Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #2)
By: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: September 18, 2012
Published by: Scholastic Press

Description: “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: I was hesitant to pick up this book by Maggie Steifvater, considering how I feel about both of her other series'. Most of her books seem a bit too slow for me. They focus a lot on the descriptions and it often takes me a long time to get into the story. The same is true for The Raven Boys, though I must say, I did enjoy it. I picked it up from my library in audiobook format and the narrator made it a lot more interesting than I would have experienced had I read the actual hardback version.

Told in third person, The Raven Boys follows the characters of Blue, and "her raven boys" from Aglionby: Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. Together, they seek to uncover the secrets of of the ley lines in Henrietta, a task that becomes more and more dangerous as their lives begin to twine closer and closer together. (I'm making this completely non spoilery, since the best part about this book is learning the secrets and details of the mystery as the characters do)

Initially, I wasn't at all interested in the story. I was bored by it. It lulled me to sleep on my bus ride into work one morning, and I had to force myself to stay awake on that same bus ride home that evening. It wasn't until I made it about 25% into the book that I became interested. Even still, I wasn't fully invested in the book until I was 50% through it. The beginning had a lot of set up for the story. Maggie was able to create fully believable, well rounded characters with real backgrounds and lives outside of the main story. The characters had real issues and insecurities.  Adam, the poor scholarship boy in the sea of rich boys at Aglionby who also had a terrible home life. Blue, the only non-psychic in a home of psychics, who's only gift was the ability to amplify others gifts for them (like plugging your laptop into the wall instead of just relying on reserve power). There's Ronan, who we learn little about besides his strangeness and his family issues and Noah who we learn nothing about until the middle of the story, but has a past that breaks your heart. Finally, there's Gansey, the rich rope that holds everything together, here to repay a debt he think he owes and to earn something money can't buy; friends (we hope so anyway). The descriptions of the scenes and storyline was such that one could picture almost everything that occurred down to the most minute detail. I really enjoyed Maggie's attention to crafting the story, though as mentioned before, it did make it difficult to really get into the story.

All of my issues were soon fixed though once I got really into the story. As an audience, we were made to care fully about the outcome of these characters. We wondered with them about the secrets of Henrietta, and how to accomplish their goals.

I loved the story once it got going. It was deep and well thought out and I would definitely be checking out the next book in the series when it comes out because I must know how things turn out. I must say though, that I just wasn't blown away. I didn't get that breathless feeling I sometimes get when I finish books. I give it 3.5 stars, due to the time it took for me to get into it, and the general complacency I felt about it.
Have you read The Raven Boys? What are your views?


Lan said...

I'm always reluctant to pick up Maggie's books because of what you say about them being slow. I love her descriptions but I often can't hang on until 50% of the novel to really get invested. I think I am too much of an action lover. I'm glad you enjoyed this one regardless.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I know what you mean. I love the premise but it took forever to really get interesting. And even when it got interesting, there would be these weird lulls.

LaMar Nelson said...

I have not read any of this author's work, but yet I can still relate to your dilemma because as of right now I'm reading a book and it's moving really slow for me; The Diviners, 170 pages in and I feel like I should be hooked but I'm definitely not. It frustrating too because I really want to finish this book before I move onto something else and it's starting to pick up, but still I'm not loving it like I hoped I would when I first scooped it, all the way back in like January. Hopefully I will be rewarded like you and the book will pick up. Similar to your situation with this book, seems like a lot of the earlier stuff is going to set up the later stuff...(fingers crossed anyways)

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