Book Review: The Raven Boys

Posted March 19, 2015 by Kara in book review / 10 Comments

Book Review: The Raven BoysThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic on September 18th, 2012
Genres: paranormal, young adult
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

“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, devoted 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 now, 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.

This is probably going to be a short review because I’m not sure there’s much I can say that hasn’t already been said about The Raven Boys. While it didn’t fully meet my expectations, it was enamored by it all the same. I love these characters so, so much and I am excited to be part of their lives.

I guess I’ll start with the painfully obvious (if you’ve been following this saga on twitter): It took me over a month to read this book. Interestingly, it only took me three days to read the final 200 pages. I honestly almost put it down for good at that point, but some friends gave me the push I needed to get going. I’m glad they did! I was just 10 or 15 pages from the the real “start” of the book. It took so long to get there, though. The pacing was just unbearable slow in the first half. I really liked the characters, but that was almost not enough to keep me slogging through.

Another thing I kind of “disliked” was the writing – but only sometimes. Mostly, it was gorgeous and touched on details you wouldn’t normally think to focus on. However, there was quite a lot of telling about the emotions of the characters. Everyone always “seemed to” be things/think things/feels things. “Seemed” was a word that showed up far too often. Also, things just “started” to happen. It was so passive to the point of grinding the story to a halt. I can’t help but think that this book would have read so much faster if the language had been more active.

Now, it’s so rare when a book can make me feel the way The Raven Boys made me feel.  Just, the way these characters loved each other. Reading it just hurt. A good kind of hurt, but painful all the same. I felt so protective and so apprehensive. I mean, so many of my friends have read this series and they basically FREAK OUT about it, so of course I’m scared for all the character. Honestly, I cannot handle anything bad happening to a single one of them. The closeness I felt to the characters is the kind of closeness that’s usually formed after reading a multiple-book series over a period of years. But before page 100 hit, I was already upset and I loved them so much. There just aren’t words for this kind of feeling.

Things about certain characters under the spoiler cut: View Spoiler »

So, I’m not going to spend any more time on this review because I’m just ready to dive into The Dream Thieves right this second. I loved The Raven Boys, I did, despite the lowered rating because of the passive writing and slow pacing. If it came down to the characters alone, it’d be five stars all the way. If you haven’t read this book yet: believe the hype! Do yourself a huge favor and grab yourself a copy!


10 responses to “Book Review: The Raven Boys

  1. Great review. This is one of those books that I’m just not convinced is for me. Mainly because of the same problems you had. I cannot read books that are slow moving. I need action, adventure, something to keep me interested. Otherwise, I put the book down and move on.
    Kristin recently posted…My first BloggiestaMy Profile

    • The book *does* take a while to get moving… 200 pages, in fact. But once you get there, you care so much about the characters that you can’t stop turning the pages to make sure they’re okay.

  2. I am SO with you on this review!! I felt like the book didn’t really “start” for me until over halfway through. I almost stopped reading it as well, but then I got so into it when it hit that magical point. I’ve read Dream Thieves too, but not Blue Lily yet. My book club told me about the ship that you mentioned in your spoiler, and I have to admit that whole thing went completely over my head. I didn’t see any romantic interest between them!! I’m still puzzling over it… and thinking about a reread soon to figure it out!
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…New Books Out Week of 3/15My Profile

    • I’m definitely wondering if I’ve let my friends color my judgment about that ship. I went into the book expecting it so I immediately saw it. Maybe it wouldn’t have been that way if I had read it “blind.” Who knows? But yes! You should definitely reread and give it another look – there is a LOT of subtext there.

  3. I LOVE the characters in this series. I could go on and on about them. It took me forever to get through The Dream Thieves. I haven’t read Blue Lily, Lily Blue yet because I’m scared something bad is going to happen. I need to get over my fears and read it already. I love Maggie’s writing, but sometimes it gets so wordy and descriptive that the action stops.
    Sandra recently posted…Review: Remember by Eileen CookMy Profile

    • Yeah I’ve noticed that’s the case with all the books by her that I’ve read so far. I loved it in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, but the other books… not so much. I mean, the characters in this one really make up for it, but the writing was slow all the same.

  4. Jenny

    I don’t even remember this one having a slow start but the second book did and I had to put it down. I hope if you jump right into it you can keep the momentum going.

  5. A friend of mine had a hard time with this one too – she felt there was nothing much going on and it bugged her. I’m glad you plowed through and finished this one though and I’m doubly glad that it got you in the feels as much as it did me! It’s definitely a really unique kind of read, more like a book you read for the journey rather than the destination. You can’t help but fall in love with ALL the characters though ♥ Gah! Yeah the big reveal for Adam BLEW ME AWAY. AND OMG YES R+A for EVER!! I hope you ADORE Dream Thieves as much as I did 😀 Awesome review^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter MotW #82My Profile

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