Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

September 13, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★★

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 2012 September 18
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: E-book
Source: Purchased
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five-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.

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.

Before I start my review, I just need to inform you that I might have gotten some details wrong because I’ve read this book five months ago and I was too lazy to immediately write a review.

Let me start this review by saying that The Raven Boys is my first Maggie Stiefvater book and even though I’ve been seeing her The Wolves of Mercy Falls series in our local bookstores, I’ve never felt the urge to pick even a single book of the series.  They just didn’t appeal to me.  It was, however, different with The Raven Boys because the first time I saw its cover, I immediately knew that it was the book for me.  Gladly, my bookish instinct was true and The Raven Boys was anything that I can hope for from a YA Urban Fantasy.

One of the main reasons why this book really appealed to me is because it greatly reminded of the manga-to-TV show adaptation of Hana Yori Dango. So far, at the time of writing this, there have been four versions of the TV adaptation of the said manga.  I’m already finished with the two versions and all I can say that is I love all of them.  Thus, it is no wonder that I also fell inlove with The Raven Boys.

The Raven Boys follows the story of four male teenagers who are attending Aglionby Academy—an all-boys elite school—and a poor and quirky female teen named Blue Sargent.  Blue is born to a family of psychics but strangely, she was not endowed with any clairvoyant skills.  Worse, everyone in her family has repetitively informed her that her one true love will die if she kisses him. For this reason,  Blue made sure to stay away from the opposite gender as much as possible. However, her efforts proved to be useless as she crossed paths with the Aglionby boys. Obviously, the five of them became close friends even if Blue harbored an initial hatred for the rich Aglionby boys.  The friendship developed when these teenagers got more and more immersed with the secrets of Glendower and the ley lines.

There are so many things to fangirl over The Raven Boys.  I love how the whole story was set up. Instead of using werewolves, witches, and the likes, Maggie utilized Welsh history and added her own brand of magic to ensure that even those who do not care about the history of other countries would develop even a modicum of care.  Do I make sense? Whatever.

I can also say that one of the strongest assets of The Raven Boys its cast of characters.  We have the five teenagers as well the numerous secondary characters that are well-rounded and unforgettable. I just don’t know how Maggie does it but I feel so invested with all the characters. Not to mention that the friendship between the five as well as Blue’s relationship with her weird family are something to be adored.

Although I want to end this review, it might be worth mentioning that there’s a love triangle going on here.  But if you’re going to avoid this book or the whole series just because of that then you are depriving yourself of potential fun.  Maggie Stiefvater handled the romance well in this book.  It was palpable and didn’t become intrusive.  And the love triangle was just… awesome for the lack of the right word.

To conclude, Maggie Stiefvater has just innovated Urban Fantasy with her fabulous writing of the Raven Boys.  Alright, I might be exaggerating but seriously, this is one book that will immediately come to mind if I hear the words “Urban Fantasy.”

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