25 May 2016

The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

"I've never told you to do anything before, Blue.  But I'm telling you now.  Stay away from them."

Blue is not your typical teenage girl.  Though she has not been given the gift of sight like her mother and her aunt (and the others she lives with), she has the unique ability to make their gifts stronger when she's around.  So when she's helping her mother in the annual walk of the soon to be dead along the corpse road and her mother tells her to get a young man's name before he passes by, things get... complicated.

The Raven Boys is unlike anything I've ever read.  Though I haven't had time to research ley lines to see what the truth, or at least urban lore, is about them, it certainly feels like something that someone could believe in.  Especially someones like Gansey, Adam, and Ronan.  All four characters (including Blue) are well developed and feel wholly realistic, as if they could be real people you meet on the street and not just fictional stereotypes of cliches.  Except maybe Gansey.  I doubt someone who can charter his own helicopter is going to be bumpy shoulders with you on the street.  But you might pass him by on the side of the road where his old classic piece of crap car has broken down.

While the novel seems to revolve around the prophecy that Blue will kill the man she loves when she kisses him, the novel isn't too heavily centered on romance, though it is certainly there as an undertone (and even exists as a bit of a love triangle, bleh).  This novel is more about the possibility of what if, of things we can't explain and don't fully understand.  It's also about trying to reach your dreams, and just how far you're willing to go to get them, and to make a different or better life for yourself.

Blue can be a bit annoying of a character at times, true enough.  The fact that her mother tells her to stay away from the raven boys, worried about her safety, Blue immediately decides on a bit of teenage rebellion and decides to start spending all of her time with them.  Not very original.  But even if you can't relate to Blue, there's probably at least one character in this novel, if not more, that you'll relate to on some level.  I relate with both Gansey (in not understanding most social contexts at all) and Adam (in trying to break out of the life seemed destined before you, but by making it on your own and not out of charity from others).

The Raven Boys is engaging and has more than a few plot twists that aren't completely predictable.  It also leaves enough to be explored and discovered with characters that you don't mind following into their next adventure.  I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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