Review The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis: Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

Rating: 4/5

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
My thoughts:
“Keep being brave.

Unique, eerie, compelling and magical. These are the attributes that perfectly describe The Raven Boys. But perhaps I am redundant in my words due to the fact I am a few years late to the hype and all I could say has been already said. Rest assured though, I'll keep my fangirling to a minimum. I do have a series to finish. 

The story in this book is the epitome of weeeeird. Strange and otherworldly. Original and enthralling nonetheless. I mean -- ley lines and Welsh hidden kings? Um, wut? First of all, what the hell are ley lines (I needed Google to educate me on that) and second of all, how is any of this interesting?

Initially, it was not. I couldn't care less about the plot because yeah, uneducated new age freshman right here. I was all about the characters because I suddenly couldn't stop reading about Blue and her overall awesomeness (more on that in a minute) and these 4 peculiar yet alluring raven boys. But then the plot somewhat became the characters themselves. I know, I know, I don't make sense but, personally, I felt this whimsical quest for Glendower become an integral part of each of them: Blue's subtle desire to be special, Gansey's blunt obsession, Adam's hope for a better future, Ronan's deepest secrets and Noah's tragic existence. It all made for an intricate spider web of characterization that in the end rendered this book as both character and plot driven. 

Ah, and speaking of that, these characters are GORGEOUS. I kid you not. I was feeling like I was in the presence of long-lost friends, effortlessly immersing myself into their world and dramas. 

Blue is undoubtedly amazing. I never felt this uniqueness about a female character ever since I acquainted with Karou and Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She's like a fairy, a pixie, but one with a strong and honorable personality. She's weird alright, but in an endearing way and I'm glad to see she brought a speck of color into the boys' lives. 

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.

Adam Parish is such a lovable character. You cannot but love him instantly, including his hard-work, grueling efforts, endurance, burdens, intelligence and overall sweetness. His integrity brought tears to my eyes and his selflessness was just another testament to show what a great guy he is. Plus his subtle romance with Blue is lovely. Gosh, everything about him is lovely. He's like a flower. Or a puppy. As I said, lovable to the nth degree. 

“Don’t throw compliments away, so long as they’re free.’” His face was very earnest. “That one wasn’t meant to cost you anything, Blue.”

The one who stole my heart though was Gansey. Richard 'Dick' Campbell Gansey III. This boy-king awed me with his drive and spark of brilliance, with his inquisitive mind and commanding leadership. He also made me love him because of his unknown naïveté and innocence that was at odds with his old-money upbringing. He is still a boy, trapped in dreams of other realms, but his ambition alone might make those dreams a reality. And his friendships with the boys were incredible; he is the axis of the group, the alpha, but followed through love, respect and borderline adoration. It's mutual, however, and the fact that he struggles to keep them all together is nothing short of awesomeness.

“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.

Noah Czerny, you poor little creature. Even though he is always a bit in the background, I couldn't help than want to barge in Henrietta and give him a fierce hug. I hope to learn more about him, especially after all the twists and turns regarding his persona. Regardless, I already assigned him cinnamon roll status. 

However, without a doubt, the most peculiar of the boys is Ronan. He is also the most mysterious and he remains so throughout the novel. I loved his pissy and mercurial personality, which goes to show how messed up and broken he really is. Regardless, besides Gansey and Blue's family, he cracked me up as well. I'm hoping he'll get more page time and he'll become central once more, because I am dying to know about his father, his family, his dynamic with the boys and that hell of a jaw-dropping revelation at the end of the book. Considering the title and the cover of the 2nd book, it appears I'll get my wish.

“Gansey had once told Adam that he was afraid most people didn’t know how to handle Ronan. What he meant by this was that he was worried that one day someone would fall on Ronan and cut themselves.

The innumerable women (okay okay, three) in Blue's life deserve a shoutout: Maura, Persephone and Calla. This trio right here made the book better, even if they're not in the light 24/7. As secondary characters, they were incredibly well developed, with distinct personalities and I loved each and every one of them, not to mention their lovely relationships with Blue. In a way, I felt that even though Blue is fatherless, she has 3 mothers. 3 really cool mothers. 

The boys as a group were a wonder, but throwing Blue into the mix achieved the ultimate perfection. She fit in naturally, not to mention her bizarre yet great family. I cannot wait to see them develop this little group of theirs.

“They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed able to walk away from them.

And ohmygod I just want to know how the story will pan out because that was such a tease to continuously plague us with bits from the future! The Gansey prophecy better not be happening. But what about Blue's faith to kill her true love with a kiss? The Gansey and Blue vision is so gut-wrenching I just can't even. And how will that come to fruition since we're only getting Adam and Blue vibes for now? A love triangle? Deaths (please not)?? I am equally scared and exhilarated to find out more. 

The prose is beautiful, but I didn't expect anything less from Maggie Stiefvater. I regret having forgotten the rest of the Mercy Falls series into an endless pile of TBR (note to self: bump them up). The third narrative was lovely manipulated to build up tension and shiver-inducing sequences, whereas the atmosphere was worthy of an Edgar Allen Poe inspiration: often bleak, cold, but enchanting. I read the book during nightly hours just to get the full experience and I gotta say it is the wowza kind. Also, do I hear ravens in the background?  

Oh, and thank you to the wonderful TRC fandom on Tumblr: your fan arts and edits made me cave in and read this book and I am not one bit regretting this decision. I can finally understand some references and not scroll past spoilery images yay! 

Now I'm off to read the sequel. Thank God I'm late to the party and do not have to experience the excruciating pain of waiting a year in between installments. I'LL DEVOUR THEM ALL. 

I can definitely say that The Raven Cycle series has the potential of becoming a new favorite of mine just by having read this first installment. It irreversibly won me over with its gothic nuances and just plain fun and sweet contemporary. If I have wrongly deemed myself the last person in the bookish community to not have read it and you're the rightful beholder of that title, than please go ahead and pick this up. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

“If you had a special knack for finding things, it meant you owed the world to look.


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