Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Look at her go; Reviewin' Reviewin': The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater

1st Book in the Raven Cycle Quartet


So I was in a reading slump. For the past week or so, my brain seemed to be way more interested in watching past cycles of America's Next Top Model than working its way through my To Be Read pile. Which means it took me TWO. WEEKS. To make my way through The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. That doesn't mean I wasn't completely enthralled by the story of this book, it just means that I was stuck on page 52 for a looooong time. Alas, I finally finished it last night, and I have to say I loved the way the story progressed and ultimately ended.

If you're unfamiliar with this brilliant first book in an eventual quartet, here's a bit of groundwork for you. We have Blue, the female protagonist, eccentric and strong, who is the daughter of a psychic, but has no psychic abilities of her own. Then there's Gansey, the privileged but not pretentious student at the nearby private school, Aglionby Academy, whose students are also known as Raven Boys. Gansey has around him a colorful cast of close friends; shy, smart Adam; rebellious and impulsive Ronan; and quiet, mysterious Noah. These boys are on the hunt for a Welsh king of myth, somewhere along their small town of Henrietta, Virginia's powerful energy lines (called Ley lines), which also allow Blue's mother's psychic abilities to be strengthened. When their stories collide with Blue's, things get really complicated, and there are brilliant twists as the plot unravels.

So there's a synopsis. If you haven't read the book, you can go and get it and then come back and discuss once you have. I rated this book 4/5 stars on goodreads, and only because it took me awhile to get into the action. I would say this is a definite must-read if you're looking for something a little different, a little weird, to throw into the mix.

Find this book on Goodreads


Guys. This is actually one of the most interesting books I've read in awhile. Even though I kept hearing good things about this series, I was putting it off because I really wasn't a fan of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, which is also by Maggie Stiefvater, but I saw The Raven Boys on sale the other week and decided to pick it up.

And I'm SO GLAD I did. The plot was so mysterious, the characters were engaging and I loved every single one of them (except Whelk and Neeve cause creepy), and I love the idea of the Welsh mythology and the sort of magical energy of the ley lines. I'm just going to bullet point some of my favorite and also some creepy and shocking parts/moments, and then talk quotes and sort of wrap up my overall thoughts. (e.g. I sort of forgot to start making notes until about page 270 so this kind of picks up in the middle)

  • First of all, the whole corpse road really freaked me out. Imagine knowing every single person in your town that would die in the next year, and then being like Blue and knowing you'd either fall in love with a doomed boy walking the road, or be the one to doom him? Freaky. 
  • I think one of the best characters was Penelope. I loved how she was so ethereal and graceful, and she just seemed like such a sweet person. Though secretive as well.
  • I had a hard time deciding if I liked Gansey or Adam better for the longest time. I liked Gansey's passion but not his carelessness, and I liked Adams sort of shy confidence but I hated how obsessive he was about never taking Gansey's help. (I decided Gansey at the end)
    • Also, I spent most of the book wishing Gansey and Blue would bond.
  • I wrote, when I was almost to page 300, "Noah must have a point. I'm waiting." Oh, past Sunny. How ignorant you were. 
  • I loved the scene with Helen in the helicopter, I just think Helen is such a cute character for Gansey to be able to lean on. 
  • You know what else freaked me out? Cabeswater. But it was also kind of cool, the trees speaking Latin and the wood becoming whatever you think it should be. 
    • ALSO. We never found out why Ronan's writing is in there. 
  • I loved the way Noah and Blue really formed a close friendship. It made my heart warm, especially in the end when he talked her into talking to his family at his funeral. 
  • Then there's this whole scene with Blue and Gansey at the church. I knew something big was going to happen, just because it was finally Blue and Gansey with some solo time, but I was NOT expecting the whole "Noah is a ghost" thing. 
    • First of all, when Gansey told the story about the hornets I was thinking "aw ok sad Czerney died so Gansey could live." But then I found out the whole truth and I was like "NOAH DIED SO GANSEY COULD LIVE?!?" and I thought it was going to hurt their friendship. I was glad when it didn't. 
    • This was my thought process as they found the skeleton
      • "ok, its gotta be Czerney."
      • NO WHAT ITS NOAH? Is it from the future?
      • Wait is Noah related to Czerney ++ they look scarily alike and have the same name?
      • Ok Noah is a ghost how unexpected (I seriously did not see that one coming)
  • Friggin' Whelk creeping me out the whole time. I had such problems with his poor little rich-turned-poor kid mindset. Its called moving on, Whelk. 
    • Then when he was stalking Gansey and holding him at gunpoint... that was a whole new sort of crazy. 
    • I wasn't all that surprised when we found out that Whelk had contacted Neeve birds of a feather and all that.
    • I was glad when he died. 
  • I loved it when Ronan punched Adam's dad and then Adam finally grew a set and moved out. 
  • The whole ending part sort of blew my mind, too. 
    • First we have Neeve kidnapping Whelk to wake the ley line herself.
    • Then there's Adam, trying to be all self-sacrificing and shit.
    • And Blue, Gansey and Ronan to the rescue. 
    • I really thought that, when Adam stepped into the pentagram, that he was dead. And maybe a part of him his, but I'm glad he's physically alive. 
  • Noah's funeral broke my heart, but I'm glad they put him back on the ley line. 
Favorite Character: Noah. I loved the way he was described as "smudgy" and then it was funny cause he's actually a ghost. And he was so sweet to Blue. 

  1. "Noah had decided immediately that he would do anything for Blue." p. 238
  2. "'Where there's a god, there's also a legion of devils.'" - Neeve p. 284 
  3. "But Gansey's words had somehow become unwitting weapons, and he didn't trust himself to not accidentally discharge them again." p. 352
  4. "There just wasn't a way that Adam would put Gansey in peril." p. 370
Overall Review/Reactions: Like I previously said, it takes awhile to get used to the writing style and the world that the book is set in, but once I settled in I could not stop reading. Everything about the plot is so intertwined and interesting, and I just wanted to know what was going to happen. The ley lines are such an interesting contribution, and I wonder if they're why Maura, Calla and Persephone can see specifics? I also love the elements of magic that are woven in, especially at the very end when Ronan says he pulled Chainsaw out of his dreams. I loved the banter between Blue and Gansey, and I'm anxious to see how their story ends up, especially with Gansey slated to die within the year. Also, I'd like to see the ramifications of Adam being the sacrifice to the ley line. Overall, this book was an intricately woven mystery, and it left a lot of hanging questions that leave me wanting the second book right away. I loved this book. 


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