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.
I haven’t read any Maggie Stiefvater before. It’s wonderful when you discover a new author.
Why I enjoyed The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle#1):
1. Great Characters
2. Interesting premise – Blue’s kisses will kill off her true love.
3. Clairvoyants, spirits, magic, ley lines.
4 A Quest to find Owen Glendower, The Raven King.
5. Maggie Stiefvater uses foreshadowing very successfully, particularly with regard to Noah.
6. There’s a well kept journal that wants! Loved the idea of this! With its very own shape doodle.
Tip: I did find Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style took a while to get into, but when I did I really enjoyed The Raven Boys. This is a series, there is Book two to look forward to in this quartet: The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2.)
The Raven Boys is set in Henrietta, Virginia, a “town known for its ravens.” 94
Blue Sargent has been warned off kissing her true love as one single kiss will seal his fate, and believe you me his fate ain’t nice, one kiss and then he’s a goner. No more kissing, no more breathing, just dead. Quite a powerful premise, a mighty hook, but does the novel take you down this kissing, route to death path? Read and find out!
Blue joins in the church watch, on St Mark’s eve, April 24th, with Neeve, her half aunt who happens to be a famous TV psychic. Blue normally goes with her mother but this time she finds herself having a bit of a weird moment, on this particular St Mark’s eve she sees the spirit of a young man:
“He was so real. When it finally happened, when she finally saw him, it didn’t feel like magic at all. It felt like looking into the grave and seeing it look back at her.” 15
There are a wonderful array of interesting characters to engage with in this novel. This is partly because Blue doesn’t live in your typical household, Blue lives in 300 Fox Way, a clairvoyant household with her mum Maura and her psychic aunts, Calla and Persephone.
There are several Raven boys to take a pick from! I know I have my favourites, I’m sure you will too!
There’s Gansey (Blue initially calls him President Cell Phone).
“Gansey was the boy she either killed or fell in love with. Or both.”
The Raven Boys aren’t quite your usual boy next door type: “There was something odd and complicated about all of these boys, Blue thought – odd and complicated in the way that the journal was odd and complicated.”
Then there’s Adam, who isn’t a rich kid like the others:
“Success meant nothing to Adam if he hadn’t done it for himself.” 132.
Adam has a difficult home life, and he’s trying to rise above his problems but there’s always this chip on his shoulder which he can’t quite shake off. Adam’s home life is certainly no cake walk, I really felt sorry for him.
As well as Gansey and Adam there are two brothers Declan and Ronan Lynch, who have been “at odds for as long as Adam had known them.”
Gansey prefers the company of Ronan and I have to agree I prefer Ronan too!
“Adam suspected Gansey’s preference was because Ronan was earnest even if he was horrible, and with Gansey, honesty was golden.”
There is a villainous side to Ronan but he’s not your stereotypical villian with just one side to his character. He also has a kind, unexpected side, which is demonstrated by his care and attention to a tiny foundling raven :
“You look like a super villain with your familiar,” Adam said. Ronan’s smile cut his face, but he looked kinder than Blue had ever seen him, like the raven in his hand was his heart, finally laid bare.”
More about the mighty raven:
“The raven was Glendowers bird.”
“Legend had it that Glendower could speak to ravens, and vice versa.”
Then there’s Noah who’s the less detailed out of all the Raven Boys, he’s a bit grey round the edges, but there’s a good reason for that.
My favourites out of the boys are Adam, Ronan, and Gansey. I reckon Ronan is going to get very interesting in book 2 – my intuition is telling me! Okay, maybe intuition with a bit of help, the last line of the novel kind of hints that this is the way the series develops.
On top of clairvoyancy, readings, spirits, there’s a four year quest, to find Owen Glendower, The Raven King. But the Raven Boys are not the only ones searching for Glendower, a young man comes for a reading with Blue’s psychic mother, Maura, Calla and Persephone.
As well as all the wacky aunts, we have a very special journal:
“More than anything, the journal wanted.” 84
The Journal is about ley lines and all manner of other details – “invisible energy lines that connected spiritual places ” Glendower, sleeping knights, “sacrificed kings, ancient water goddesses and all of the old things that ravens represented.
The adventure starts to step up a notch when Helen, Gansey’s sister, a helicopter pilot takes them exploring. Blue goes along and directs them to the church on the ley line. They fly over a shape in the overgrown grass that resembles a raven.
Gansey: “If they removed Glendower from the corpse road, I think the magic that keeps him asleep would be disrupted.”215 She said, ‘Basically, you mean he would die for good if he was removed from the line.”
All manner of incredible things happen, but not to spoil it for you by saying too much.
Would I recommend reading the Raven Boys? Absolutely. Highly recommended for readers of Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance, Supernatural, Mystery.
If you would like a Recap of the book, I found this excellent site, but beware as there are spoilers: http://recaptains.co.uk/2013/09/the-raven-boys-by-maggie-stiefvater/
In short, Recaptains is a blog dedicated to spoiling books on purpose. Written by none other than Maggie Stiefvater herself!
Have you read The Raven Boys? Do comment, I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite writers, ever. She’s who I want to be when I grow up. Even her YA werewolf series is beautiful and poignant, and a very different take on the subject. The Scorpio Races is what convinced me she was a writer beyond the norm. THAT is a powerful, dark, and beautiful book. And what to say about The Raven Boys. I started out thinking I didn’t like those boys so much, and ended up loving them dearly. Loved Blue from the get-go. Oh, this story makes my heart hurt!! Especially Gansey. He’s just beautiful. I have the most recent book, “Blue Lily, Lily Blue,” on my shelf, waiting for me to find time when NO ONE will dare interrupt me, as I lose myself in the story. Maybe during my enforced 6-week foot surgery recovery. That should be a good time.
If you loved the first book, you’ll love the second one even more, I predict. Her writing is second to none, and her characters live in your heart forever. Great review!
Hi Marcia. Thanks so much for your comment on my review, and your thoughts on The Raven Boys. Yes, I am glad I picked up The Raven Boys, my daughter is always such a good source of YA books! She was away at University and I sneaked her copy of her bookshelf. She told me off a bit for reading it before her, she has a system of one bookshelf for her TBR books and another bookshelf for books she’s already read. I was a bit naughty and sneaked it off her TBR pile. Still she’s forgiven me, and is looking forward to reading this herself. I’m certainly going to continue with this series, and I think you’re right I sense, (call it intuition) that I’ll enjoy the second book even more. 🙂
When you’re caught up with this one, you MUST read The Scorpio Races, about the legend of the water horses. The characters of Puck and Sean Kendrick are forever in my heart. And the fearsome, majestic water horses…I’d use the Irish term, but can’t remember how to spell it, haha…well, they take your breath away. Terrifying creatures, for the most part, but not to Sean Kendrick. LOVELY story. Hope you enjoy all of her work. (BTW, I couldn’t think of it earlier, but the werewolve series is called The Wolves of Mercy Falls, I think. It’s not as powerful as Scorpio and Ravens, but it is touching and beautiful in its own way, and an unusual premise for the wolves. I enjoyed it enough to look for more of her work, but Scorpio Races made me a fan for life, and the Raven Boys was icing on that cake. 🙂
Thanks for the reading recommendations, yes The Scorpio Races sounds intriguing, I’d probably read that before the werewolf series, in general I’m not such a fan of half dead creatures: werewolves, but I prefer vampires!
Oh, and Marcia sorry to hear you’re going for foot surgery, all the best, on the plus side it will give you an enforced time for reading. I used the time after my Gallbladder operation last autumn to read and write up posts on my blog!
Thanks so much! I do plan to catch up on some reading, for sure. But I bought an Asus tablet, and have set up a work area around the Comfy Chair, where I’ll be forced to spend the first two weeks with my foot elevated on many pillows to prevent swelling. They’ll be inserting a steel pin, after shortening a bone, and keeping the swelling down is critical. I had my right foot done 7 years ago, and have been putting this one off ever since, because I dreaded the LONG recovery time. It will be a good 5 or 6 weeks before I’ll be able to walk, so after the first 2, I’ll be moving into wheelchair mode, and then gradually crutches. It’s not a horrible thing, but it takes you out of commission for a long time. 🙁 BUT, afterward, I might actually be able to walk pain free again. That would be good! 😀
With the tablet, I can do my blogging and even get going on my next book, too, without needing to be at my desk. I’m excited about that, too. Best thing? No running to the grocery story for weeks and weeks. Hehehe.
Oh, sounds like you’re going to be in the wars. I know what it’s like not to be able to walk for a while as I broke my foot several years ago, and ended up on crutches, and in one of those special boots. So sympathies that is very difficult. Though, it will be worth it afterwards if you are able to walk without pain. Yes, good idea get someone to spoil you, and do all your chores, that’s the only good part about being out of action for a while!!!
Ronan DOES get very interesting in book two – in fact, he’s become my favorite Raven Boy! I loooove this series. Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is so beautiful, and her characters feel so real, and OMG THE PLOT TWISTS. I am jealous of her talents. 🙂
Yes, her characters are really wonderful, I wish I could crawl into her head and stay there, and write with her head on my shoulders! Poor Maggie everybody wants to steal her brain. Really looking forward to reading more Ronan. Most definitely. 🙂
I loved how wonderfully detailed this review was! I have been wanting to read this book for a while and actually have it on my TBR as well. It seems like the characters are well done, as are the elements of fantasy in such a way that you really can’t stop reading! I hope you love the sequel just as much.
Check out my book haul post: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/06/book-haul-5-part-1-i-think-i-won-world.html
Thank you so much Olivia for your lovely comment, appreciate it. Yes I’m looking forward to the sequel, and thank you for the link to your book haul post, will take a look. 🙂