Oct 12, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: September 18, 2012
Pages/Format: 409, Hardcover

“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.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: ...What?

I don't even know where to start. When I post this review elsewhere, I don't know how many stars to rate it. Do you ever read a book that's good and you can't find much wrong about it, but you don't love it or hate it? It's not even just okay; it's just...something. For me, I think The Raven Boys is one of those books.

I had very few issues with this book, so that isn't really the problem. I don't even think hype hurt it; there was just something about the book that didn't work for me. There was dialogue that started with "He said..." instead of ending with "...He said," which isn't really a big deal, but when it's constant it kind of bugs me. Also, I noticed some word overusage. For instance, "pregnant." It was used a few times, and not in the way of a baby, so I noticed it. And I wouldn't knock the book down for this, but I don't think I've read a finished copy before with so many errors. (Like missing words, letters, wrong words, etc.) Didn't anybody read this before it went to the printer?

One thing I did like was the eclectic cast of characters. There's Blue Sargent, who lives in a house full of psychics but isn't one herself (though she's kind of like an amplifier). And she's kind of cursed to kill her true love. (So, there's a major lack of kissing in this book. Sigh.) She befriends the raven boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. What was great about the raven boys--besides my liking them--was that they were each their own character and person. I think Gansey and Adam were my favorites, and I think I ship Adam with Blue. I think.

Multiple POVs can be a problem for me. If it's not done well, I can get bored. That said, Stiefvater did it pretty well. They were varied enough that I rarely got very bored, and the one POV I cared for least of all wasn't the POV for long, so it worked. The writing itself was fine, though I didn't find it spectacular. (But it wasn't bad. Better than okay and average.) The only other books of Stiefvater's I've read was The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, and I think I liked that much more. The writing and feels were stronger, and I also think I like that genre more.

The story and plot itself was...interesting. Going into the book, I'm not sure I quite knew what it was about or what to expect. For quite a few beginning chapters (and throughout the book as well, but not as much as in the beginning), I was really lost. I didn't understand what was going on or why and it just made no sense. I'm still kind of lost on a few things, though it did make more sense as I kept reading. Also, I did read and peek ahead...kind of a lot. But really, that's just related more to my lack of self control and patience with books lately. However, though it took me a while to read this, I did enjoy reading it. It was somewhat fast-paced and I liked reading it.

In the end...you know, I just don't know. It's kind of like Shadow and Bone: not a genre I read a lot of, but the book had few errors and I just didn't love it. I just don't quite know what to say. But I will say this: after The Raven Boys's ending, I will be going (and have already gone, actually) to start The Dream Thieves to figure out what the hell that ending meant. (I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger, but I wonder how I would've felt if I read that when The Dream Thieves wasn't released.)

Did I like it? Yes...
Did I love it? I don't think so.
Would I reread it? Maybe.
Would I purchase it? Already have it.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of Maggie Stiefvater (and even those who aren't); people looking for a different fantasy; those who have a thing for Glendower.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with your review, The Raven Boys is the sort of book it's hard to rate because there was so much going on. I actually wish that I could rate the book by each individual character because I loved Gansey but Adam was not a favorite of mine. Can't wait to see what you think of The Dream Thieves!

    Emily @ Falling For YA


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