Why, oh, why haven’t I read this sooner? I think I may have found a new favorite series and I’ve only just read the first book, I loved it that much. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is a fairly popular tetralogy and, as always, I didn’t read it right when it was published. Now that I’m on it, though, I’m hooked. If you want to see why I enjoyed The Raven Boys so much, keep reading.
| Published: 2012 by Scholastic Inc. | Hardcover Edition | Price: 17,99 € |
| 416 pages | ISBN: 978-0-54-542492-9 |
As I’m thinking about how best to summarize this story I’m finding that I’m having a little bit of a hard time doing so. The story is very complex and in the beginning it left me slightly confused at times, which, thinking about it now, adds to its overall charm but more on that later on. This is going to be rather long but the complexity of the story doesn’t allow for anything else.
Blue Sargent lives in a house full of psychics but she is not one herself. All the women in her family, including her mother, have special gifts but Blue has not inherited any of it. Instead, her presence seems to amplify the other women’s psychic abilities. Her whole life she has been told, by every psychic she’s ever met, that after she kissed her true love they would die. But Blue isn’t planning on wanting to kiss anyone soon so there shouldn’t be a problem, right? When she goes on her yearly trip to an old church to help the other women see the spirits of the people doomed to die within the next year, she is shocked when she herself can actually see one of them. His name is Gansey and he is one of the Raven Boys, a student of the local private students for the rich and priviledged. The only reason a non-psychic would be able to see one of the spirits is because either they are their true love or they caused them to die. Since Blue despises everyone who goes to Aglionby academy and has sworn to stay far away from the Raven Boys she can’t possibly fall in love with one of them. As she inevitably gets pulled into their world and into the quest Gansey and his friends are on, she soon finds out that she might just change her mind about that.
I love both the hardback and the paperback covers. While I generally prefer hardbacks, I really like that you can actually see all the Raven Boys on the paperback cover and they look pretty much exactly like I pictured them while reading the book. I also loved all the characters’ names. Some of them were really quirky and fit the story perfectly.
Writing & Plot
I haven’t read a story this unique in a very long time or possibly ever. A couple of years ago I read Maggie Stiefvater’s “Wolves of Mercy Falls” trilogy and fell in love with her writing but this is on another level entirely. It could sometimes be a little heavy but once I got into it I just wanted to keep reading.
The world the author has created is phenomenal. It’s set in our world but with lots and lots of magical, mystical elements that make it so fun to read about. She has combined a lot of different parts of folklore and mythology so that you never know what is going to happen next because it could be anything. This book is seriously anything but predictable. I was constantly wondering what would happen next because the plot was so obscure but in the best way possible. It reflects the nature and complexity of the characters perfectly. Everyone and everything in here was just slightly weird but in the most endearing and fitting way.
As I already said, in the beginning I was confused about what was going on at times or how the story lines of Blue and the Raven Boys would eventually come together but I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. The plot centers around a mystical quest that even the people on the quest don’t really know that much about. It makes sense to leave the reader a little in the dark in the beginning instead of laying everything out on a silver platter for them. After all that’s why we read books, right? To find out what is going to happen along the way; otherwise we could just skip to the end – although I have to say the end of this one would probably not make any sense to someone who hasn’t read the rest of the book 😀
Nevertheless, being so clueless was sometimes a little too much for me. I’d temporarily lose interest in the book because too much was unclear and I wasn’t fully immersed in the story but that is the only bit of critique I have.
I can’t even begin to describe the complexity of all these characters and how much I loved every single one of them. I don’t think that has happened to me very often before because usually there is at least that one person I just really don’t get along with in a book.
Blue is an extraordinary protagonist. She is quirky but confident about it and just wants to know what is going on with her lacking psychic abilities and the quest the Raven Boys are on. She feels slightly guilty because she knows Gansey is going to die within the next year and so she doesn’t just decide to take a step into their world out of curiosity, but also because of the responsibility she feels toward his fate.
Gansey is not at all what I had expected from a rich private school student. He is very, very ambitious and would do just about anything to get to the end of the quest he’s on (which I don’t want to say anything else about, find out for yourself!) yet he cares a lot for his friends and wants to take care of them. So much so that sometimes he seems a little entitled when he actually only means well. He seems much older than he is and shows his maturity by being the anchor that grounds his group of friends and keeps them all together.
Do I even have to say anything about the other Raven Boys? Adam, Ronan and Noah are such intricate, complicated characters that you just want to know more and more about and I couldn’t help having fallen in love with them by the end of the novel. They’ve all had a lot of bad things happen to them in the past so each of them has to deal with their own demons but that just makes them more lovable.
All the side characters, like Blue’s mom and all the other women that live in their house, were well thought out. They added depth to the plot but also made me laugh out loud a couple of times.
She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own. (page 9)
I just love this quote because that is exactly what is going on in Blue’s mind. All her life she’s lived with predictions about her future and by now she’s kind of sick of it. She has a curious mind and wants to go out and do something meaningful with her life to have her own say in her future instead of just relying on prophecies.
I haven’t felt this giddy about a book and the romance in it in a long time and there isn’t even that much of the romance in here yet! I heard it really takes off in the next books and I can’t wait to keep reading. I’m really interested in seeing whether in the very end of the series all the mysteries will be uncovered or whether we’ll still be left in the dark about some things! All in all this was a great read and I’ve only docked half a Hubble because I was so confused in the very beginning.
4.5 out of 5 Hubbles
Reviews by other bloggers you should check out:
Katie at Katie’s Book Blog
Melissa at The Book Nut
Favola at Favolas Lesestoff has reviewed the German version