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Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


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.

My thoughts

I’ve now read this book three times and my love for this series only grows with every reread. Back when I started this series I had no idea what I was getting into. I read and liked her Wolves of Mercy Falls series when it came out. Those books made me fall in love with Maggie’s glorious writing. The Raven Cycle is so much better than that series though because not only does it have Maggie’s wonderful prose but also fucking fantastic characters and a heartbreaking and fun story.

First off there is the atmosphere. Diving into this book felt to me like sitting down at a cemetery in the middle of the night and listening to a ghost story. It’s not really scary or frightening but it gives off that quiet and calm but also kinda eery feeling only such places can do. Which is exactly what fits this story of clairvoyants, a curse and the adventure of finding a sleeping Welsh king best.

And what a story that is. When I get asked what this series is about I always have a hard time describing it because it’s like nothing I have ever read before. As a whole it doesn’t look like Maggie comes up with any new big ideas, but that’s why you have to read this story for yourself. This is a story that consists of so many little things, so many ideas and concepts that are truly unique.

The Raven Boys is one of those books that makes me care about the characters so much, that the plot doesn’t really matter a lot to me. I would follow them wherever they go and I would have fun reading about them doing the most boring activities you can think of. “Unfortunately”, Stiefvater sends them through one hell of an adventure instead which means I’m having all the feels, because I care way too much. Stiefvater being her evil self, likes to hurt these characters a lot, doesn’t seem to give them any chance at all of being really happy, and so I hurt too, a lot.

The reason why I care about them so much is because they feel so real. Not only does this book consist of a diverse group of characters, who are not only unique, but they are all so damn lovable. Some make you die of cuteness overload and others are more of an asshole but I love them anyway/even more so. I often think about what it would be like if I met these characters without knowing anything about them and I think just like Blue first judges them for being typical Raven Boys and not the kind of guys you want to be friends with, I would do so too. I just love getting into the heads of such characters and realizing what great personalities they actually hide, seeing that there is so much more to them on the inside that makes you love them.

This is only the first book of four and there is already so much character development happening, it’s amazing. These characters go through so much and they learn so much about life and realize or struggle with what they want from it and also get to know that life is not always fair and can be hard. You see them deal with all that stuff and change along all this, you can see them grow with it right in front of you and that in only one book.

Talk about development: The Raven Boys comes with the most perfect character dynamics and seeing these characters build and grow a friendship during the first book is such a marvelous thing to read about.
The relationships in general are just damn perfect. On the one hand there are the friendships which are so amazing, it makes me jealous. How much these characters care about each other, that they would go through hell and back for each other is such a wonderful thing. What I love even more is the relationship between Blue and her mom though. Not only do we have parents that are actually present and care about what their children are doing, but their relationship is the complete opposite of any typical YA cliché one. And I’m not even going to start talking about the romantic relationships because those hurt too much.

The thing with rereading this one is, that there is so much going on in the heads of these characters that you don’t know about at first. When you reread this book, you know a lot more about them and how they feel about different things. They have to deal with things they don’t openly talk about and it hurts so much reading about all of this again and knowing how they feel in certain situations. Even the twist and turns are still exciting to read about because you start to interpret their reactions in a completely different way which makes this both the most fun and painful reread ever.
One of the most amazing things about this series is all the foreshadowing, if you can even call it that because Maggie Stiefvater is a genius. These characters outright tell you things, but somehow those facts don’t stick or you just don’t get it in that situation. All the facts are right there in front of you but it takes some time for you to actually notice it which makes rereading these books so much fun.

The Raven Boys is one of my absolute favorite books and every time I finish rereading it I want to start all over again, even though there are more books in the series I could also reread. This is a book that will never stop to amaze me. Not only do I care about these characters so much, that rereading is like visiting friends I barely get to see, but it’s also fun because you can always discover new things, no matter how many times you already read it.

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  • I still need to get to The Dream Thieves, which I have sitting on my shelf. I do think that the atmosphere of this book was one of the reasons I liked it so much — it just seems so unique! Sitting in a graveyard is right, or like a Tim Burton film for me. :D

  • Great review. I have had the first book in this series on my Kindle forever, but haven’t read it yet. Every review I read has been a rave one though.

  • Great review! I haven’t read this series yet, but all the reviews I’ve seen say it is amazing. Now I really want it!

  • Oh, yes. The Raven Boys completely sucked me into the world of Blue and the Raven boys and I never want to leave. I love how richly crafted and vivid the details are. How subtle and fine. I love the character development in The Raven Boys alone knowing what’s in store for each of them in the future.

    P.S. I know we’ve talked about this book way more than any two people probably have and I will continue to do so but dammit, I don’t want to stop.

  • Yep, that pretty much sums it all up. Bookish perfection. I’m dying to do my first re-read of the series, but I’m *trying* to wait until just before TRK. It’s so hard, though, with daily Twitter conversations to remind me!

    • Haha, that’s why I couldn’t wait any longer. I’m probably just going to reread it again in September though lol

      • Yeah, that’s probably what I’ll end up doing. Self-control and books don’t mix, haha.

  • Never read the series, but I love her “The Wolves of Mercy Falls” – series. Want to read this someday too. Sound like an series I would love :)

    • If you liked that one, I think you will love this even more! At least that was the case for me :)

  • You’ve made me want to reread this book. I love this series so much, but I have so many new books to read that it can be difficult finding time to reread books, but I’m now thinking: forget the others. I want to reread The Raven Boys.

    I completely understand what you mean about the characters: there’s something to love about each of them. I so want to be a part of their ‘gang’!

    Great post! Your enthusiasm for the book really comes across.

    • I don’t reread many books either because I can’t find the time for that. This month though I just said f*ck my TBR, I’m going to reread all my favorites and I’m having SO much fun right now

  • I totally understand the need and cravings to reread your faves. I do this too once in a while. I really liked The Raven Boys and how unique its premise is. I especially adore the Welsh historical touch into urban fantasy. I’ve been dreaming all my life to go to England especially in Wales and Northern Ireland. I absolutely agree with the versatile characters. AHHHHH This series is character driven that’s why it real stands out. I personally love Blue Lily, Lily Blue out of the three and I am so excited for The Raven Kings. Going to miss this gang :((((

  • This review is perfect. The Raven Boys and Blue and every character in this book stole my heart.

  • Okay, klingt so, als sollte ich dem Buch wirklich einmal eine Chance geben. Der erste Teil ihrer Mercy Falls-Reihe hatte mir zwar gut gefallen, aber irgendwie hab ich nie so wirklich den Wunsch nach Mehr verspürt.
    Aber da du so darüber schwärmst, hast du mich nun doch neugierig gemacht :-D Tolle Charakterentwicklungen und Beziehungen, das klingt wirklich gut.

    • Raven Boys ist wirklich 10x besser als Mercy Falls! Und die Reihe muss man mehrmals lesen, weil die so krass durchdacht ist und da überall kleine Details drin sind,die man bei einmal lesen gar nicht merkt. Ist total genial! :D

Apr 01, 2015