Feb 25, 2016

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle 1)

  by MAGGIE STIEFVATER  

book review rating 2 out of 5

“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 fro ...more

Goodreads summary

FRANKLY, I'M SURPRISED by how I feel about this book. I was so sure I would like The Raven Boys, maybe even love it. I’ve heard so many good things about Maggie Stiefvater. MAGGIE! I was overjoyed to finally get my hands on a copy of this book. Halfway into it, though, I was completely crestfallen. With each turn of the page, I felt my excitement crushed by the hands of these silly teenage boys.

What happened?

Reading is incredible personal. I find that my experiences heavily influence how I view a book: like embracing a friend or exuding with cool indifference. In this particular case, it was definitely the latter. The characters in The Raven Boys remind me of my local high school—the only public school I know of to have fireworks for Homecoming! I’m surrounded by these young adults and their first-world problems. So when I met the characters from Aglionby High, I was floored by the similarities of Maggie Stiefvater’s Ravens and my real life pyrotechnic [insert high school mascot].

Suffice to say, I didn’t enjoy The Raven Boys because I found the characters too self-centered and didn’t possess enough character depth to pull me into their story, with the exception of perhaps Adam. Life is so hard when you have the best of everything and be able to bribe your way out of trouble (sarcasm alert). Chief among them is Gansey. Even though I found his ridiculous boat shoes quirky and adorable, I didn't care for his maddening, frantic obsession to find the buried Welsh king, Glendower, for whoever that finds him will be granted a favor when he is awakened. And in that madness, he threw caution to the wind and brought a lot of harm to those around him. Oh, Adam, that was such a stupid, selfless good deed.  Strangely, I think there will be a lot of young readers who will enjoy their dynamic, finding their loyalty and camaraderie endearing.

On a positive note, I really enjoyed Ms. Stiefvater’s writing. The Cabeswater scene was absolutely magical. Like the characters, I found myself also stepping into a vividly beautiful space—utterly otherworldly—absent of time, untouched by the laws of physics, and gorgeously wild. For a brief moment, I understood why Ms. Stiefvater is so well liked.

So while I do not like this first book in the series. I still think that Ms. Stiefvater is a formidable author worthy of another attempt, but probably not with The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle 2). The Scorpio Races, perhaps?

BOOK TALK: I know I'm of the minority in my opinions of this book. I think it's okay, so long as it's express respectfully, which I hope I've achieved. Do you find that your reviews are swayed by how other's think? Or, do you stand your ground?

Available at

Amazon | Book Depository