Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“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.
When I started Raven Boys, I wasn’t really clear what it was about – there is the ghost angle, then something about a fatal kiss and some Tumblr posts had me convinced it had something to do with psychedellic dreams. Nothing in my imagination, however, came close to the brilliance of the real thing. The so-called raven boys are students of the Aglionby Academy, a snooty private school in the town of Henrieta, where Blue Sargeant lives. The four of them – Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan are treasure hunters, and they are looking for ley lines in town along with their school activities. They come up against mostly dead-ends until Blue joins them and then they discover Cabeswater.

The thing I loved most about The Raven Boys was the engaging writing, which I found myself savoring each word of. I wanted to read it at a languid as well as a fast pace. Secondly, the characters are so well thought-up, the relationships between them, the personal problems of each – all these reflect on how well the book has been created. Even for a YA, it wasn’t invested much in romance, which was refreshing. The mystery and magic of the story more than satisfied me, and the whole construct and canon of the world is genius. The pace was slow, and the first half was devoted to building up the story, with amazing developments in the second half. I was quite surprised with the ending, all that guesswork couldn’t help me with how it was wrapped up and how things have been set up for the next. The sequel looks quite promising, especially with Ronan’s declaration in the last line.

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