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BOOK REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

| 4 January 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

September 2012
Paperback, £7.99
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli




Growing up in a family of clairvoyants and other psychics, Blue Sargent has been told her entire life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. To be on the safe side, Blue refuses to kiss anybody at all, thus avoiding the danger.

Until one particular St Mark’s Eve. Every year, Blue accompanies her mother to the church (“the ghost road”) to jot down the names of the people who will die in the next twelve months, so her family can warn them. Blue doesn’t have the sight and can’t, therefore, see the dead.

Except this once. When Blue goes with her aunt Neeve to the church, she sees one boy, of about seventeen, wandering helpless and lost towards the church’s entrance. He is the spirit of a boy who will die within the year.

“Will you tell me your name?”
“Gansey,” he said.
“Is that all?” she whispered.
Gansey closed his eyes. “That’s all there is.”


Aunt Neeve tells her there are only two reasons someone without the sight will suddenly see a spirit.

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St Mark’s Eve, Blue. Either you’re his true love,” Neeve said, “or you killed him.”

Their paths are suddenly thrown together when Blue meets the real life Gansey and his group of friends who are hunting down a ley line to find the abandoned Welsh king, Glendower. It is a mission Gansey has dedicated years and years of his life to, travelling the entire world for clues and signs, and his obsession is easily explained: Legend has it that, when someone wakes Glendower, he will grant the person one wish.

Stiefvater has a knack for weaving legends and lore together to create an urban fantasy story like no other. Although her characters are overly “quirky”, it is easy to warm up to them once you get to know them, just like it is easy to judge them right off the bat.

Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: one, stay away from boys, because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys because they were bastards.

Written from the point of views of numerous characters including Blue and Gansey, we see life through different eyes and prejudicial thoughts are quickly shoved aside. In this story, nothing is what it seems.

It is slow going for the first 25%, while the reader is introduced to characters and different storylines, where the reader gets to know the different point of views and what they mean to the plot, but once surpassed, it is very easy to be swept up by Stiefvater’s lyrical writing and cheeky, funny characters.

The relationship between Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah is brilliantly done. You have Gansey who is the “father” of the group, always worrying about everyone and making sure everyone is okay; Ronan who is the rebel of the group, constantly stirring up trouble and running to Gansey for help; Adam is the “sensible” one, who is always trying to keep up with everyone else (whilst also trying to get the girl) and finally Noah, the “smudgy” one shares traits with each of his friends, and is also the sweetest. When Blue is introduced to the group, Gansey immediately takes her under his wing (nicknaming her “Jane”) whilst Adam fights for her attention. They welcome her with open arms and make her feel not only wanted, but needed. The chemistry between these characters was incredibly well done.

A story of true love, death and the power of fate, The Raven Boys left me pleasantly surprised.

“The Raven Boys” is the first book in “The Raven Cycle Series” by Maggie Stiefvater. 

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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