Release Date: 09/18/12
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
“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.
My thoughts on the book:
The Raven Boys is my first novel by Stiefvater, and I adored it! The characters are well-developed (though the names are kind of weird), the plot is original, and the writing is top notch. If you're looking for a unique YA paranormal novel with a bit of mystery and romance thrown in, look no further.
The characters blew me away. They each have their own unique and strong voice from the very beginning. Each character has a very distinct personality, and I enjoyed learning about all of them, even the ones I didn't like. I loved Blue. She was quirky, tough (but not bratty), and fun. She did what she thought was right, and she stood up for herself and those she cared about. She offered people support instead of the other way around. She wasn't some simpering miss waiting on some man to save her, and she didn't fall in love after knowing a guy for two seconds. More YA female leads should be like her.
I also LOVED Gansey. He's one of my favorite male leads ever because he's just so eccentric (you know rich people are eccentric while the rest of us are just plain crazy, haha). He has so many weird personality traits, but they all just suited him. Nothing seemed forced or like Stiefvater was trying to make him unique... he just was unique. I also liked his vocabulary. He is a bit of a dork and socially awkward as they come. I. love. him.
I also adored Noah, though I'm not sure why. I'm not saying that he's unlikable, just that he didn't say much. We didn't get to see much of his personality at all, but what I saw from him, I really liked. He seems like a good guy, and I hope we get to learn more about him in future installments.
I'm not 100% sure about Ronan. He intrigues me, but at the same time, I don't trust him. I'm looking forward to unraveling his secrets, but I don't know if I'll be his biggest fan any time soon. Time will tell, I suppose.
While I liked the majority of the characters, there were some that I didn't like. Adam, for instance, really got on my nerves. He's such a little bitch. "Oh woe is me. People have money and I'm poor. Instead of accepting help like a normal person would, I'm going to be extremely prideful and make stupid decisions." He seriously needs to deal with his jealousy issues STAT because he's angsty and obnoxious and yuck.
The secondary characters are also well-developed and believable. Maura, Blue's mom, is one of those laid back, hippy type moms. It's probably because she's a psychic. She is, at least, present in Blue's life and not MIA for the entire novel. Calla and Persephone are also interesting characters that I hope we get to learn more about in future novels. Neeve and Whelk weren't the most likable two, but they were unique.
The POV's switch from character to character, but I always knew whose head we were in. The POV is third person limited, but Stiefvater, like Austen, switches the narrator's voice to match the person we are following. It's almost as if Stiefvater is doing her own style of free indirect discourse (again, like Austen) with this novel. Since I've never read Shiver, or any of Stiefvater's other books, I can only assume that this is her normal writing style.
The mystery would have kept me reading the entire time had some inconsiderate review on Good Reads not spoiled the entire book for me. She posted just one sentence as a review (the review was toward the top, so I accidentally read it when I was reading the synopsis) with a spoiler that could have ruined the whole book for me because it told me the guilty party. However, there were enough other twists and turns in the plot that I was still enthralled with this novel and could not put it down. That's a huge accomplishment within itself. Once a book gets spoiled for me, it's very rare that I finish it, but in this case, there was enough other stuff going on that I was still able to.
As far as romance goes, there's not a lot of it in this book. There are hints to maybe future relationships, but nothing solid yet. I think this novel was mostly about building the world of the raven boys, and the world is fascinating and unique. I haven't read anything quite like this book, and it's very rare that something fresh and new is released in the YA market. The book ended on a cliffhanger, and while I hated that, it didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the sequel any. I just wish the sequel would be released now (even though the first book isn't even out yet, haha)!
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone. Stiefvater fans are sure to be pleased with it, and people who were previously unfamiliar with her work (like me) will enjoy the book as well.
Pre-order The Raven Boys today!