Turn the Page: The Raven Boys

I’m so behind on book reviews! Granted, I’m reading much less lately, but still – I haven’t even shared July’s reads yet. I did read more than just The Raven Boys in July, but the others are part of a trilogy so I’ll be reviewing those all together. Read on for my thoughts on The Raven Boys (Book 1 of The Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater.

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

really like it rating

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.” via Goodreads

I’ve had this book on my TBR list for ages, and I finally decided to pick it up and give it a read! It came highly recommended from Kristin, and I’ve realized we basically have the exact same taste in YA & fantasy books, so that definitely encouraged me to get a copy.

I have to admit, as I read through the prologue I was incredibly skeptical. My skepticism came about because the prologue lays in really heavy handedly about the main character and her doomed relationship with her (currently unknown) true love. And here I was all eye-rolling and expecting this book to just be typical schmaltzey teeny-bopper YA romance. (I’m so sorry Kristin – I should have known better than to doubt you.)

Instead, it’s an extremely well crafted story about a group of friends, with fantastic magical and paranormal elements. I adored this book. In fact, the only reason I’m giving it four out of five stars is because I feel like the prologue is really misleading! It makes this book sound so much less good than it really is! It avoids some of the cliche tropes that YA books often have, especially when they involved groups of teenagers as the main characters. It has a great cast of characters, who are unique and feel so real without being contrived or cliche. Basically, it served as a great reminder for just how good YA can be. I highly recommend it!

Past this point, there will be lots of spoilers as I kind of just want to gush about this book for a bit. Seriously, massive plot-ruining spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned!

Where to begin?!?! I loved Blue as a character. In fact, I really loved ALL the characters, as I said above. I often feel that characters in YA, especially teenage characters, seem really shallow and not fleshed out. This was the opposite. I think Stiefavter did a marvelous job in that Blue and the boys could have been quite cliche. They each (for the most part) have a situation that could have been done in a very tropey manner. But they weren’t. Each one had a unique personality that was real. I loved it. It’s so hard to pick a favorite Raven Boy.

I adored that once Blue & Adam start dating, it’s not a big thing. They don’t fall head over heels in love. They are two teens, who like each other, who are both a bit awkward. It’s just so rare to see a relationship be understated in a YA book, and it was so refreshing to see. I also FREAKING LOVED how Blue (what with the prophecy of her killing her true love and all) was constantly like, Is this love? Is this what it feels like? Again, just utterly refreshing to have a teenager with rational thought, asking those kinds of questions. She wouldn’t know what love feels like! She should be asking those questions! I am very jaded on most romance in stories at this point, especially in the YA genre, and this has served as a great reminder that not all of it is poorly done.

As I mentioned above, each of the four Raven Boys was just spectacular. Initially, I think Noah was my favorite simply because he was so…off. I have to credit Steifvater’s writing for that. She would sneak in these little sentences about him as a character that didn’t take you at all out of the story, and didn’t seemed forced, but just subtly hinted at the fact that he wasn’t quite like the other boys. I had my suspicions about what he might be, and I was half right! I was correct that he was a ghost, but totally didn’t realize WHOSE ghost, and my brain about exploded. That was a great twist.

All in all, this book just got better and better as it went on, and I can not wait to read book two! It’s currently headed my way in the mail (along with book 3, as I know I’ll want it too!)

Have you read The Raven Boys? What did you think?

 

  • I didn’t read too much of your review just because I didn’t want to read any spoilers. Man, I’ve had this book for like two years and I STILL haven’t read it! Yikes. I keep hearing how fucking amazing it is and I can’t get myself to open it. Eventually!
    ~Sara

    • Kay

      It’s definitely worth it! I was so pleasantly surprised. If you read the prologue and seem really unimpressed, just keep reading. It’s really worth it! The prologue so doesn’t do it justice.

  • Ari Carr

    This is the series I plan on reading after I’ve finished The Hunger Games and ACOTOR again and I’m so glad it’s good! Pretty much everyone says it’s amazing.

    • Kay

      I was so impressed! Definitely don’t let the prologue turn you away if it seems uninteresting after reading it haha. It’s so good!

  • I am so happy that you read past the prologue because it is SO much better than it introduces itself to be! The Raven Cycle is such an intricate and layered story and with each book you really do learn what love is, but it’s friendship love which I think is amazing. I’ve never read a series where I could tell how much each of the characters share a platonic love for one another without the author ever having to spell it out. Everything is so nuanced and beautiful! And Maggie’s writing is just gorgeous. The third book is my favorite of the series because there’s SO MUCH action. I’m so happy that Maggie is plotting another trilogy in this world because it’s one of my favorite YA series of all time. I could spend the next 50 years in Cabeswater and be thrilled<3 And even the adults are fascinating and have their own stories and they're not just there to further Blue's storyline. I love that she has an unconventional family but their setup really ~works~ for them!

    • Kay

      Yes!! I too love how much platonic friendship is in this; I feel like there is not nearly enough of that in YA, especially between genders. I can’t wait to get the next books in and keep reading!

      • Just wait until you see the covers of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King close up. Photos don’t do them justice!

  • I’m totally with you about the characters having normal teenage thoughts and how refreshing that is in a YA book. I was head over heels for Gansey…I feel like there’s going to be so much more to him that we didn’t get to see in the first book. I can’t wait to hear what you think about the second book! I got distracted with other books, but I’ll have to get back into the series soon.

    • Kay

      I can’t wait to get the next ones in! I agree, Gansey still has so much left to learn about. They were all such great characters!

  • No, I haven’t read it but based off of your review I want to add it to my list now!

    • Kay

      It’s so good! Definitely don’t let the prologue fool you. 😉

  • I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. The Raven Cycle is one of my favorite YA series, and I can’t wait to see what you think of Book 2 (my favorite). I’ve had the last book since it came out, but I’ve been so unwilling for the series to end that I haven’t read it yet!! Agree with you that the characters are the best part. I don’t know how Maggie does it, but she creates such specific and nuanced people, and her prose is just beautiful.

    • Kay

      I’m so excited to start Book 2! I have it in my possession, but am reading through a few books with friends first. Since I have the others in paperback, I’ll be waiting for The Raven King to be released in paperback as well so they all match. I am definitely thrilled to continue this series; I’m already so in love with the characters.