The Raven Boys by: Maggie Stiefvater – #1 in The Raven Cycle series!
AGE GROUP: 14 and up// GENRE: Fantasy// AMOUNT OF PAGES: 408// RATING: 3.5/5
Blue Sargent, daughter of a clairvoyant mother, has been told ever since she was little that if she kisses her true love, they will die. (Although that aspect of the book is repeatedly mentioned, it is not a primary plotline in this book.) Shortly after meeting the Raven Boys, consisting of Richard Gansey, Adam Parrish, Ronan Lynch, and Noah Czerny, Blue is instantly drawn into their whole world, which takes place in the fictional city of Henrietta, Virginia.
Gansey’s desire to recover the ancient Welsh king, Glendower, owing to a traumatizing event in Gansey’s past, only intensifies after a startling truth regarding one of the Raven Boys becomes revealed. As the book progresses, Blue, assisting Gansey (and the Raven Boys, who are helping as well) along in his obsession to find Glendower, becomes thoroughly absorbed in the thrilling and deeply intricate lives of the Raven Boys.
These characters… I love them so much!
Welcome back to anther review, (yeah, I know, I got another review written before another month went by… be proud!) and be prepared for me to gush about the characters in this book.
The premise of The Raven Boys just wasn’t for me. I didn’t find the main plotline appealing in the slightest. I was not interested in it. At. All. I know full well that a lot of the fantasy books that produce and sculpt a magical world, such as the realm of Faerie (although no author made up Faerie, for it’s been around in archaic literature for a while), derive from mythology. The whole concept of the quest to awaken the Welsh king, Glendower, was not for me; I found it highly bland and uninteresting (even though they did not find Glendower in this book). Not to point blame at anyone, or anything, but when I read the blurb on the back of the book, it tells a tale of literally subplots that go on in the book. Mostly, it led me to believe that this was another sappy fantasy/ romance novel; however, owing to the many acclaimed reviews that I read, I decided to give this book a go.
Also, I found part of the plot somewhat confusing. There was a lot of ritual talk and a ton of stuff about the ley lines, and ley lines confuse me on a whole other level.
The characters were what really got me through this book and are why I’m giving the whole series a chance. I rather hope the second book’s (The Dream Thieves) plot is as intriguing as its characters.
I. Cannot. Tell. You. How. Much. I. Love. These. Characters.
It is SO hard to find compelling, dynamic, and actually likeable characters (notice the plural) in YA fantasy. Nonetheless, Maggie Stiefvater created such a unique batch of characters and, honestly, if I continue to dislike the plot throughout the series, I will read solely for the characters. I’m very excited to see how each person develops and changes in this series!
Each character has their own personality which in itself is quite challenging (especially when you have many characters), and every character brings something different to the table — to the book. This last element is extremely important in any book, let alone a series, because when a character is not thoroughly contributing to the general atmosphere of the entire book, they are not relevant.
When it comes to characters having various personalities, One of Us Is Lying is a great example, because each character is fairly different; however, the purpose of that novel is that the students are very distinctive and each have their own personalities, their own backgrounds, and individual hobbies. Although One of Us Is Lying is not, in fact, fantasy, the characters are depicted to be very different from one another, which is something that should, indeed, appear in fantasy more often than it seems to.
Back to The Raven Boys… From the reviews that I’ve read about the second installment, I am beyond exhilarated to find out more about each person’s past and, just, to devour more pages about their personalities, because, man, the dialogue is GREAT!
Whenever I get to my ‘writing’ section of my review, I seem to find myself stuck. Once again, I cannot rant about how bad the author’s writing was because it probably didn’t suck, but I’m also unable to praise their writing skills. This is due to the fact that when reading YA (young adult), it is strangely hard to come across a remarkable writer. I would not say that Maggie Stiefvater is an extraordinarily great writer; nevertheless, the fact that she created such powerful characters shows where a lot of her writing strengths lie. Being able to write strong and fascinating characters is one of the most important aspects of being a writer, and, thankfully, Maggie Stiefvater has that down!!
I’m very pleased that I chose to read The Raven Boys, and I look forward to reading the next book in this series of four!