Monday, December 2, 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love…or you killed him."

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 herself never sees them--not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is 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 has it all--family money, good looks, devotes friends--but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, 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 never thought this would be a problem. But ow, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we've never been before.

As excited as I was about Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys, I put off reading it for a long time. It took the book being the pick for book club for me to finally pick it up. And then I proceeded to start kicking myself for having waited to read the book for so long.

Despite living in a house filled with women with psychic powers, Blue has always had some doubts about it all. But when she sees the ghost of a boy on St. Mark's Eve, Blue isn't sure what to believe. Because if she sees this ghost, either he is her true love or he is someone she kills. Her whole life, Blue has been told she would cause her true love's death, so this boy may very well be both. When Blue meets Gansey, the boys whose ghost she saw, she realizes he isn't what she thought he was. With the help of his friends Adam, Ronan and Noah, Gansey has set out on an incredible quest. And he won't stop until he finds what he's looking for.

I'm not entirely sure why I put off reading The Raven Boys for so long. So many of my bookish friends has read the book, loved it and were raving about it to me, and still I wasn't reading it. It took my book club choosing The Raven Boys as our next read for me to finally pick it up off my bookshelf. And as I started reading, I started to understand why people loved the book and had been raving about it. The story itself kind of took me by surprise. I only had a vague idea what it was about when I started reading but it didn't take long for me to get completely caught up in the story. The world and mythology that Maggie Stiefvater created in The Raven Boys was incredible. Despite how fantastical it was, I couldn't help but believe it all. It just felt real and plausible to me. But not just that, I wanted to believe in it. I wanted to believe in Gansey's quest to find Glendower and I wanted to believe in the powers of Blue's family. And I wanted to believe in all that because that's the kind of writer Maggie Stiefvater is. She'll make you believe in the story she wrote, the world she created, and the characters that live in it. 

Maggie Stiefvater is a fantastic writer for many reasons, one of which is that she writes these characters that feel like real people that I could meet out on the street. Her characters are often what draw me in to the story, and it was definitely the case with The Raven Boys. I wanted to know how Blue and Gansey were connected, I wanted to find out more about Ronan and his family's past, I wanted to see if Adam would let someone help him, I wanted to know more about who Noah was. There was something about each of the characters in the story that completely intrigued me and spoke to my curious nature. There was just so much about them I wanted to know. And though I did get some answers in The Raven Boys, there's still so much more I want to know and I'm looking forward to getter those answers in future books. 

I can now say I understand why everyone loves Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys because I do too. This is a book that has so much working in its favour: fantastic characters, a magical world, and a captivating story. I can't wait to find out more when I finally get around to reading the sequel, The Dream Thieves.

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