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.
First published: 2012
Once again, I am late to the party, since everybody’s been raving about The Raven Cycle (lol puns) by Maggie Stiefvater for ages, and I’ve only just read The Raven Boys, which is the first book. I’d been meaning to read it for a while now, especially after Cait from Paper Fury got me all excited (she talks about this series constantly) but I kept prioritising other books. I shouldn’t have, because this is one of the best books I’ve read all year! I’ve already ordered the rest of the series, which should be arriving any day now. Which is good because I need more of this story! New favourite? I think so!
The story is told from multiple perspectives, but the most important ones are those of Blue and Gansey. I absolutely loved both of them. Blue lives in this crazy household with her mother and her mother’s two best friends and a load of female relatives – let’s just say it’s always busy. I thought her home dynamic and her relationship with her mother were really interesting and great. She’s the only one in her family who doesn’t have psychic abilities – instead, she amplifies the powers of the others when she is in the room, which is a really interesting position to be in. She doesn’t seem to resent anyone for the fact that she doesn’t “have the gift” (she mentions multiple times that’s made peace with it) and I think she’s a very strong character. I also really liked the fact that she’s not afraid to stand up for herself – mainly towards the raven boys.
Which leads me to Gansey and his gang. Gansey intrigues me. To the outside world he appears to be this typical privileged rich kid (which in some ways he is) but he is so much more than that. He’s got this obsession with finding an ancient Welsh king, and he drags his friends along with him on this quest. He also holds a bit of a strange position in that little band of friends – he’s the one with all the power, or so it seems. It’s his apartment they all live in (apart from Adam) and they pretty much always do what he wants. I’m not so sure I like that dynamic, but I’ll have to read on to make up my mind about that. I did really like all of the raven boys and am really looking forward to learning more about them – especially Ronan.
What I adored about this book is the fact that it’s about friendship more than anything else. The tag line, “if you kiss your true love, he will die” suggests that the focus lies on romantic love, but that’s not the case, and I was very happy with that. We need more books about friendship! I’m curious how this develops in the rest of the books, though, because the romance thing is hinted at quite often. I love a bit of romance, but I do hope the friendships remain very important, too.
Another important aspect is the magic in this story, and I’m completely and utterly intrigued by it. I have read very little magic realism, but I definitely want to read more now! The Raven Boys seems to be set in our own world, but there are so many more things going on at the same time – ley lines, seeing into the future, time being ambiguous. I love the effect this has: you think you know the setting, but then it turns out you really don’t.
The thing I was probably most impressed with, though, was the writing. It is magical all on its own and Maggie Stiefvater has a way of noticing or describing stuff that other authors wouldn’t even think of noticing. I love it a lot and now I want to read everything she’s ever written.
Conclusion: I’m a fan. Go read this if you haven’t yet!