Book One of The Raven Cycle
By Maggie Stiefvater
Available now from Scholastic Press
Review copy courtesy of Krystal of Live to Read
Read my reviews of LAMENT, BALLAD, SHIVER, and LINGER
Read Maggie's guest blog
Guys, I am blown away.
It's not like I don't know that Maggie Stiefvater is a terrific author. I've been a fan from the very beginning. And I knew she was excited about THE RAVEN BOYS, from both her blog posts and hearing her speak at TLA. I still didn't expect this. All of the books I've previously crowned the best of the year are going to have to step aside for the true king.
Blue Sargent knows that magic exists. She lives in a family of seers, though she is not a seer herself; she magnifies others' abilities. Every seer tells her the same thing: the first boy she kisses, her true love, will die. Then she sees Gansey's spirit on St. Mark's Eve. The only explanation is that he's her true love or she kills him. In Blue's case, it might well be both. But when she meets Gansey, she doesn't fall for him. She falls for Adam, one of his best friends. But she is pulled into the magnetic Gansey's search for a lost Welsh king.
The characterization in this story, you guys. The characterization. Gansey cannot say the right thing and he buries himself under a perfect, empty surface. Ronan is a bundle of anger and hugs for his pet raven Chainsaw. Adam is a scholarship student and both cares deeply for his friends and wants to make his own way through live without their help. Noah, the smudgy one, hangs quietly around the edges. Suffice it to say, I want to knit each raven boy a fuzzy, ugly sweater to replace their school raven sweater and cuddle them and show them that they are loved and it will be okay. And of course, it isn't going to be okay. There's an aura of dread throughout THE RAVEN BOYS. There's going to be death. It's inevitable. THE RAVEN BOYS is a book where you know things will not end well. And I may love happy endings, but I adore impossible situations and certain doom even more.
If you didn't like the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, I'd still give THE RAVEN BOYS a chance. With it's use of Welsh mythology, it's closer in style to her faerie books. Even then, THE RAVEN BOYS is a new sort of beast. It's a book where the magic is limited in scope and barely present, yet frightening to encounter. It's a book about love - not romantic love, particularly - and the lengths people will go to for love. And the lengths people will go to for power. It's about being a teenage boy and being a teenage girl and all the craziness that entails even without life and death on the line.
If this review is incoherent, please excuse me. I've been left bereft of much of my senses. The only thing clear to me is that I must read the second book of Stiefvater's Raven cycle as soon as possible.