Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Raven Boys: review

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genres: magic, quests
Rating: 5 shining stars that are like exploding into supernovae.
Summary: “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.

This is going to be a hard book to review. I have to be able to convey how much I loved this book, and not sound silly or ramble on for five pages about it. I will try to keep my thoughts organized...

(and excuse the minor formatting issues at the moment.)

Right now, I wish I could go back to all the great books I've read this year, and rate them down to four stars, so I can express how much this book deserves all five stars I am giving it. It's her best book yet.

In the beginning I got the feeling there's something bigger going on in the town of Henrietta, Virgina. Random people are introduced who seem to know something or other about normalness of supernatural events, and the dates of forgotten dead-people's part paranormal, but more magical. The witchcraft without the corniness; the out-of-ordinary making complete sense. That is my first impression.

The POV:
It's third person omniscient. I can tell you now that I absolutely despise that kind of pov the most, when I am reading books. Those I end up dropping. But in here, it was freaking fantastically done. I am SO glad it's written the style it is. I got to see into everybody's head, including the, er, "villain"'s as well. I really loved it.

The Romance:
Maggie Stiefvater really hits the romance spot on in The Raven Boys.

When Gansey is introduced, I got completely excited that he was Blue's love interest. I like him better than Sam from Shiver, or even Sean from The Scorpio Races. Then partway through the book (they don't meet for a while) I thought maybe he isn't, and then I got a bad feeling on how this might all end...well my mind was all over the place.

See, Maggie plays it like, (1) you are confused where the romance is going to go, (1) you kind of enjoy not knowing for once, and (3) you know exactly how it's going to end up. At least, thats my understanding while reading, and all at once. By the end I think I finally figured it out.

At first it may seem like there is a triangle forming, but if you've read her other books, then (well I haven't read her Faerie series yet.) you find the pattern of no love triangles. This gives me hope for the series. Because you know what the romance is in here? Real life. There isn't a 'love triangle'. Goodness that's such a fictional thing to say. Really, in real life, relationships are complicated, ever-changing, and unclear. Not Team This or That.

It's too early, and not quite safe to say there is not going to be a love triangle type of thing going on for the other three eventual books, but whatever it turns out to be, I know it will be good, and special.

The Main Characters:
These include Gansey, Blue, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. All of which are unique, rememberable, and completely fleshed out. There isn't just one main character. The five of them are equally important and I can't imagine any of them going away.
Blue reminded me of me. Really! She makes a lot of her own clothes, is splendidly odd, has a cool ability (well I just haven't grown into mine yet...) and really strives to be eccentric. Blue doesn't want to fit in, and likes to be a part of something different. That is why I like her.

The raven boys aren't likable in the usual fashion, but they have wonderful quirks and strange habits. I mean Noah introduces himself by saying, "I've been dead for seven years." How is that not a perfect way to become attached to someone? And Ronan is some creep you wouldn't want to meet on the street at first glance, but he has a baby raven pet dubbed Chainsaw. Endearing, right? Totally. Adam is the most real character, regarding to dealing with every-day problems, but he still manages to fit in with this bunch of people.

Gansey...(gets his own bold point):
Gansey is unconsciously condescending, but aware that he is privileged. Ever striving to be a better person, but ultimately falling short of understanding that gap between the him and the normal population. And I totally fell for him. Gansey's enthusiasm for his quest to find Glendower is energetic and powerful. The excitement is contagious; I could just picture the light in his eyes every time he talked about the legend.

The Supporting Characters:

Blue's family is hilarious. She lives with her mom, Maura, and a bunch of "half aunts"

Calla, Neeve, Persephone, and Orla. This is one household in which I would love to live. I immediately liked Persephone the best, because of how she is introduced and described, and I didn't like Neeve in the way you're not really supposed to like her.

The Plot... richly complicated. And substantial. The story moves well and there isn't a single lagging moment. There are subplots that tie in nicely, and not just as filler. Many questions are answered, but plenty more are brought up. It's kind of hard to say more than that.

The Writing:
Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors of all time. It's not just because her stories are so creative and fun, but because her writing is so beautiful to read. She really has a knack to getting inside my head and saying things exactly as they make sense to me. And saying that, or typing that, (out loud) makes my statement sound superficial and weird, but I just read it and see she manages to understand what the reader wants to read.

The Ending:
I had to keep reminding myself (as certain events happened) that this is the first in a four book series. So that reminder was a nice delight every time I thought, "Oh no, I'm getting closer to the end of the book!! How do I back up!!?" The ending is surprising and unexpectedly satisfying, although, I now await the next Raven Boys book equally as much as the last Divergent book...maybe even a little more.

I am so tempted to do a giveaway of a pre-ordered copy because you ALL need to read this the day it hits the shelves. Thoughts?


(Oh hey, this is the first post of my birthday month! What a great way to start the countdown till my 18th birthday...perhaps that will be why I do the giveaway...yes, I will get on that now.)

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