Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle (1)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: 18 September 2012
Date Read: October 2012
I have been eagerly waiting for this book for a long while. I was really scared that the hype and my expectations would fail the book. I had pretty high expectations for this one, which is weird since Scorpio Races was the only book I've read by her, and I didn't even like it. But I still thought Raven Boys was going to be brilliant.
And it was.
With the first couple of chapters, it is evident that we are dealing with things Bigger things, otherworldly things. The Raven Boys was influenced by a lot of Welsh folk lore, which I wasn't familiar with at all. But I had no trouble keeping up with the story. It was refreshingly different.
Blue Sargent belongs to a family of psychics. They deal in the ethereal; Tarot card readings, scryings. Blue leads an eccentric life and she has been the subject to countless of readings. Blue amplifies the energy around her and her family's talent, but she isn't actually a psychic herself. Every year on St Mark's Eve, Blue stands alongside her mother by the churchyard to wait the arrival of the spirits of the soon-to-be-dead walk the corpse road and every year, she sees nothing- until this year. She sees a boy, Gansey, dressed in Aglionby school uniform, emerge from the dark.
"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve, Blue. Either you're his true love...or you killed him."
Blue is then sucked into a world of mystery she never expected to be solving with the Aglionby boys, the raven boys. But she must be careful to guard her heart for as long as she can remember, Blue has been told that "If Blue was to kiss her true love, he would die."
Before I go any further, I just want to make it clear that The Raven Boys is not a romance. This whole true love's kiss thing was all but non-existent in the novel. Oh, I'm sure it will be of extreme importance later on in the series, and I can't wait to read about it then. But Raven Boys was not a romance. It was a mystery at its core- with ley lines, Latin-speaking trees, ghosts, murderers and one hell of a hunt. Gansey, the leader of the Raven Boys, is obsessed with finding and waking the resting place of the sleeping king, Glendower. The person to do so will be granted a favour.
The story starts out in Blue's perspective, but it is actually told through third person, omniscient, which is necessary considering the epic story that Raven Boys is and the numerous characters it involves. Gansey is a true Aglionby boy- ridiculously rich, radiating confidence, power and completely obsessed with the supernatural, with waking the sleeping Glendower. He wants nothing more than to find his purpose and to prove that he's more than his money and his name. Adam works hard to keep the partial scholarship he received to study in Aglionby. He wants to earn a life outside of what he knows and to become his own man. Ronan, a ghost of his former self after the traumatic loss of his father. Noah is a troubled soul, shy and timid, but he knows a lot more than he lets on. Each boy had complex characters. They were difficult to understand at the beginning, and I still have trouble now. But it was so interesting to see layer after layer peel off, to see them at their core. And Stiefvater is not done showing us who these raven boys really are. The camaraderie between these boys are so deep and complicated. It's like they went to war and back together. This raw brotherly bond was one- if not the strongest thing in the book. Each one tore me up and broke my heart in the duration of the book. It was brilliant.
The pace of the book was slow, especially at the beginning. Stiefvater took her time setting everything up and I admit, I was a little frustrated of the things she revealed and dangled in my face that wasn't resolved in this book. But I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. It just makes waiting for the next book better and harder and ohmygod everyone needs to read this.