December 9, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Page Count: 416
Source: Borrowed from the Boston Public Library
Rating: ★★★
"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve. Either you're his true love... of you killed him."

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 tree other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resent 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 he life becomes caught up in the strange and sister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore. 

[Summary Source: Book Jacket]

Can I just say the cover of this book is absolutely stunning? I would read it just because of that. But obviously more goes into my adoration of this book than that.

Let's break this down:

The other week, when I was talking books with a friend of mine, I told her she should read Shiver, also by Maggie Stiefvater. I'd mentioned a couple other books, so to emphasize how much she should REALLY read Shiver, I told her that Maggie Stiefvater's prose is so wonderful that she could write about feet and I would still read it. Thankfully, The Raven Boys isn't about feet, but my glowing praise stands. Maggie Stiefvater somehow manages to find the right words to depict a scene and make you feel like you are right there. Her characters are described so fluidly that you could actually imagine doing what they're doing.

Speaking of the characters in this book-every single on of them is incredibly realistic and consistent. It's a pretty amazing feat considering the point of view in the story is definitely not fixed and each of the characters highlighted is important in one way or another. Not to mention, I was only 50 pages in when I started caring about almost everyone. Granted, I'm a sucker for a Stiefvater boy (have you met Sam? HAVE YOU?), but I was actually torn over which of the boys I loved most by the end of the book. And there are four of them.

Then there's the plot. It all starts off slow, but I kind of like it that way. It gave me some time to get used to all this foreign stuff-ley lines, Glendower, psychics and even a little magic. In fact, the whole book moves nice and slow. Even as things begin to really happen at the end, I never feel like I'm being rushed through it, or that anything is ever really unclear.

I also never feel like it's really weird there's all this magic happening in what is otherwise a contemporary setting. I think it's because no one in the story knows everything. Blue's doesn't know about Glendower, the Raven Boys don't totally understand the psychic aspect of everything and neither group anticipates the magic they encounter along the way. This really lets the reader learn about something totally foreign to the main characters with the main characters. Everything is explained and guessed at so that the reader can settle into the fantastical side of things even though we're constantly reminded of work, school, family issues and other everyday kinds of things.

All in all, I think it's crazy impressive that Maggie Stiefvater is able to take an insane number of very different characters and create one goal that they can all agree to and strive to achieve. The book points out a number of time that this group doesn't make sense but at the end of it all, it really just does. Maggie Stiefvater uses incredible character building and delightfully dramatic plot twists to tie everyone to the driving force of the book and to each other. You really can't help but love this rag-tag group of characters.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Intricate and exciting
World Building: Flawless merge of the everyday with the magical
Character Development: Phenomenal
Prose: To die for
Would I Recommend This Book?: Maggie Stiefvater will always be on my list of authors to recommend. This book will definitely be featured in my glowing praise.


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!