Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Raven Cycle #1
Published September 18th 2012 by Scholastic Press

“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.
The Raven Boys is a book I'd had on my wishlist/tbr since before it came out. Honestly I cannot believe it's taken me this long to get to it and now that I've read it, I'm even more shocked that I even waited at all.  I devoured this book, when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it and now that I've finished it the characters and their adventure have taken up permanent residence in my head.  I'm left wishing I could disregard any and all review copies to read the sequel right this instant!

The Raven Boys starts off by introducing us to it's main characters.  Firstly, there's Blue which I connected with straight away.  Blue is funky and offbeat but she's also mature for her age and has a good head on her shoulders.  She's been surrounded by actual psychics her entire life but as a non-seer herself, she's clearly had a very unique upbringing but she manages to have a level head, even when it comes to romance! She isn't prone to stupid decision making and she wasn't quick to be taken in by the Raven Boys.   Yeah, I was impressed and it made me love her even more.  She's also really brave and kickass without being too showy or angsty about it, which was a plus.

Then there's the actual Raven Boys, a group of boys who all attend Aglionby, a very private boarding school.  Getting familiar with the Raven Boys instantly grabbed my interest.  Each of them were fully developed, complex and although they all had their flaws, they were extremely likeable.  The best part of it all though was their companionship and loyalty to one another.  There's Adam who attends Aglionby on a scholarship and doesn't quite fit into the rich crowd that surround him.  There's Gansey, the clear leader of the group - and the heart of it as well.  Gansey didn't win me over right away with his blue-blood and smooth words but I'm not sure he was meant to.  I kind of felt akin to Blue when she first met him and then he slowly won me over...as he did with her.  Gansey is an old soul and a young and gorgeous body, if he doesn't make you swoon at some point in this story, well, I'm not sure what to tell you.  Another of the Raven Boys is Noah, who's much more mysterious than the other boys. You don't get to know him as quickly as the other boys but when you do: woah! You will be blown away!  His is easily one of the most compelling backstories of the lot.  And finally there's Rowan.  Rowan is dark, tortured and angry.  Rowan has buzzed hair and a tattoo. Rowan lives dangerously and doesn't take sh*t from anyone.  And of course, Rowan won me over without even trying.  The ending of this one has me mystified where he's concerned which makes me even more excited to get into The Dream Thieves. I freaking love the guy!

The pacing for The Raven Boys is not your typical YA paranormal/fantasy fare.  Because this is such a character driven story, a lot of time is dedicated to getting to know Blue and the Raven Boys along with the relationship dynamics that exist between them.  I'll admit, this was one of my favorite aspects of the entire read.  I love action as much as the next person, and yes sometimes when there's not much going on I can get bored...but this was something else.  I was engrossed in the way Maggie Stiefvater revealed these rich characters and the ties that bind them to one another.  I reveled in how Blue and the boys met and how they all became a part of each other's lives; slowly and properly - the way things tend to happen in real life.  Ah!  It was sooooo satisfying to witness it all unfold! That's not to say that the action was lacking though - honestly it was a perfect balance of intrigue, action, and the supernatural.  It all worked so well together though that already I feel like this story has always been a part of me.

It seems like an understatement to say that The Raven Boys is a book consumed me.  Truly, I was swept away by this town, it's people and it's magic.  I want to move to Henrietta and look up Blue, Gansey, Adam, Rowan and Noah so that I too can join their misfit group. This was my first read by Maggie Stiefvater but I can guarantee it won't be the last.  I'm thrilled that I have book 2 at the ready - I don't think I'll manage resisting it's pull too long.  A huge thank you to Lee @ Rally the Readers for gifting me a copy of this one and putting me out of my misery ♥

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

34 comments:

  1. Rowan won me over without even trying too Micheline!!!! I'm a complete sucker for the dark and tortured ones, they just make me fall in love with them every single time. I still need to read book two, I've heard it focuses a lot more on him and I can't wait! We'll have to compare notes:) This is a gorgeous review, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did!

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    1. Swoon! He's just so incredibly appealing to me,I'm glad to hear you were taken by him too Jenny :D I've also heard book two is pretty much 'his book' so I doubt I'll be able to hold off very long - we'll definitely have to compare notes once we both read that one! Thanks so much for the wonderful comment xxxx

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  2. Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - I've talked to even those who rarely read YA seem to love this book. I've had it on my list forever and sounds like I really need to start it soon!

    ~Mogsy

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    1. Yup! There's just something so special about it, it sucks you right in and NEVER LETS GO! I was beyond brilliant, I hope you read it soon :) Thanks for stopping by Mogsy

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  3. Omgggggg I'm just so excited that you loved this one, Micheline!!! And if you loved Ronan in this book... omg. Just. Omg. You are going to love every second of Dream Thieves AND THEN SOME. AHHHHHH. Actually yeah, could you just go ahead and ignore your review books a LIIIIIITLE longer so you can read Dream Thieves now? That'd be great thanks! XD

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    1. I am too Nikki - I definitely can't get over the fact that I waited THIS long to finally read it...I missed out on the awesome for far too long! And don't worry, I HIGHLY doubt I'll be able to resist the pull of Dream Thieves for much longer ;-D

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  4. OK, so where do I start?! *Brain overloading on Raven Boys awesomeness. Warning: rambling comment ahead* First, THANK YOU for using THAT cover in your review! ❤❤❤ I'm thisclose to buying the paperback just so I can own that cover.

    "I devoured this book, when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it and now that I've finished it the characters and their adventure have taken up permanent residence in my head." That was my EXACT reaction when I finished this. Like, I'm not even joking. The writing is so, so, so beautiful, and the depth to Blue and the boys' characters: AAAHHHHHH!!!!!! And just when you think there's no topping this book, wait until you read The Dream Thieves!!!

    Reading your review and knowing that you loved this has just totally made my day! :D

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    1. Bahahahah oh gosh, this comment WINS so hard Lee ♥ Yeah I much prefer this cover too, thank YOU for having such good taste when you sent it along!!

      The writing is beyond stunning and the characters LEPT off of the pages and lived inside of me, I swear. I can NOT get over how much I loved this book so I'm almost scared I'll be drowning in feels with The Dream Thieves!!

      Oh and I'm thrilled I made your day because you sending me this book and my loving it pretty much made my LIFE :D

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  5. I agree, the pacing of this book is different form usual YA books.. it takes its time with the characters and i just loved how i got to know so many of them so well. Gansey is my favorite and i just love his old soul. I'm jealous you read it now because you can pick up the second immediately! and the third is coming out in a couple of months. I read The Dream Thieves back in august *cries* and The Raven Boys the year before that. Waiting is killing me and I can't wait to get back into the world of the aglionby boys and blue <3

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. I think the best part of this is how the story just took it's time, letting us get to know the characters WHILE keeping things riveting and laying the groundwork for that explosive finale! I can only imagine how torturous it would have been to read this one right when it came out. And then have to wait for Dream Thieves...and then again with the waiting for Blue Lily, Lily Blue >.< Although somehow I feel like this series would totally be worth the wait ♥ Thanks for stopping by Juhina :)

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    2. hehe I suspected as much ;-)

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  6. I have to read this. The pacing and angle intrigue me. I have only read The Scorpio races and I understand that that was very different from her other stuff. My co-blogger LOVES Maggie Stiefvater.
    Wonderful review.

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    1. I hope you will read this one and enjoy it as much as I did Stephanie! I still need to read The Scorpio Races myself but I recently got myself a copy - I've heard it's quite different from this series too but I'm very curious! She's definitely got a fan for life in me now :) Thank you & thanks for stopping by xxx

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  7. I really need to get around to reading this series. Awesome review.

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    1. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who was late to the Rave Boys party ;-D Thanks hun!

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  8. I don't know WHY I haven't read this series yet. I so need to get it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I hope you DO get to it soon Nicole and that you'll LOVE IT!!

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  9. Completely agree! I'm more of a Gansey fan but my co-blogger likes Ronan too ;) I really can't believe how complex yet easy to get into these are. I hope you like the next book too! So many twists to look forward to!

    Also, the Scorpio Races is a MUST read :D

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    1. hahaha one of my closest blogger friends is team Gansey as well - I can definitely see the appeal but yeah Ronan just stole my heart ;-) I honestly doubt I'll be able to hold out on Dream Thieves much longer; your mention of twists just makes me all the more eager :D haha And YES ^^ I recently got my hands on The Scorpio Races so hopefully I'll get to that one soon! Thanks for stopping by Alise xxxx

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  10. I had to warm up for Gansey as well. Noah was so interesting, I loved Adam right away and Ronan was immediately a fascinating figure. Wait for The Dream Thieves, that is mostly about him :D Blue is just fantastic!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I really feel like we were meant to need to warm up to Gansey as we got to know him better. I liked Adam right away too and I agree, Noah was fasinating. And yes I have so much love for Blue :-D I've heard Dream Thieves is all about Rowan so of course I'm even more excited now! Eeep!!

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  11. There's nothing I love more than rich characters! I can't wait to try this one out; I loved The Scorpio Races so much!

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    1. I agree with you 100% Danielle so I'm excited to see what you'll think of this one when you check it out! I can't wait to read The Scorpio Races myself :-D thanks for stopping by!

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    2. No problem! I'll be reading this one this week I hope! Try the Scorpio Races as soon as you can; I totally loved it!

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    3. Ooooh for real?! Now I'm really pumped for you :D I'll definitely be giving The Scorpio Races a go asap!!

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  12. I loved The Raven Boys as well, and I'm not usually a para reader at all - which tells you just how universal Maggie Stiefvater's writing and themes are. My personal favourite Raven Boy was Adam, although, like you, I kind of got into Gansey as the book went on. I admit that I was kind of taken back with what happened to Adam at the end, and I still haven't gotten to The Dream Thieves so I'm curious to see where Stiefvater will take that.

    I don't know if I, personally, want to move to Henrietta, but I wouldn't mind going for a visit. =)

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    1. Well the para elements started off quite lightly...not to mention how well it was all done so I can see how this story could win over readers of all genres. I really like Adam right away too but the ending with him threw me for a loop. We'll have to compare notes once we both get to The Dream Thieves ;-) Thanks for stopping by Tiff! Xx

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  13. I'm actually feeling a little bit jealous that you have read this because I have been wanting to read this since it came out, as well!! I can't believe I have never found the time and I KNOW I will be regretting it the moment I finally get the chance to read it, like you did. The Scorpio Races marked my first ever Maggie Stiefvater read and I cannot recommend that one highly enough. The way you describe her characterization is pretty much exactly what I remember feeling about the characters in The Scorpio Races!! (Except you put it into words better than I ever could). Eek okay OKAY I NEED TO READ THIS!! I really hope I can get to it this summer. And I also hope you can find time to read The Dream Thieves soon in time for book 3! This was a fantastic review that somehow made me even more excited to read The Raven Boys, which I didn't think was possible!!

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    1. Well, if it makes you feel better hun, I'm jealous that you've read The Scorpio Races because now that I know the awesomeness that is Stiefvater's writing & characterization, I SERIOUSLY feel like I've been missing out! We'll have to read ALL HER BOOKS and then have a dishing session to compare thoughts & gush hahaha But yeah, you NEED The Raven Boys in your life Aylee ;-D

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  14. I read this last summer and was, like you, immediately consumed! These are seriously the best books, and lucky you get to read the second one soon and the third book is out in not too long! I actually loved Gansey from the beginning, for some reason, and he's even better in book 2! Ah, and SO MUCH RONAN in The Dream Thieves! You're going to love it! :D Great review!

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

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    1. The characters and this world just take over your life! I'm extremely eager for more Rowan in The Dream Thieves..and more Gansey to be honest ;-D I'm hoping I can get started on it SOON! Thanks for stopping by Rachel!!

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  15. I came back to read your review for this one, after I saw your glowing praise for Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I see this series all the time, but I've never picked it up - I don't think I could even have told you what it was about really!

    I love your review - this is finally going on my TBR list ;) I've only read The Scorpio Races by Stiefvater so far but I really enjoyed that, so hoping I'll love this too! The world and the characters sound so exciting.

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    1. YAY! Then my work here is done :D I still need to read The Scorpio Races myself but I heard that if you enjoyed that one, you'll LOVE The Raven Boys!! In any case, I hope you'll love these Faith^^ xx

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