Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Acquired: Amazon Purchase
Date Finished: January 31, 2015
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.
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. I was introduced to the series through everyone blogging about Blue Lily, Lily Blue last year, so I figured I’d give it a try. I typically have a love/hate relationship with YA, but especially YA Fantasy. The angst and the conspiracy theories kill me. They tend to use the same stale tropes, and don’t get me started on YA dystopian! Ugh! Sorry, back to the review…
The initial premise of The Raven Boys is that Blue, the heroine, has been told her whole life that she will cause her true love to die when she kisses him. So, I anticipated a lot of romancy, angsty crap, but I was surprised that the “love story” really took a back seat in the plot line. The majority of the book was your introduction to Blue, her rambunctious family and the Raven Boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. The other major storyline is about Glendower, a lost Welsh king, who is supposedly in a deep sleep and if you wake him, he will grant you a wish. He is also supposedly buried somewhere along the Ley Lines in North America. This is the quest of Gansey and the Raven Boys, and it soon becomes the quest of Blue and her family as well.
Now, I will not go into a lot of depth about my theory of how Gansey mirrors King Arthur, Adam passes as Lancelot, Blue is a solid stand-in for Guinevere, and Glendower is the perfect Grail. I will, however, state that I wrote my college thesis on Arthurian legend in literature, so it tends to jump out at me on various occasions. This is a straight-up quest story if I’ve ever read one. I highly recommend delving into some Arthurian legend and making the comparisons for yourself. The parallels are not direct, but they are definitely there. It is moments like these, that I wish I was an English major again.
Lastly, Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is stunning. She truly has a mystical way with words. I love the imagery her writing conjures.
Read it!! It is one of the best YA books I’ve read. 4 1/2 stars!!