Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

         The Raven Boys

     Author: Maggie Stiefvater
  Publisher: Scholastic Press
  Length: 408 Pages
  Paperback ARC, via giveaway
  Rating:4.25 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

            "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 theShiver 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.


My Review:

          I have a lot to say about this book, so I'll just jump right on in. 

           The Raven Boys.

          Me oh my, this is quite the roller-coaster ride. The cool thing about it is, though, that despite it being a roller-coaster, it's definitely a smooth ride. This kind of leads into my first point: pace. Stiefvater sets an excellent pace that forces you to patiently wait for new information, yet never makes you writhe in anticipation for too long in between major plot points. I will say, though, that the beginning was a bit slow; it wasn't until around chapter 4 or 5 that I started to really appreciate the flow of the story.

           So, if you've had the chance to read even just the first chapter of The Raven Boys, you know that the writing is definitely unique. Right off the bat, I noticed how much it resembled Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Not only do the two of them use third person, but the writing itself is a bit more intelligent. The words aren't difficult, but they are definitely used as literary weapons. By that I mean that, at least to me, there's a lot of appeal in a book that sounds smart without bogging you down with unnecessarily obscure words. If you liked the writing in Graceling, you're sure to love it.

           World building. Steifvater has a superb talent to describe exactly what's happening. My one complaint though, (and this is not at all a big thing, just a preference), is that I wish there had been more description for places in between the main settings. Personally,  I like to be able picture as much as possible, but some of you may disagree. Either way, rest assured that the most essential settings are laid out in great details that come to life in your imagination. The devil's definitely in these outstanding details.

           The characters. I've thought about this for quite some time, but I've decided with certainty that the characters are my favorite aspect of this book. Stiefvater allows you to 'know' them the minute they're introduced. Their mannerisms, their manner of speaking, their physical description-- she combines these three elements so flawlessly that they become real. I honestly believe that you could meet any and all of the characters in real life, they're so impeccably believable. They have real flaws and real motivations-- two things that many young adult characters lack. Sure, most characters want something, but it takes a great writer to show exactly what they want and how wanting such things affects what they say and do. 

Whoosh, that was a rant. Moving on.

          The book follows four of the main characters: Blue, Gansey, Adam and Barrington Whelk. My favorite character, I'd have to say, is Gansey. Normally I prefer to read through the perspective of a female, but something about Gansey is just so darn fascinating. Obviously, because the novel is written in third person, you're not placed directly in his head. I think this fact only contributes to the enigma that is Gansey; you're given just enough to be hooked, but not enough to give everything away. 

           The last thing I want to cover is romance. If you read the synopsis and assumed the entire book would be about how a girl can't kiss her boyfriend, you are, thankfully, incorrect. In fact, there's very little romance in this first book and the romance isn't even the one hinted to in the synopsis. This, my friends, is a nice dose of reality. Blue, arguably the 'main' character of the four mentioned above, keeps a level head throughout the entire book. She doesn't fall head over heels with any of the boys, but rather reacts just the way a normal person would: with interest. Interest, to me, is stronger than insta-love. It's this slow, gradual build up that makes the eventual romance that much more "YES" inducing.

 Okay, I'm just about done.

            If you're at all interested in a maturely written story full of mystery and spectacular characters,  I strongly encourage you to go buy The Raven Boys. It's a refreshing new young adult novel that takes you on a completely original adventure. I will most definitely be purchasing the rest of series as they release.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review! I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!

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