonder if this is something of a reincarnation issue, and whether he will become Glendower. That might be crazily out of the park, but it's nagging at me. He did pull Chainsaw out of his dreams when he was wasted.

I'm so glad that Noah is... Well, he's not alive, but... Fully manifested again. There it is. I have a feeling I'm going to learn a lot more about Noah, and that it's not going to be entirely pleasant. As he pointed out, he was worse when he was alive. He was the sort of boy who drove a red mustang and was murdered. (Obviously, it wasn't really his fault that he was murdered-- I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that murdered spirits tend to become violent, regardless of how peaceful they may have been in life. The strengthening of the ley line might push him over into violence.)

I hope Blue finds her father. I have a feeling he's going to be important later. I also hope she sorts out all this business with Gansey and Adam, though I imagine that won't really happen until the fourth book, a fact that makes me glad I waited this long to read. Which of her visions are going to come true? Are any of them going to come true? St. Mark's Eve is a promise, not a guarantee. Are the tree visions the same? They don't have to be. They could all be true. What is Blue going to do about Adam? She can't keep the truth from him forever. Gansey knows why she can't kiss him, but Adam is going to be left thinking she just doesn't care for him that way, which is unnecessary in my opinion. I think Adam could handle it. Ah, correction: I think original Adam could have handled it. I have no idea what to think of new Adam.

...I really wish that I didn't have any books in my queue right now. I wish I had been confident enough to borrow The Dream Thieves when I borrowed this one, but I'd never read Stiefvater before, so I had no idea whether I'd like it or not. (Incidentally, it's 'or not'. I LOVE it. This may be a problem.)

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