In which I blog about writing, YA fiction and the occasional sparkly unicorn.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Before I start this review, I'd like to apologize. It's taken me an absurdly long time to get this review up. I blame the craziness of Nano, three different research papers, and the fact that every time I sit down to write this review, I stop and go re-read bits of the book again. It was that good. So here is my very belated, full-of-feels review of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys.

(This cover is ridiculously cool. I might actually have to go buy a hard copy of it just so I can look at it whenever I want.)

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

“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.

I'd been hearing some positive reviews of this, so when I saw it available on NetGalley I requested a copy, thinking that it would probably be okay. Ever since I've finished it I've gone and read every single review of it I can find. I practically have to restrain myself from protesting violently in the comments whenever anyone says something negative about it. The general consensus seems to be that the book was very good, but had a few issues.

My issue with it is that it was perfect.

I know, I know, no book is really perfect, at least not completely. But my heart wants to fill this review with sparkles and rainbows and tears of glorious happiness because in my heart it is PERFECT. But now that I've had time to organize and analyze my feelings for this book, I think I've figured out why I feel that way.

This is my first Maggie Stiefvater book. I've heard of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and Scorpio Races, but I never really considered reading them. I'd also never researched them to find out if I should read them. And so I went into Raven Boys completely unprepared for the magic that comes along with reading a Maggie Stiefvater book.

The prose is beautiful. I don't think there's another word for it. But it never lapses into the realm of the over-done, wordy, or pompous. The words just seem organic, like they sprung fully formed from the page. And I think I was shocked by this. I'm used to reading books where the writing itself functions just as a tool, as if all it is is a device to get the story across instead of something that should stand on it's own merit. So I think most of my feelings of perfection were feelings of unexpected awe. I didn't expect beauty, or loveliness, and so when I turned the page and found it, tears of happiness may have sprung into my eyes.

I also may have formed a slight obsession with the characters. I went into this book thinking that Blue was the main character. And she is, in a way. It is through her eyes that we delve into this world of mystery and magic. But the stars of this book are the title characters.  The book, whatever the summary might tell you, is really about the relationship between the Raven boys, four boys who live at a boarding school. They're all a bit odd and messed up, but they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. And I loved them. I loved their inside jokes, their quick banter and their unswerving loyalty to each other. And Gansey *swoon* I cannot express the extent of my love for Gansey. He's so confident, but also really nervous about making the right impression, and he constantly just wants to do the right thing and help his friends AND I JUST HAVE A LOT OF GANSEY FEELS, OKAY. 

That being said, I don't think this book is for everyone. The writing is very introspective, and in contrast to how its marketed it's also a very introspective story. It's very character driven, and if you're not prepared for that, I think it could come as a bit of a shock.

Some of the comments I've seen around the web is that the pacing is too slow, that it lags, and that there's no real resolution to anything. But I think that's the point. The mystery is never solved, the romance that's set up on the back cover is only hinted at in the most subtle of ways, and the end can feel abrupt. But I think that was the point. I think it was supposed to be a slow build up with these fascinating characters to hook us into the story. This is the first of a four-book series, so yes, it served as a lot of set up. But it's set up wort reading, partly because of the prose and partly because of the characters.

So, in short, go read The Raven Boys. But if you're looking for some high-octane fueled adventure story, you might do better looking somewhere else. This is a very introspective, intricate story that spends more time delving into its characters instead of barreling you along on a whirlwind plot. But I didn't mind. The prose is gorgeous, the characters are wonderful, and it has fully convinced me to go read every book Maggie Stiefvater has ever written.

Verdict: 4 Stars

To conclude, have some gifs of me at the end of this book:


  1. I'm glad you liked this one! I'm read some mixed reviews on it. I've never read a Maggie Stievfater book either. If she writes as well as you say I'll should check these out! Great review!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

    1. Thanks! And yes, you should definitely check it out!

  2. LOVED it. This and Scorpio Races are two of my favorite reads for the year. After I finished Scorpio Races I couldn't read for WEEKS because nothing got even close to that perfection. I also wanted to quit writing, because I won't ever be able to write that beautifully. But then I remembered I don't have to, I just get to reap the rewards of Maggie's writing.

    1. I can't wait to read her other books. And I know what you mean about the post-book writing depression. I was all like, "NONE OF MY SENTENCES WILL EVER BE THIS GOOD UGH."

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