Sunday, July 1, 2012

THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater (early recommendation)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Number of Pages: 416
Source of Book: ARC from ALA
“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 Stiefvater fan. I've read all of her books and was eagerly anticipating THE RAVEN BOYS from the minute I heard about it. This was the first book I went to find at ALA and it was the first one I read on the plane when I flew home from the conference. I was not disappointed. I can say, without hesitation, that this is my favorite Maggie Stiefvater novel so far. She has once again outdone herself with an utterly original world, characters, and storyline that left me clamoring for more.

I've always appreciated Maggie Stiefvater's lyrical writing style, and it continues in this book; however, it almost seemed a little more accessible in this book, but with the typical Maggie flourishes and beautiful descriptions. I get lost in the world of her writing. Maggie has again created a setting that comes alive in the magical town of Henrietta, Virginia. There are places in this town that have more to them than what appears at first glance, and exploring them is part of the fun of this story. Discovering the supernaturally magical elements of this story is even more fun. I appreciated how seamlessly these magical elements were woven into the thread of this narrative and town and characters, and that made them seem so normal and realistic that I never questioned any of the things that were happening to or around them. Everything is explained just as much as I need it to be for me to understand and go along with it as it was happening. Ultimately, there is a type of quest to this story that I believe is going to carry through the whole series. Although this book is clearly setting up the series in a strong way, it still felt like a complete story on its own and I never felt like it was just exposition for the whole series. I was left with questions, but even more so, I was left with wanting to spend more time with this characters and find out what will happen with them next.

Once again Maggie Stiefvater has written characters that I love spending time with and discovering more about. Blue is a strong female character who is confident in herself and doesn't let what anyone thinks bother her. She is her own person and owns it. She also has some issues within her family she has to come to terms with as she learns more throughout this story. The Raven Boys from Aglionby Academy; Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah, are each endearing in their own way, and they're all a little bit broken. I truly felt for the boys in this story. Their bond and way of looking out for and supporting each other was admirable, yet they didn't always do what I hoped they would, but they did what seemed so right for their characters. Oh, how I adored these boys. I just really wanted to swoop in and fix everything for them. There is so much more depth to them than there at first seems, and it is revealed so slowly and masterfully as to make me feel for them even more. There is a bit of a romantic element to this story what with Blue not being able to kiss her true love or he will die, and some interest with a couple of the boys, but I think part of what I loved about this book is that it was about so much more than that. Because of everything else going on with the magical elements, and the boys' backstories, and the mystery elements, it became about so much more. And all that more was really great.

THE RAVEN BOYS is a unique book, and it's one that I dearly hope other readers will fall in love with as much as I did. There was just something about this one that struck a chord with me, and I hope it will for many more readers as well. I'll leave you with one important warning if you are a person who typically peeks at the end of a book before you start-don't do it in this one! The last line is brutal-both revealing a major secret/revelation, but also making me just want to keep reading-unfortunately, there's not another book yet (although there will be four in the series). I will be eagerly anticipating book two in The Raven Cycle, as I hope you will too after reading THE RAVEN BOYS when it comes out in September.


  1. Eeeee! You're so lucky to be able to get an advance copy!

    I'm soo glad you enjoyed it, tho as a Maggie fan, I'm not surprized! It's not exactly a relief to hear a new book of a favvy author is good...but... it's great knowledge to help hype up the excitement, you agree?

    Thanks for reviewing this, and thank you for pointing out the parts you liked the most. The fact that you touched on the characters just reveals how consistent Maggie is. I always found her talents particularly sprung up the characters.

    Anyway, thanks and happy Canada day!

  2. P.S. - I nabbed your button, so it's quick for me to jump to your blog. Cheers! :)