Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“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.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Raven Boys:
Gansey. Adam. Ronan. Noah.

Each with a specific trait that determined how they were with each other. Gansey has the tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time even if unintended; what sets him apart is quest for a dead king on a corpse road. But it’s also the very thing that has him at the center of their odd group. Because he takes it upon himself to lead them, protect them (even if unwanted). He and Adam are similar in doing what needs doing, but Adam’s story is darker still. He wants out but must do so on his own terms. It’s on his terms that he butts head with Gansey, a butting of heads that’s frustrating because where one is well-meaning, the other steady in how he wants things done.

And where Adam’s the steady one, Ronan’s the fighter, with a past just as dark as Adam’s. It’s a past much alluded but never gone in deep (and I’d have wanted her to go deeper). What’s obvious is he’s not dealing and it’s the same that makes him the most volatile among them. A volatility that’s then sharply contrasted to his more gentle moments; I found that opposition a curious one. I found myself considering him more. Suffice to say, I look forward to more of him. 

Continuing with this ‘like a boy band each with a role to fill’ thing that I’ve begun: we have Gansey scholarly leader, Adam the one who knows what’s wanted, (the steady one), Ronan the fighter… and Noah? He’s the quiet voice, the one the links them as one. Except even with me simplifying them thus, they are far from simple boys because each of their stories had dark undertones. A lot of conflict so that it’s so much more than each of them being one thing, all that is made clearer once Blue was in the picture.

Like Scorpio Races, the meeting of both their ends of this story was long in taking place. It’s an inevitable merging, but one that took forever in happening, so that in the meantime we see each of them clearly, and for Blue, she’s is made absolutely clear, too. Blue is different, odd as well as sensible. She’d be the normal one in a family that’s different, but outside her family, she’s the odd one! She accepts their reality but not knowing the specific of it, dreams of another type of normal.

As with her other books, it was awhile before I got the rhythm of her writing. Perhaps ‘rhythm’ is not the right word. With slow specific words she again creates something moody and not pretty but not quite dark… definitely moody though. She’s a specific style that’s not once simple and all lush. It’s also those darker moments that rocked me because those moments came so unexpectedly. So, dead kings and corpse, foreknowing and scrying, ley lines and sacrifice, brotherly love then romantic love as well as a familial one, plus more than person who’s eccentric… Raven Boys felt different.


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