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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
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  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ARC Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My first Maggie Stiefvater book and I'm not sure how to put into words what I feel. I think she's one of the very few authors I've read that rendered me speechless.

Title: The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Pages: 408
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Published by: Scholastic Press
Source: Borrowed (Thanks Jena!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


“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.

Blue has quite a gift: she amplifies the powers of her clairvoyant mother and her psychic friends. The night of St. Mark's Eve was one Blue will never forget. She met Gansey or more appropriately, a manifestation of him, walking on the Corpse Road. Gansey is an Aglionby boy, and he is going to die soon. All her life, Blue has been told that she's destined to kill the person she'll love with a kiss, and that's why she's staying away from boys, especially those in Aglionby, the Raven boys. But soon enough, Blue's paths crossed with the real, breathing Gansey and she was swept along his lifelong desire to find what has been eluding him all his life: Glendower, who, according to tales will favor the one who wakes him up. Finding Glendower alone was difficult enough, now Blue finds herself in the middle of the complicated lives of these boys. But she knows one thing: she will not let Gansey die.

It's quite stressful to read this book. I mean it in a good way, because Maggie Stiefvater just has this knack for making the readers feel so much emotions coming from her story all at once, especially her characters. I had to stop quite a few times to catch my breath. Maggie Stiefvater took great time in developing each and every character in this book, giving them believable, and oftentimes very complicated, back stories. Maggie had a knack for laying bare a lot of things about her character and still leave room for guessing, for mystery. The depth of each and every one of them is one of the reasons why I held on reading. They all seem so broken, like a fundamental part of them was missing and only the search for Glendower will make them whole.

I was so absorbed in Gansey's search for something more, that something beyond having power and money, that something worthwhile, that reason why he was born the way he was, privileged. Ronan was, in all intents and purposes, broken beyond repair. The anger and the hatred he had appeared when his father died, that devil may care attitude, his penchant to challenge death every single chance he gets, his sarcasm. How did he become like that? These two characters are my favorites, so different but oddly meshing together. Adam's life was marred by violence, all his life he wanted to prove that he can be something better, that there's something big and positive to look forward to than letting his father hit him, that even though he's poor, his credentials from Aglionby will create an opportunity for him to be someone, to be like Gansey, maybe even more. And then the empty shell that was Noah, extremely shy, barely there. Each and every Raven Boy had something dark shadowing their pasts, and it felt like I was dipping my toes in a pool of extreme sadness, forlorn feelings each and every time a bit of their lives is revealed.

If you are the type of reader who easily gets bored, however, let me tell you now that the story took quite a while to coalesce. You will need a lot of patience before you see where the story is headed. There were parts that can easily confuse the readers and there seems to be a lot of elements that needed to be presented and discussed, the occult, psychics, magic and the individual lives of the characters that readers might find themselves lost a time or two. Hold on, dear readers, because after the struggle in the first half of the book and the lethargic pace of the story, there are things to look forward to. The way Maggie Stiefvater infused magic and intrigue into the story was very interesting. If you are expecting The Raven Boys to be an outright romantic book because of the prophecy surrounding Blue, then you might be in for a little bit of disappointment. The story goes beyond who Blue will kiss. It became a great frustration of mine that I couldn't seem to feel any chemistry between Blue and Gansey. There were momentarily glimpses of possibilities on romance, but even those were fleeting and unsure. And there are just a lot of elements in this book that are very uncertain and unclear that it might seem a torture to a lot of people to know what will and will not happen.

It was very tiring to cope with the feelings this novel conveys to the readers, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The magic in Maggie Stiefvater's writing is evident in her strong character building, with enough depth to entice the readers to get to know them more. There's a certain eloquence in her writing that you will just admire. The plot and its pace was a sweet torture, but it's one that will almost immediately make the reader have that driving need to find out what happens next. The Raven Boys is a very promising read, and with the first book, Maggie Stiefvater opens the story to a lot of possibilities.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The only issue I really had with this book was the pacing. Everything else was perfect.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Major clues in the cover!


  1. gr8 review . i so want this book

    1. hey roro! thanks! I think it'll be available in a few weeks? hope you enjoy!

  2. Hmm.. this book sounds great :) Cannot wait!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

    1. It does! It's the first Maggie Stiefvater book I've read and it's so good!

  3. I heard good feedbacks about the book and since then I wanted to read it. I was quite disappointed that the book is slow paced because most of the time I tend to get bored easily. Well hopefully with your warning, I'll be more patient in reading it when I'll have my copy. Thanks for the review!

    1. You should be a bit patient! It's worth the wait, I assure you! Just don't expect much from Gansey and Blue, because there wasn't much romance to see in this book, but the story is still great!

  4. Great review - so spot on. Slow pace, but definitely worth it. In my review, I said that at the end I still felt like I didn't know many of the characters, but I think that actually speaks something toward their realism. How long does it take to really get to know someone? Especially people as troubled and the Raven boys. <3

    1. Aww, thanks! The pace was maddening! I was prepared to ditch the book halfway through but I'm glad I didn't! I kind of like but still feel weird when I think about the connections Gansey had w/ Ronan, Adam and Noah. It's like it's deeper than friendship but to have all 4 of them at 1 place, 1 time makes everything seem so intense, heavy and... dark. Confusing, really. But this book is just wonderful!

  5. I'm glad you loved this book. =) I haven't read it yet, but I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing, so I know I'll love this. It sounds AMAZING! =D I'm really excited for it.

    Great review! Great detail. It really makes me want to read it more. ><

    1. Hi there! It was awesome, seriously. I have some of Maggie's books lying somewhere at the back of my shelves this book just makes me want to read them now! You have to read it once it comes out!

  6. The Raven Boys is one of my favorite series. No one writes like Maggie Stiefvater! I had zero expectations going in to The Raven Boys, I hated the audio narrator, and still (STILL) I just absolutely adored it. I love all it has to say about relationships (Blue and the boys, Gansey and Ronan, Blue and the women at Fox Way, etc.).

    And, if I didn't think it could get better - I love each book more than the last. I'm not emotionally prepared for the final book.


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