Title/Author: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Magical Realism
Summary: 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.
I have SO MANY thoughts about this book. The first is that I loved it.
Before I dig into my in-depth thoughts, however, I’d like to point out the brilliance of the audiobook for this book. I listened to it for the vast majority of this book and it was pHeNoMeNaL. The narrator (Will Patton) was FANTASTIC. He did talk a bit too slow at times, but speeding it up to around 1.4x easily solved that problem. He read it with such an air of mysteriousness, and I loved his voice and the voices he used for the characters. I’m not sure I would have loved this a much as I did if I read the whole thing in book form. The narration style really added to the overall feel of the book, and every time I went back to plain ol’ reading it, I felt a little bit of separation anxiety from the audiobook. Yes, it was that good.
Okay, now to talk about the book part of the book. First thing’s first: the writing. It was at times queer and a bit not what I’m used to, but I felt that slight strangeness was refreshing and worked extremely well with the story. I love Maggie Stiefvater’s voice, and I think she did an especially good job with the atmosphere of the book. My favorite aspect would definitely be the imagery. The trees, the forest, Gansey’s old Camaro, and especially the trees that speak Latin… I just love that. I loved it all. The atmosphere was fantastic.
Going into the book, I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be so strange. Sometimes with unusual-ish books, I find them too weird to connect with, but in the case of The Raven Boys, the oddness made sense. It was the kind of odd that drove my curiosity, the kind that I wanted to know more about. I think a good part of this is due to the author and how she tells the story, because if the narration hadn’t been as good as it was, I probably wouldn’t have been able to click with this book.
Another aspect of this book that I adored was the dynamic between the boys (‘the raven boys’). All of them were interesting in their own way. There’s Gansey (who I find absolutely adorable), Adam (who’s cool, I guess), Ronan (who’s a great character with some amazing potential in the story), and Noah (who’s adorable–and has secrets of his own). I loved the dynamic of all of the boys together, and I especially loved how loyal they all were to Gansey.
And Gansey… my favorite of the bunch, for sure. He could be so clueless, so cute, but he’s obviously brilliant, too. I really loved his determination. I’ve decided I’m definitely a Gansey-and-Blue shipper (Blansey? Glue?… not feeling those ship names so much). Sorry, Adam… I mean, that thing where Gansey calls Blue Jane? I smile on the inside every. single. time.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the plot. At first it was confusing. I remember thinking, what the heck are ley lines?… and for that reason it took me a little while to get involved with the story. But once I surrendered to the fact of the ley lines and magic and mystery, I became completely wrapped up in the story. There was never a moment where I was bored because all of it–the characters, the ley lines, and the sleepy little town of Henrietta–was so captivating and interesting. It’s a book you really have to read in order to understand.
The pacing of the story never felt off, and the ending was just right. It was climactic, it was big, and although I was admittedly a bit confused at one point, I sorted it out.
I can always tell I loved a book when I just have a ton to say about it, but what can I say? I loved the book. If you’re even remotely interested in reading it, you definitely need to pick it up.
5/5 stars. Duh.