Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA, paranormal
Pages: 408
Source: Netgalley
Series: Raven Cycle #1
1. The Raven Boys
2. Untitled (expected pub September 2013)
“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.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

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.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I’m a huge Maggie fan, and I worry sometimes that because of this, my expectations of her books are too high. I definitely had high expectations for The Raven Boys. In some ways, it definitely delivered, but then it also fell short in others.

I really like the concepts in this book: the psychics, the ghosts, the dead Welsh king. It’s really original and all has a spooky mystery to it. These concepts were so well blended, thanks of course to Maggie’s fantastic writing. However, there’s still so many gaps. I know that this is the first book in a series, but rather than being cliff-hanger-y and suspenseful, it’s almost too much is missing to really understand what’s happening. I worry that it’s enough to make people put down this book and not want to continue it because of it being so full of gaps. That’s not me because I love Maggie and will read all of her books, but that’s how it made me feel.

I really loved the characters in this book, as I do all of Maggie’s characters. I don’t think any of her characters are one-dimensional or boring. They’ve all got so much going on under the surface, and we can still see this even from a third person narrative. I was a bit surprised by Gansey. I didn’t expect him to be so invested and obsessed with the supernatural. I loved all the Raven Boys (of course!): Ronan is so badass and doesn’t give a crap about much; Adam is a genuine sweetheart, but he’s also too proud for his own good; and Noah, even though he doesn’t say much, just belongs. And then there’s Blue, who I love and believe in above anything.

Although there are gaps in the story, there’s still so much to love. It’s a fast-paced read because you won’t want to put it down. And when you get to the end, even though the questions may be overwhelming, you’ll need to read more. I definitely need to read more. I need more Raven Boys!

Thanks to NetGalley and Scholastic for the ebook review copy!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


  1. Loved your review. I haven't gotten around to reading this book yet even though I have it waiting on my shelf for me. It sounds incredible and your review just makes me want to read it even more. I have never read any of Stievater's other books so this will be the first and I really don't know what to expect. Thanks for the inspiration to go read this one right now! Happy reading!

  2. I too adore Maggie Stiefvater, and her writing. I felt that this one was very different from any of her previous books, which just goes to show what a huge talent she is! This one left me wanting a good way! I appreciated your honesty when it fell short for you. Great review!