Book Review + Giveaway: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

29 Oct

Book cover for The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle #1

Genre: Paranormal YA

Amazon | Goodreads

Publisher: Scholastic

Release date: September 19, 2012

Source: ARC from BEA

Summary: 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.

I’m not sure there are many other authors who are more definite must-reads for me than Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve at the very least really liked all of her books, and THE SCORPIO RACES is probably one of my favorite YAs ever. (No lie.) The second that I heard the synopsis of her newest book, THE RAVEN BOYS, the first book in a new series, I just about died. A vaguely paranormalish/fantasy story about a girl who’s cursed to kill her true love with a kiss?  A group of boys from a local private school, led by a magnetic rich boy, who are looking for ley lines in a search for an ancient king who is alleged to grant his finder a wish?! It sounded so…different and creepy that I KNEW I was going to grab it like it’s hot. And friends? WORTH IT.

I have to say, THE RAVEN BOYS is one of those books that grows on you. Or, well, it grew on me. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed it from the beginning, but as I was reading the first 100 pages or so I had that feeling where I knew I was reading a book that I was going to like, but it was taking its sweet time getting to the REALLY good parts. Maggie Stiefvater takes her time setting things up: Blue and her quirky family of women psychics (who are AWESOME); Gansey and his obsessive quest to find the resting place of the Welsh king, Glendower; the slow, sweet build between Blue and Adam, one of Gansey’s friends; the dynamic between Ronan (LOVE HIM SO MUCH), a troubled, rich youth with lots of secrets, and his brother; how Gansey is the undisputed charismatic leader of his band of raven boys, and how they meet Blue and absorb her into their hunt for Glendower. It was like going up to the big drop on a roller coaster. Slow and agonizing, but ultimately worth it.

One of the things I love about Maggie Stiefvater‘s books is that she takes something totally different–in this case, ley lines (natural and slightly spiritual lines connecting monuments and natural landmarks that are kind of like new-agey paranormal hotspots)–and creates this really atmospheric, foreboding story with great, complicated characters who all have varying levels of darkness in them. For real, THE RAVEN BOYS is not light or happy or cute. It’s intense and unsettling and incredibly emo, and there are so many elements in it that will tug your heartstrings. (RONAN. I need more of him.) It’s really very, VERY good.

The main action in THE RAVEN BOYS is the search for Glendower, and it is fraught with danger and death, friends, but it’s also complicated by Blue and her hard-to-describe psychic gifts. See, her mom and her aunts are all psychics. Blue, oddly, is not really. She’s more like an amplifier. As she spends more time with Gansey, Adam, and the boys, though, things start changing: She has visions and vibes and lots of other things I can’t spoil, partly because I don’t roll that way and partly because I have no effing clue myself. (Honestly, there is so much that is unexplained in THE RAVEN BOYS, but it’s so well done that it just leaves you wanting more.) Her visions make her budding relationship with Adam a little difficult, but I think Blue handles them pretty well, and in a very real way. I liked her lots, as I like most of Maggie’s girls. She’s smart and strong and very much herself. (Sorry. The New Agey stuff must have rubbed off a little bit.)

THE RAVEN BOYS is most definitely a book that sets the stage for whatever is to come. Don’t mistake me, though: there’s drama and danger in this book, and the end is pretty crazy and a little frightening. By the time the book was coming to the finish line, I was totally invested, if a little confused (the ley lines, guys. They required my thinking cap), and ready to read more. Because whatever the big thing is in this series is still to come, and I am completely intrigued. Not to mention in it to win it with Gansey and Blue, who aren’t together at all in THE RAVEN BOYS. Talk about slow build! Trust me: you’ll probably find yourself in their corner without even realizing that Maggie Stiefvater lead you there. She’s sneaky! And AWESOME.

So, because I love Maggie Stiefvater, and because THE RAVEN BOYS was pretty legit, and because it’s my ONE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY TODAY OMG, I’m giving away my very gently read ARC to one of you!! WOO  HOO!!

Win an ARC of THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater!!

  • Be at least 13 years old.
  • Live in the US or Canada–sorry rest of the world! 😦
  • Respond to my, “HEY! You won The Raven Boys! Do a happy dance!” email within 48 hours or someone else will be happy dancing instead.

The giveaway closes at 11:59 PM on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5!! Winner will be selected at random and emailed. 

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5 Responses to “Book Review + Giveaway: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. Bookworm1858 October 29, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Thanks for the chance to win this! I’m really excited to read the latest Stiefvater after admiring her previous writing.

  2. April Books & Wine October 30, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    UGHHH THIS SOUNDS GREAT! But I feel like I am not allowed to read it until I read The Scorpio Races hahahaha.

  3. picturemereading October 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    I really love Stiefvater’s book and I am looking forward to reading this one! Great review!

  4. Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks) October 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Maggie Stiefvater is an insta-read for me as well! I love the way she writes – it’s so beautiful, so atmospheric, so lovely. She’s certainly one of my writing inspirations. I enjoyed The Raven Boys as well, because it’s just so well-written and mysterious and… spooky, if I dare say.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Peace Out, 2012: End of Year Book Survey « - December 28, 2012

    […] The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. OK, so just BEAR WITH ME HERE. I still wound up really enjoying The Raven Boys. Honestly, I did. I’m invested. I’m more than ready for book number 2. I felt all the things, thought the end was gripping, and the whole book had this really boss mysterious atmosphere that was amazing. BUT. It was definitely a slow start for me, and even though I enjoyed the whole thing, it still left me with lots of questions, and sometimes things that I didn’t understand on the first read. Which isn’t always bad. So you know essentially what this is, putting The Raven Boys here? It’s me saying that I was waiting to be instantly sucked into this one like I was to The Scorpio Races, and I wasn’t. Don’t give up this one, though. You’d be missing out. […]

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