Monday, 17 September 2012

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Paperback, 496 pages

Expected publication: 19th September 2012 by Scholastic

My shelves: 
arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, fantasy, ghosts, magic, magical-realism, mythology, read-in-2012, series-or-companions, supernatural, title-appeal, to-read, too-much-hype
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him.

Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour.

Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can’t imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them?
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My thanks go to Scholastic for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Raven Boys has probably been one of the most hyped up books this year. As it is being released this week, I thought I had better pick it up and see what the fuss was about! I must admit that I wasn't a fan of Shiver or Linger, though I haven't yet enjoyed any shapeshifter book. Due to the different storyline of this book, I decided to give it a go, despite my reservations.

The Raven Boys tells a story of Blue who lives with her psychic mother and aunts. Blue visits a graveyard on a special night where she can see all of the people who are going to pass over to the spirit world during the next year. There, Blue sees a boy, named Gansey and seems to have a special connection with him. She is told it is because she either murdered him, or he was her true love - she has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. The story sounded interesting enough - I am very interested in the paranormal and once I got into the book there was also a lot of talk about ley lines, something that I find fascinating.

I really liked the characters in this book. Our main character, Blue had just the right amount of sass about her - despite living in a psychic-dominated house, Blue knows who she is - she is certainly an individual, with her own thoughts and beliefs. She isn't close-minded which was great. The family around her are interesting and definitely individual too, with quite vibrant personalities. After seeing Gansey, a Raven Boy, at the graveyard, Blue wants to discover more about them.

The Raven Boys are a group of boys who attend Aglionby, a private school. In the beginning, I think that they were made out to be your stereotypical rich and somewhat snobby private school kids - to me, that didn't come across very well but then again I was a private school kid myself. As the book went on, it turned out that the Raven Boys aren't really that stereotypical which I was thankful for. I really come to love Gansey and Adam, I felt I understood them well. Actually, I really enjoyed reading about all of The Raven Boys - the group of boys were certainly likeable and all so very different. They absolutely made the story for me, I could read about them all day. They had history behind them and each had an interesting one at that, particularly Adam and Noah. 

Even a few days after finishing this book, I'm still not completely sure how I feel about it. I certainly enjoyed it more than I enjoyed Shiver and Linger. The storyline is quite complex and it was vastly more impressive than The Wolves of Mercy Falls books. I enjoyed the idea, the twists and turns, but for me, Stiefvater's writing was not completely enjoyable. The book dragged on quite a lot and it was a bit confusing at points - though a lot of the detail was understandably necessary to contribute information to the story. Truly, I found things to be a little disjointed and distracting - it wasn't a book that I was eager to keep returning to and it did take me quite a while to read. 

I think a lot of people will certainly enjoy this book - it does have positive points and I would like to read more of the series just to find out more about our Raven Boys. I am glad that I picked this one up as I've certainly seen a different, more impressive side to Stiefvater than I previously saw in her earlier books. Even if you haven't been pleased by her previous work, I would urge you to try this one out.


  1. I think I'm one of the few who aren't going nuts about this book, and your review kind of confirmed that it really isn't my cup of tea. :P
    Thanks for he awesome review.

  2. I've read a few mixed reviews of this book already but I have to admit that I'm still insanely excited to read this book!

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Steph! I'm sorry it didn't quite live up to the hype, but I am still happy to see that the characters were rich and well-developed. I've only read one Stiefvater novel, The Scorpio Races, which was just out of this world, so I doubt I'll enjoy this one as much but I still really want to see what all the hype is about. I hope you give The Scorpio Races a try someday since it's phenomenal! :) Wonderful review, Stephanie! :D

    Ivy Book Bindings

  4. I'm glad this one worked out better than her other books, but it's a shame you didn't love it completely. I'm happy to see that there are a lot of positive things about this book. I like the sound of this book and the fact that Blue has a bit of sass. Great review :)

  5. Glad you liked it. I always say if you're still thinking about a book days later--even if you aren't sure you liked it--then the author did their job! :D Thanks for the review!

  6. Great review, it's good to see a real balanced review as all I have seen so far is 5 stars. I loved the book but I found (like you) some parts a little confusing at times. I loved the characters and I think they really made the book. I'm glad you enjoyed this, I cannot wait for the next book! :)

  7. I've seen a lot of positive reviews but i have read some reviews that includes some flaws in the books. But i still can't wait to read this! I also can't wait to meet the characters, especially Blue.

    Sangita @ Whisper of Reads.

  8. I have tried reading Shiver to no avail. I definitely want to try this one out or The Scorpio Races just to see whether I'd like it. So sorry that it didn't live up to your expectations; I was one of those who are quite excited for this book. Great honest review, Stephanie.

  9. I agree with you about the pacing, I think she wrote this with the entire series in mind, thus making the first half of this book too slow. I liked it more than you did, but I certainly understand what you're saying.
    Great review!

  10. I am the opposite I adored the entire Wolves series, I am a sucker for gorgeous in depth writing and well crafted characters, This one didn't blow me away either. I liked it but didn't fall head over heels in love with it. The writing was missing the magic, and the pacing I agree was slow.

  11. I also did not like Shiver or Linger. That series just felt so unrealistic to me. I liked The Raven Boys, though. Blue is a good character, but I have the same problems with Stiefvater's writing as you. I think maybe it is her writing style that prevents me from falling in love with her books.

    s @ Oh! Paper Pages

  12. I totally get what you're saying about the slowness of the book--it took me awhile to get through the beginning, even though I enjoyed this one more than you. I wish we'd gotten deeper into the story, too, which is something that often seems to be a problem in series. *sigh*

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


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