“The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater

the raven boys cover

I’ve been wanting to read The Raven Boys for a very long time. I had heard great things about it, but I know some people hated it. And I’m so glad I finally read it.

This book is about Blue and four boys, four Raven Boys, and their quest to find a lost Welsh king, the king Glendower. Blue is a teenage girl in a family of psychics, who doesn’t have psychic abilities : but she’s able to amplify other people’s abilities when she’s around, like a “human supernatural battery”.

“I guess I make things that need energy stronger. I’m like a walking battery.”

Since she was a child, psychics predicted only one thing about her life : if she were to kiss her true love, he would die. So Blue has avoided boys her whole life : they’re trouble. Especially the arrogant boys of Aglionby, a school for rich kids, where the students are called “the Raven Boys”. On St Mark’s Eve, Blue and her psychic aunt go to the cemetery to talk to the spirits of the people who will die in the following year. That night, Blue sees a spirit.

She asked, “Will you tell me your name?”

“Gansey,” he said. […]

“Is that all?” she whispered.

Gansey closed his eyes. “That’s all there is.”

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

This book follows five protagonists :

  • Blue Sargent, daughter of a psychic, an independent, determined, and sensible girl.

She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.

  • Richard Gansey III, son of Richard Gansey II, a charismatic, rich, passionate boy.

As always, there was an all-American war hero look to him, coded in his tousled brown hair, his summer-narrowed hazel eyes, the straight nose that ancient Anglo-Saxons had graciously passed on to him. Everything about him suggested power and valor and a firm handshake.

  • Adam Parrish, the poor boy who works hard for everything, who wants to earn his independence and wealth.

Being Adam Parrish was a complicated thing, a wonder of muscles and organs, synapses and nerves. He was a miracle of moving parts, a study in survival. The most important thing to Adam Parrish, though, had always been free will, the ability to be his own master.
This was the important thing.
It had always been the important thing.
This was what it was to be Adam.

  • Ronan Lynch, “the snake”, the rebel, who plays with life.

From the passenger seat, Ronan began to swear at Adam. It was a long, involved swear, using every forbidden word possible, often in compound-word form. As Adam stared at his lap, penitent, he mused that there was something musical about Ronan when he swore, a careful and loving precision to the way he fit the words together, a black-painted poetry. It was far less hateful sounding than when he didn’t swear.

  • Noah Czerny, “the smudgy one”, who we don’t know much about. He’s just there, and sometimes he’s not.

“Oh! Your hand is cold.” Ashley cupped her fingers against her shirt to warm them.
“I’ve been dead for seven years,” Noah said. “That’s as warm as they get.”

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I loved this book so much. This is the first one by Maggie Stiefvater I read, and wow, I intend to read more of her books. To be honest, when I started reading this book, I was really determined to like it, and that might have been one of the reasons why I did like it so much. I was warned the beginning might be hard to get into, but I ended up reading it in a day. I loved so many things about this book : the writing style, the humor, the characters, the relationships… Even the romance. 

Maggie’s writing style is unique and I loved it so very much. She has a way of describing things that is… magical. The writing style makes the book itself a treasure full of magic. The scenes she describes are so creepy clear in my head. Everything is so real and yet so magical

I absolutely loved the humor of the author. I did laugh at certain points; but everyone has a different sense of humor, and everyone might not find the dialogues funny (I do think I have a peculiar sense of humor sometimes).

The characters. Man, the characters. They’re all so amazing. I grew attached to every single one of them; the Raven Boys, Blue, Maura, Calla, Persephone… Blue is one of the best protagonists I know. She has a temper, she’s sarcastic, independent, she doesn’t care what people say, she’s just herself all the time. I admire this character so much. Gansey fascinated me and I just want to know more, more, more about him.

“My words are unerring tools of
destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

Ronan intrigued me a lot, but I really enjoyed his humor and attitude. Adam was such an interesting character in the beginning, I really liked him. Noah was so… weird. Oh, and Persephone made me laugh so much, she’s so weird, I love her.

They’re all very appealing. And real. And magic. I’m so happy to say I found a book with amazing and magic and appealing characters.

The relationships between these beautiful characters are touching as well. Every single relationship is unique and different from the others, and it adds so much to the novel. I loved how complicated Adam and Gansey’s relationship was. How sweet Noah and Blue’s was. How extreme Adam and Ronan’s was. How tough Ronan and Gansey’s was.

Adam wasn’t certain what came first with Blue–her treating the boys as friends, or them all becoming friends. It seemed to Adam that this circular way to build relationships required a healthy amount of self-confidence to undertake. And it was a strange sort of magic that it felt like she’d always been hunting for Glendower with them.

Oh, and Maura and Blue’s relationship was so different from any other mother-daughter bond I have ever read. They’re both so funny, understanding and honest with each other, it was a pleasure to read this.

“Are you really going to work in that?” Maura asked.
Blue looked at her clothing. It involved a few thin layering shirts, including one she had altered using a method called shredding. “What’s wrong with it?”
Maura shrugged. “Nothing. I always wanted an eccentric daughter. I just never realised how well my evil plans were working.”

The romance. Agh. Reading the synopsis, you might think the romance is a major element in the story; well, it’s not. This book just has the beginning of a very touching romance, but it’s slow. And there’s hardly any romance here. What bugged me was the presence of yet another love triangle. I usually hate love triangles, because, let’s be honest, 90% of the time, they’re just stupid and badly written. For now, because the romance is really not important in the story (yet), I  am not frustrated (yet). But I don’t see it as a “real” love triangle, because it’s pretty obvious to me who Blue would end up falling in love with. And thank God Blue is never annoying and not ever undecisive. But she’s falling in love slowly. Which is something you rarely read in YA literature, such a slow love story where the characters take the time to fall in love. But when they do fall in love, it’s more heartbreaking then ever. You might have guessed it, I HAVE A NEW OTP. Still, don’t expect a lot of romance. 

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The Raven Boys is the kind of book I want to un-read to start reading it for the first time again. But I can’t do that, so I just re-read it a lot. I enjoyed this read so much, and I think it’s partly because I wanted to like it so much. I recommend this to people who are looking for a magical book, mature and mysterious.

Rating : 18/20

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One thought on ““The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Pingback: Slytherin sneaking its way into my literary couples | Alice's Book World

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