Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Raven Boys

Title/Author:  The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievfater.

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Supernatural.

Publisher: Scholastic.

Source: Received at BEA.

Favorite character: Blue and Adam.

All in all: I can't gush about this book enough. 

Synopsis: 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

My Thoughts:  Just how in the heck am I supposed to even begin to review this book?  I seriously just want to say it's 'effin awesome and leave it at that.  The end.  But the why''s because of...of's just's so awesome. 

Deep breath.  Okay, first of all it hooks you immediately with the female protagonist Blue's prophecy.  If she kisses her true love, he will die.  Yipes!!!  How friggin unfair is that???  I love Blue who is the only non-psychic in her family of psychics.  So I thought the whole story was going to be told in Blue's perspective.  Then you meet The Raven Boys and get some of their points of view as well.  Each with their own unique personality.  Gansey, the boy who is on a quest, is clever and dedicated, smart and loyal.  Adam, the boy from the poor side of the tracks is proud and honorable.  Noah is quite and sweet, just sweet.  And Ronan.  Ugh, I don't like him, yet he is sooo...real.  And truly, he is loyal too.  He makes me uncomfortable.  To be fair, he is probably the most well drawn character in the book. 

The characters are so real and well thought out.  They come alive.  They are alive.  More than alive.  I also really love how (most) of the parents are present and important in the young people's lives.  Blue and her mother are close.  Gansey gets along with and likes his father.  Unfortunately, my favorite Raven Boy, Adam, does not get along with his parents and combined with his situation in life, gives a lot of conflict and drama in the dynamics with his friends.  The layers of each boy and their relationship with each other is complex and layered.  A Psychologist's dream to puzzle out. 

Did you know I love Welsh mythology?  So I was thrilled when I came across this in the story.  Gansey is chasing a legend and this, combined with the fantastical elements, the dangerous ones, the scary ones and the surreal ones are clear and close to you as a reader and everything is believable.  There are a few plot lines running through this book, that intercept then take a few side steps making a rich, full saga that gives a glimmer of understanding. 

The writing is amazing.  The tiny details that make a character incredible.  The language used to create these people and this world is used in a way that I've never experienced. 

At the end not everything is resolved, but I felt that a lot happened to serve the story as it moves forward.  The book ended with a line that had people chirping on Twitter.  A mystery, a teaser, perhaps a revelation.

I tabbed so many pages in this book.  Either a quote, a bit of information that I loved or a tidbit I found important to the story.  I'm not taking these out either...ever.  And, I'm going to cherish this book.  It gets a special place of honor on my bookshelf.

Afterthoughts (contains spoilers):
With all the Welsh mythology, I almost felt that The Raven Boys mirrors the tale of King Arthur.  You have Gansey, who is King Arthur, seeking the holy grail.  Blue is Guinevere.  Adam could be Lancelot, and Ronan is Gawain...the fighter.  Or maybe even Merlin with the way he pulled the raven out of his dreams. 

I'm also a little upset at how Adam kind of changed at the end of the book.  I really want him and Blue to be together, but it looks like her and Gansey might be destined for each other.  Perhaps Adam and the decisions he made has led him to believe that his choices are now getting narrower. 


aparajita said...

there has been a lot of less than favorable reviews for this book....but your puts a new spin of it to thing....i might consider getting it to see what it is actually about.

nice review.

Le' Grande Codex

Julie@My5monkeys said...

Great review and I was thinking along those same lines too with welsh and agreeing that maybe you be right with the spoilers about the boys. I enjoyed Ronan :) I didn't see it that way with the ending..I felt like that they always have a choice.

Unknown said...

Really good review. I've never read Stievfater's work before, outside of a couple short stories. I might have to give this one a chance some time.

Karen said...

I haven't read anything by Stievfater yet but everyone always comments on how beautiful her writing is.

I need to just take the plunge but for some reason this book just doesn't grab my attention. I have no idea why but I'm going to go for it and let myself be surprised.

Midnyte Reader said...

@aparajita - 1st I saw only good reviews, then came across some not so good ones. But I personally loved it.

@Julie-I agree that everyone has a choice, but I think what I meant was that Adam may think he does not anymore.

@Rabid Fox - This was my first Maggie book.

@Karen-I kept putting off reading her books, but I was in a tiny slump and I finally read the synopsis. Then when I read the 1st few sentences I was hooked.

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

You have no idea how happy you loving this book makes me! It is definitely one of my favorite books of 2012, easily, and I've read some awesome books this year!

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Also, I love how you said Ronan made you feel uncomfortable. He is totally the Charlie Dalton in Dead Poet's Society, only angrier. I love him only slightly less than Gansey, which is quite a lot!

fakesteph said...

I'm team Gansey!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOO You did an AMAZING job reviewing this. Your first paragraph... exactly how I felt when writing my review. And Ronan... he's my favorite. I love them damaged and terrible.

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