“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, our main character lives in a family of all psychics. Her mom Maura is a psychic along with her two best friends Persephone and Calla. Her aunt Neeve is also a psychic, but Blue is not. She has an ability of amplifying psychic abilities which enhances readings and heightens energy levels. One day, she sees a spirit- Gansey, a Raven Boy- which is very strange for her because she is not by any means psychic. Her aunt then tells her that if she sees a spirit it's either she is in love with him or she killed him which sets Blue on edge for two reasons; Blue has done everything she can to stay way from Raven Boys because they are rich kids who cause so much trouble and secondly because her mother has always told her that if she kissed her true love, he dies.
I loved the characters in this book SO much. Blue is such a spunky, sarcastic character which I adored. She is thoughtful and smart which brings me to Gansey, he is such an admirable character. He is so smart and tactful, he is the epitome of an old man stuck in a teenager's body. The two that tugged at my heart were Adam and Ronan. Despite their young age, both of these characters stories were heartbreaking and I felt for them so much. Adam is the cautious one, unlike Ronan, who is impulsive and aggressive at times. He is the bad boy who is always in trouble. They also described him as 'more raven than the others'.
So I buddy read this with my college friend, Reem, who happens to be a book blogger as well @ I Read and Tell. She currently is on a hiatus from blogging, but I'm pushing her to get back to it. We decided to do a dual review on this which is amazing and so much fun.
What we liked
My thoughts: The characters were my favorite part about this book. They were amazing with different dynamics and characteristics that set them apart from each other. The plot was well developed and I didn't feel like the author was info dumping. What makes it perfect to me is that the story is extremely well thought of and that I was totally comfortable in this world which is full of magic and is difficult to wrap your head around.
Reem's thoughts: I'm nitpicky, I've had a really good reading streak, and the better the reading streak, the higher your hopes get as you progress. In other circumstances, Raven Boys would've gotten a solid 4 stars for me, but now I feel like it's closer to 3.5. I like the characters alot! Absolutely loved the dynamic between Adam and Gansey, and I felt like both of their inner dialogue and how they felt about each other, their personal struggle and their different commentary about Ronan made them fully dimensional to me. That was my favorite part.
I also like your point about not having any info dumping at all, but I'm nitpicky and for me 4 is as high as any book would get (except for my all time favorites).
What we disliked
I didn't dislike anything about this book, except for maybe not explaining the magical stuff thoroughly. I finished the book and don't fully grasp what the ley lines are. The details aren't prominent in this book and I think this is just building up for the other books. I think that Maggie was just setting the grounds for whatever will happen next and I think she did that perfectly well in this. I'm eager to continue on and know more about the ending, because I feel like I didn't quite know what happened and it just makes me think, which is what I like about a book.
What totally set me off at the beginning is the writing. I found it quite hard to get into and it frustrated me. You know when you're just reading words and not fully in the story? It happened to me a lot while reading this book and I felt like I had to go and reread the couple of pages that I blankly read. It gets better as you go along though. I feel like with this book, you can't just give up on the first couple of chapters. Give it a try and don't give up, push yourself to like 150 pages of this and you'll be good.
I definitely felt the same about the things that weren't explained. Like I feel the author focused too much on not dumping info that the explanation was a little lacking. And the ending didn't sit well with me, like literally the first thing that I did after I finished the book was text you and ask you for explanations. I feel like the story didn't have a full arc. this book was too much of a build up for the sequels that perhaps it doesn't stand well on its own, but when taking into consideration the next parts, I think the story would 'click' for me.
The best part about this book however was Ronan. I don't know whats going on with him, but he was a fully realized character. I could just imagine him so well. And the writer's style was pretty neat too. The short, suspenseful sentences are just my cup of tea. The book pulled me in from the prologue.
SPOILERY THOUGHTS! (proceed only if you've read the book. Highlight to view)
My thoughts: Personally, I loved the foreshadowing that Maggie Stiefvater skilfully did! Earlier on in the book, Noah said that he has been dead for 7 years and no one did anything about it, they didn't pay much attention to him and in return, us readers didn't as well. A smart writer foreshadows without spoiling the ending and that is what she did. As soon as I found out that Noah was dead, I immediately thought that this can't happen and how? Are they like seeing the future of him? But it all made sense with him and Mr. Whelk. It struck me when Gansey mentioned his last name and the fact that we were introduced to Mr Whelk's past before the revelation added so much so the story and to she shock factor. This is one thing that I particularly loved.
I loved the Cabeswater part and it probably was my favorite. The trees which speak Latin and Ronan seeing his joke written on the rock. The way they all saw visions of their futures or whatever that was, was so cool to me. I loved the uniqueness of it all and I salute Maggie for such a wonderfully original book.
Ronan interested me to no end and he represents the mystery element of this book. I can't wait to unlock all his secrets and for everything about his dad to be revealed. I was super surprised when the trees knew him and Blue. This has to mean something. Is he and Blue related? Maybe they both have some sort of power because it got me thinking to when he was doing his reading and he was louder than the others and how he was described as more raven than the others. I have a feeling that this raven of his represents something as well because it gives him an eerie persona. Also the thing with Blue's father that is still a mystery to us and to Blue. I think that Blue's father and Ronan's are related one way or another. Or maybe the stories are intertwined. I cannot wait for the second book.
I loved Gansey and his efforts in not being a condescending rich kid. He was genuine and smart and I loved that about him so much. I loved his relationship with Adam and with Ronan; both so different yet so similar. Him trying to keep Ronan grounded and out of trouble while trying to free Adam of his abusive father and out of that miserable house. I liked that Adam didn't want his help and that he wanted to decide things on his own and I quite get it. On the other hand, Gansey is like a father figure to Ronan and does everything for him which includes helping him with his tests and stuff.
Neeve was the second most mysterious character in this book. I'd love to know more about her and I'm sure she'll reappear in later books. The creepiest part of the book is when she was talking in a devilish voice and Blue woke her up. Was she possessed or did she just embody Glendower? I don't know and I'm dying to know more!!!
Omg you said exactly what I wanted to say it's on point, but okay as I said, this book was a buildup for future books, and I feel like Maggie Steifvater is a fan of foreshadowing, and that a lot of the elements included in this book will come into play later on. Including the raven and Ronan's backstory.
Noah started the book as a very outstandish and unlikable character, however with the alternating narrative between Whelk and the boys, his story started to become more intriguing and the foreshadowing was executed quite brilliantly.
Did you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts! :)