Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:31 PM
Title: The Raven Boys 
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Pages: 408
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness.”
―Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

“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. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
As with every other Maggie Stiefvater book, The Raven Boys starts off slow. Stiefvater loves to ease into the story, allowing the characters and the setting to settle before the plot advances considerably. Despite the slow beginning, I really enjoyed the first half of the book. The characters were richly developed, as Stiefvater detailed all of their quirks and oddities. While I found some of the names a little over the top and somewhat distracting, (Blue? seriously? my fish is named Blue) the premise and magical elements were insanely wild. The characters kept me guessing and I found them endlessly entertaining, especially the raven boys.

After The Scorpio Races, I came to respect Stiefvater's writing and her boundless imagination (a pleasant surprise since I was not a fan of Shiver). With The Raven Boys, the reader is once again witness to Stiefvater's creativity.  There are seers, a wild-haired psychic named Persephone, ley lines and a corpse road. Rich boys who drive orange Camaros and take care of baby ravens. There's no end to the randomness, and I loved the little twists and the mystery. The Raven Boys was an adventure, and I enjoyed the unveiling of every secret. The setting was vividly detailed. The characters: fascinating. I couldn't help being sucked into this strange reality Stiefvater created.

While the romance is largely tied into the synopsis, there was actually very little romance in The Raven Boys. Of course, there were a few hints of romance, but nothing too serious. This actually worked for me because I found the characters intriguing enough without having them entangled in some love triangle or trying to work out their complicated feelings for each other. I'm sure that will come later, but I enjoyed their interactions so far.

While I loved the first half ofThe Raven Boys, the second half was a bit of a letdown. I kept waiting for something to happen, but the pace never really changed. There was very little action, and I began to lose interest. There were some startling revelations, but when they weren't predictable, they were disappointing and never fueled my interest. I still loved the characters, but they didn't get very far from beginning to end. The Raven Boys worked as an introduction to the Raven Cycle series, but I needed a little more substance. There was so much going on, and so many crazy developments thrown at me, but instead of working together, everything was just a tangled mess by the end. And the ending...I think it could have been better done. It was supposed to have a shocking effect, but it just fell flat for me.

I will definitely continue reading this series because I loved the raven boys. They were so adorable in a dorky way, and I found them much more interesting than stereotypical jocks or overused male leads. There was just something missing from The Raven Boys, and I hope the sequel has it.


  1. Sorry to hear the book fell a little short of your expectations. I loved it though, the ley lines phenomena is a fresh plot topic and I actually found the pace to be good. The beat is more literary fiction than YA fantasy IMHO. I hope the next one is better for you though. And I agree, this Raven Boys are truly adorable

    1. I agree that The Raven Boys had such a unique premise. Stiefvater is so creative. Thanks for stopping by! :D

  2. Replies
    1. You should. Especially if you've enjoyed her writing before. :)


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