My Rating: ★★★☆☆
Date Started: 6/27 — Date Finished: 6/28
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Recommended for People Who Like: feeling like you’re best friends with 5 fictional characters, mysteries, dry humor, being confused a lot, minimal romance
Understatement of the year: the summary of this book. The blurb on the back of the book makes it sound like the plot is majorly focused on Blue’s love life and romance in general. It’s not. The romance takes a back seat to the sinister mystery that the characters discover.
This is the story of an unordinary friendship that is connected through a bizarre and paranormal mystery occurring in their little town of Henrietta, Virginia.
It all begins with Richard Gansey, a student at Aglionby Academy that is obsessed with an ancient Welsh King named Glendower. He believes that the king is still alive somewhere, buried underground. Gansey elicits the help of his three friends — Ronan, Adam, and Noah — to try and find Glendower, but they could have never have guessed how deep this mystery goes, or the number of supernatural events that would follow.
The last person of this magical friendship is Blue Sargent. Her entire life she has been told by psychics that if she ever kissed her true love, he would die. This had yet to be a problem for her — until her psychic mother tells her that this is the year she will fall in love. Not soon after, she is drawn to the dysfunctional group that is the Raven Boys (Gansey, Ronan, Noah, and Adam), and suddenly she’s pulled into their mystery of finding Glendower. The five friends have no idea what they’re getting into, but they’re the only ones that can unravel this mystery.
This book had a very slow start. The first 200 pages were basically just introducing you to the characters, their personalities, the setting, etc. This development does pay off in the end because you feel closer to all the characters, but at the time it was difficult to get into because I didn’t have a reason to care about the characters just yet.
Nothing really makes sense at first. One of the main characters, Gansey, is obsessed with ley lines… What’s a ley line you ask? Well, we don’t really get a definition. Stiefvater then proceeds to delve into facts about Welsh kings, ancient artifacts, historical events — a whole bunch of stuff that I really just didn’t care about, to be honest. It’s only until you make it through the first half of the book that you actually do, kinda, start to care.
I’ve read Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series which I loved, so I’m familiar with her writing. And it is really beautiful and lovely to read. But in The Raven Boys, I felt like she was overly descriptive at times, and a bit repetitive.
Once the Raven Boys and Blue get together, the book picks up from there.
I didn’t want to put it down because things just kept getting weirder and weirder. I was confused yet intrigued and kept wanting to know what the hell was going on. My jaw literally dropped several times throughout the second half the book. This book seriously does not make sense but in the best way possible, and I love it. Every time something was resolved, 100 more questions popped up, and I need the answers to all of them.
⦁Gansey: I absolutely loved Gansey. I loved his passion for something seemingly so mundane. He was so excited to talk about it, dedicated an entire notebook to his research — I think aspects like that from someone are so charming. Additionally, he is such a loyal friend. He is constantly putting their feelings first, thinking about how his actions affect them, etc.
⦁Adam: Yeah uh… I really didn’t like Adam. He comes from a home of abuse and struggles with money. Gansey’s family is rich, so he does not struggle with money. Yet Adam acts like Gansey being nice and a good friend is him treating Adam like a “charity”. Gansey can’t help that he comes from money, yet Adam always throws it in his face. It’s super annoying. For a character that didn’t want pity from anyone, that’s all I could feel about him.
⦁Noah: Noah is the cutest little almond joy ever. I loved him from the second we first see him. He’s a man of few words, a bit disheveled, and 100% lovable. I just want to give him a hug.
⦁Ronan: Ronan is the hot head of the group, isn’t doing well in school, and always fighting with his brother. I liked his dry humor and thought his dedication to the baby raven he found was so cute. I hope we get to see in his POV in the next book because I want more of his thoughts.
⦁Blue: Blue also annoyed me. She literally judges everyone for no reason. She likes Adam because he doesn’t seem like a “typical raven boy” (aka quiet and poor), and then snubs Gansey because he wears expensive clothes. She gets offended by everything he says, and even though it wasn’t offensive he’s still apologetic about it. As the group got closer, she did stop being as irritating, thankfully.
Overall, I struggled to get into this book. It was slow, I was bored. Stiefvater developed the characters really well, but without an interesting plot, I didn’t care much about them. But once the Raven Boys and Blue assembled, things started making sense (Well, as most sense as a radically strange plot could make). The mystery unraveled at a steady pace, and I was really intrigued and addicted to the story. I liked this book, and I will continue to read the series because now I’m invested!
“Adam was struck, as he occasionally was, by Gansey’s agelessness: an old man in a young body, or a young man in an old man’s life.”
“We have to be back in three hours,” Ronan said. “I just fed Chainsaw but she’ll need it again.”
“This,” Gansey replied, “is precisely why I didn’t want to have a baby with you.”
“A sapling grew out from under the car, wrapping around the front fender. The scene was reminiscent of old shipwrecks, ancient boats turned into coral reefs by the wiles of time.”
Then Gansey, suddenly charming again, flipped a hand in the direction of her purple tunic dress. “Lead the way, Eggplant.”
She had made it only a few steps when Neeve said to her back, “You’re looking for a god. Didn’t you suspect that there was also a devil?”