Full of magic, banter, and perfectly placed words, The Raven Boys is the kind of book that wakes feelings of whimsy and adventure that have been beaten down by the day to day grind of our world.
Rating: 5 Stars
The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Synopsis: “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.
I wish The Raven Boys had been around when I was in high school. This story of Blue Sargent and her Raven Boys is the perfect kind of peculiar and would have given me a place to escape to when needed. Stiefvater manages to deftly blend a story of magic and searching with loss and abuse. The result is the kind of book that takes up residence in your soul and pulses with a kind of wistful want that you can’t quite put into words.
Stiefvater’s writing style is whimsical, but not in an overly flowery way. It flows perfectly and adds a layer mysticism to the story. Every word feels like it is in it’s right place. Since this is a contemporary fantasy, the world building isn’t deep and epic, but it doesn’t need to be. There is subtle building of the relationships between the boys (Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Gansey) and of Blue’s family/psychic household. Running straight through the middle of the story is the hunt for Glendower and the slowly unfolding mystery of Whelk. Stiefvater pulls numerous story strings down into a multi arching plot that twists and turns all as one.
The Raven Boys has sat on my bookshelf for longer than I want to admit, waiting for me to realize it was a fantastic book. I want to go back and scold past me for not picking this one up sooner. If you enjoy dark whimsy, the promise of angst and broken hearts, and achingly beautiful prose, I highly recommend picking up this book.