Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys


Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release: September 18th 2012
Genre: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, YA
#1 in the Raven Cycle
Sequels: The Dream Thieves (#2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3), The Raven King (#4)



Plot:

“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.

Review:

Now, I can imagine The Raven Boys might not be everyone's cup of tea. But I liked it very much.

Characters
This book really has a bunch of characters and follows multiple storylines, since it is written in 3rd person after all. I can imagine this book might be a bit tough if you only read a chapter a day or every two days, since you may not be able to connect every name to a face then. That's a bit disappointing, but wasn't a problem for me, as I had read it in basically one sitting.

The heroine, Blue, was very easy to like and nice enough, but she wasn't a very powerful, striking and badass character like, say, Tris from Divergent or Alina from Shadow and Bone . However, she was no bitch or someone I had a big problem with, so she wasn't a negative point to the book, either. I liked her well enough.

The main hero is Gansey, this wealthy and smart kid who has it all. But thankfully, he's not the rich-guy-stereotype and I really, really loved this air of "oldness" about him, that he had a lot of experience. (view spoiler) His determination and motives to leave a mark on this world were admirable and inspiring, as well as something I think a lot of people can relate to, plus, he was very different from the usual guy/love interest archetype we meet in YA nowadays. He's more reserved and mature, as well as being extremely charismatic and still battling his own internal struggles. He was a very fleshed out character

Then we have Gansey's clique, Noah, Adam and Ronan. Ronan is the literal bad boy character here, always skipping school and getting into fights. I don't know what exactly intrigued me so about him, but he was a very interesting character and I liked his diversity. Ronan was mysterious while not being clich├ęd and I look forward to getting to know more about him in the next books. Now, Noah was very sideline-y and he was cute. There is something about him, and you find out what at the end of the book. I liked Adam least of all, I don't know why but I'm just very suspicious of him. He's a little too nice and too ambitious.

We then have some minor characters, like Blue's mom and her best friends, which didn't leave a huge impression, but were likeable as well and were a nice addition to the big mass of characters in this book. Whelk and Neeve leave the same sense of suspicion as Adam, as the latter is so secretive about everything and yeah, Whelk is self-explanatory.

Plot
Ah, this was a fresh breath of air. I haven't ever read a book that was anything like this one. The plot may be a little confusing to some and I myself didn't really know what I signed onto when I bought this book and began reading it, but after a few pages I was intrigued enough to read on. Now, I do admit this book really has a lot of build-up until the characters finally all meet up and form one group and the real action starts, which may lead to a lot of people dropping the book early on. But I think it's worth going on, since it is, like I said, very interesting and just something different from the rest of YA nowadays. No angels, vampires, werewolves, but still something supernatural, I really liked that.

Structure
Now, like I said, it has a lot of build-up and I have to admit, the structure isn't so clear in this book. It did have something that felt like a climax, but the balance of it all wasn't that good. The "introduction" was a little too drawn out, which was already the problem with Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. After that, the book is still moving quite slow throughout the whole book and the pace doesn't pick up that often, unfortunately. Readers who need to have quick pacing probably aren't going to like The Raven Boys.

All in all, even though the structure was a bit messy, the story really fascinated me and the characters are basically making this book. Because of the sheer mass of them, there's always a character that you can learn something new about every few pages and they're the ones who really set the pace in this book. The plot itself doesn't move forward that much in this first installment, it's really the characters that have to grip you for this one, I'd say. They did for me. And I am very much looking forward to the next one, and I hope the plot will be a little more capable of standing out on its own then.

2 comments:

  1. Just to let you know, you are now one of my idols. I remember that you were the youtuber who had the same taste in music as myself. It didn't take me long to read your video descriptions to see that you had read my favorite book series. Your account disappeared, and so did your imprint on my mind. That was, until I had found your new account a few months back. Now I have stumbled upon your breath taking blog. You truly are an inspiration to me, the little amateur wanna-be author who sits at the only desktop in the house 24-7 wishing they could do something more than indulge in yet more fandoms. Also, I'm team Noah all-the-way (unless you talk in the shipping way, because BlueXGansey is definitely the best couple in the whole novel.)

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    1. That really means the world to me. <3 Thank you so, so much. *__*

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