Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Difficulty: Moderately easy
Series: First book in The Raven Cycle
Trigger warning – abuse
Always spoiler free
Another book I started while on leave! Influenced by a #bookstagram post which featured a quote (camels, and below) which obviously immediate intrigued me, and I read it in three hours while on a train down south.
Blue is from a family of psychics but is the only one without powers. All her life she’s been told that her true love, the boy she kisses, will die. This summer, that prophecy might come true.
I really can’t decide what I think about this book.
I liked and disliked it. I can’t work out if I liked it more then I disliked it. I mean, I obviously was hooked enough to read it in one go, but towards the end it became more of an act of perverse determination to finish it.
The book starts off on a strong note. I really loved Blue and her family. I found them intriguing, loving, chaotic and fun. However, when Blue meets her Raven Boys the plot line can’t hold them all as central characters, and she is side-lined. As such as a strong character, who I took to be the central character from the blurb, she suddenly becomes obsolete. She joins their adventure, and her inclusion is circumstantial to the plot (if you’ve read it, imagine that her mother and aunt exists, but she doesn’t. How much plot changes for the first and second book?)
Stiefvater writes great characters. As noted above, I freaking loved Blue and the fact she came from a household of powerful women who held their own agency and take no-one’s shit. I liked the Raven Boys, but less then Blue (which is probably why it annoyed me they pushed her plot to the side). I did enjoy that the Raven Boys brought angst, mystery and obsession.
Gansey draws you in with his obsession for Glendower and his general personality, but my favourite was always Ronan. Sharp corners, brooding and dark. I can take or leave Adam, but his storyline brings a sense urgency and realism.
Stiefvater’s writing and attention to small details, like Gansey’s insomnia, makes the world building impeccable. Little touches – like Blue being pissed off by Gansey’s shoes – all adds to the layers and depth within this book.
The meandering plotline is what got me; it can be slow, like treacle, and confusing. I grasped the plot line, but the more Stiefvater added to the general mystery of ley lines and Glendower, the more I lost track within the oddity of the mystery. There was a great promise within the book, it peeks out, but somehow in bringing together all the characters (there is a lot), it loses its way. There’s too much going on, and despite that it’s also slow. I don’t know how else to explain it. In part I loved this – I was transported, I felt each character’s emotion, resolve, internal struggles, but I also got incredibly annoyed by it. Also – Welk subplot felt like it was added to tie up lose plot points and didn’t add much for me, as it wasn’t particularly developed.
So – I can’t decide. It’s like marmite…which I like in small quantities.
Well Red Reviews
Would I recommend this book? Yes
‘When Gansey was polite, it made him powerful. When Adam was polite, he was giving power away.’
‘As Adam stared at his lap, penitent, he mused that there was something musical about Ronan when he swore, a careful and loving precision to the way he fit the words together, a black-painted poetry. It was far less hateful sounding than when he didn’t swear.’
‘“How do you feel about helicopters?"
There was a long pause. "How do you mean? Ethically?"
"As a mode of transportation."
"Faster than camels, but less sustainable.”’
‘He strode over to the ruined church. This, Blue had discovered, was how Gansey got places - striding. Walking was for ordinary people.’