Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published: 2012 by Scholastic
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 never sees them—until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, and he’s 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher, 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 doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.”
As she did with her masterful book, The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater takes her incredible imagination and weaves a completely unique story with heavy emphasis on characterization. I have never read something like The Raven Boys, and I do not think I ever will.
This story mostly follows Blue Sargent as she tries to figure out what is going on after something strange happens. On St. Mark’s Eve, she sees a spirit of a boy who is going to die in the coming year. After a series of chance meetings, she ends up joining this boy, Gansey, and his friends in a search for the ley line in the surrounding area. A ley line is a line of supernatural occurrences. Across these lines, the supernatural grows stronger.
Each of the characters were strong and complex. Gansey was probably the most developed in this book. His rich boy façade was covering a boy who desperately wanted to find this ley line and have an adventure for deep rooted personal reasons. I cannot wait to get to know more and more about him. I want his friends to realize the depth of his character, because it seemed like there was always miscommunication about his motives. Adam’s character was also explored to great extent. I have no idea where his character will go in the next few books, but I like him, even though he reads too much into situations. Ronan was interesting as well, but had little development in this first book. I do think that throughout the series we will see much about him and about his motives and personality.
The narrative was in third-person but it cycled through which character it was focused on each chapter. Sometimes I did not feel like Blue was the main character at all (like the synopsis suggests). Blue was not as developed as I wish she could have been. It almost feels like she does not even really need to change or grow because she has no faults. However, I cannot wait to see her perception of the boys change as they grow closer. I enjoyed that she was off-beat and quirky. Her family members were also great. I never thought about what a whole family of psychics would be like!
Stiefvater is a complete genius at crafting characters and plotlines that are fresh and different. I do feel like her books drag quite a bit though. It takes awhile to fully get immersed and I wish I could have been sucked in faster. But when I think back on the story, I can’t really figure out why it dragged.
I am excited to keep reading this series and see all the mysteries finally get solved!
Content Warnings: Includes strong language.