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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

“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.

Released: September 18th 2012         Pages: 408
Publisher:Scholastic Press                 Source: Library
First Look: ***** Like many people who loved and adored The Scorpio Races, I went out and followed Maggie Stiefvater's blog.  Like everyone who reads her blog, I was excited when she announced this new novel, and showed us the cover.  And like everyone who saw that post, I waited eagerly for it to come out.  (And, okay, like not so many people, I went out and read Shiver and Linger, because I hadn't done that yet.)

And here my story deviates from the "like everyone else".  I read it soon after it came out.  I liked it, but...not as much as TSR.  Or even Shiver.  It's pretty good, but not as good as expected. 

Setting: *****
I liked some aspects of it, but not others.  I liked the feel of the town, and the interesting effects Aglionby had on it.  I got a good sense of what kind of place it was.

The actual location of it, though, had me confused.  It took awhile for the book to say where we were, so for whatever reason, my brain just went ahead and assumed this took place somewhere in England.  I don't know why, but it was a bit disorienting, then, to be told that we were actually in Virginia.  I'm not sure if this is my fault, or the author's. 

Characters: ***** I feel like I should separate this into two separate categories.  One category for Blue, and a separate one for the boys and everyone else.  Blue, for me, was hard to like.  I don't have any specific reason for this.  I couldn't connect with her, couldn't bring myself to care about her.  She didn't seem to do much.  It wasn't that she was passive, it just seemed like Gansey was making things happen in the story, not her. 

Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah were the reasons I still mainly enjoyed this book.  They kept the whole thing afloat.  They had wonderfully characterized, distinct personalities.  I think part of the reason they appeal to me is that they remind me so much of the boys from Dead Poets Society.*  The same boarding-school-angst thing, which is all too easy to overdo and mess up, but when done right I love it. 

Plot: ***** I  Three stars for this?  Four? I don't know. Again, the thing with Gansey's search for the ley lines and the mythical king dude (that is a highly technical term that historians everywhere would approve of) was fascinating, and I really enjoyed it.  The same with Adam's home troubles, and Noah's whole story.  In fact, when I read that That Thing About Noah That I Dare Not Mention For Fear Of Spoilers, I was downright shocked (in a good, plot-twisty way). 

Okay, for those of you who somehow managed to forget what's up with Noah or for those of you that are desperately curious, I'm referring to the fact that *spoiler ahead-highlight to read* Noah is actually dead. *end spoiler*  There you go.

But then there's the whole thing with Blue, and how her true love will die if she kisses him and the sketchy things Neeve is doing in the house.  I cared about this plotline much less, and it wasn't all that interesting to me.   

Uniqueness: ***** It was, indeed, fairly unique. I'm having trouble filling up my 'similar books' section.

Writing: *****
It didn't have the sparkly magical wonderfulness that was TSR.  I was kinda hoping for that, but *shrug* oh well.  The writing was pretty good, for me.  Nothing annoyed me or hindered my reading.  And there were a few lines here and there that made me go "Ooooh, cool!"

Likes: Gansey!  And Adam.

Not-so-great: What was the point of Chainsaw?  It was a bit cute, and a bit creepy, and I don't really understand why it was even in the book.

Overall: I have mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked the Aglionby boys--Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Ronan--I thought they made very interesting characters.  Their search for the ley lines was fascinating.  On the other hand, I couldn't connect to our main character, Blue.  I couldn't bring myself to like her all that much, and her side of the story interested me much less.  This is a definite 3.5 star read, but because of rounding it's getting bumped up to a four.

*If you don't know this by now, that is one of my all-time favorite movies. If not THE favorite, then maybe, top 3?   Somewhere around there.  It'll have to fight it out with The Princess Bride, August Rush, Bedtime Stories, all LOTR, and How to Train Your Dragon
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1 comment:

  1. I love Maggie Stiefvater and loved the Shiver series so much that I bought this book with no hesitation. I am currently 29% of the way through this book and I don't know if I can continue. So many different characters, plots, so much anger,'s very hard to follow and I'm not sure I like any of the characters enough to continue. I'm going to step away from it for a while and see if I can come back to it in the future. Fans of the Shiver series, think first before buying this one.

    Maycee Greene (Tony Lama Mens Boots)


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