By Savannah Shah
I have recently read The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This was a satisfying book. It was released in 2012 and has earned itself a small fan base. The story centers on the supernatural and manages to pull it off unlike most of the popular young adult books that have been coming out. What made this book stand out was how it broke the ever so common “two guys love me and I need to decide who to choose” cliché. Yes, there is a romance aspect in the book, but Stiefvater twisted it up in such a way that you find yourself wondering who will be getting together, and dying if they do, by the end of the book. The characters are extremely likable and have a realistic tone to them. Although the book is fiction, it manages to bring in realistic problems, such as: family drama that seems to be a common theme in the book.
The story centers on five main characters, Four boys and one girl. The boys attend a school called Aglionby Academy, which is considered a “rich boys'” school, where all that the students do is cause trouble. The students are collectively known as “raven boys” , which has much to do with symbolism in the book. The four main boys, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, attend Aglionby and are students there. Together, they search for a supposed Welsh king who is hidden near the town they live in. Gansey is the leader of the group and is the main person looking for the Welsh king. Adam is the quiet and polite person in the group. Ronan is the troubled and violent member. Last, but not least, Noah is the member who doesn’t quite seem all there. Blue is the one girl character, who is the main protagonist. She comes from a family of psychics and is often ridiculed for it. Along with that, she has been told by many different psychics that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die.
The story starts out with Blue’s aunt, Neeve, coming to stay for a while in Henrietta, the town where Blue and her mother live. Blue is the only one in her family that does not posses the ability to speak or see the dead, which is why it is so peculiar that one night she sees the ghost of a boy who will die in the next year. The only way Blue could see the boy would be if either he was her true love or if she was the one who killed him. Maggie Stiefvater managed to set up a chilling introduction which hooks the reader into reading the rest of the book. From that point forward, the book switches point of view from Blue to characters such as the raven boys. As more characters are introduced, the story starts to thicken as it leads to the unexpected climax. The way the story plays out, it seems that Stiefvater gives puzzle pieces to the reader that form an elaborate picture.
As wonderful as the storyline and characters were, there were a few issues with this book. One, walking into this book, I was expecting something not necessarily happy, but something that wasn’t as dark as this book was. It liked to deal with the idea of death quite a bit. Two, I was extremely surprised with the amount of profanities and violent content in the book. Most of the profanities came from Ronan, the troubled member of the group, as well as the violent content. Three, a pet peeve of mine is when the author doesn’t describe what exactly the character looks like, then makes it up as he or she goes along. This happened a lot in The Raven Boys, specifically with Blue. Four, how slow the book became at certain parts is a problem. A small chunk of the book really slowed down the pace of the book, causing boredom when reading it. And five, unless you plan on reading the entire series, don’t read the first book. Questions are never truly answered in the first book, and are extremely infuriating because the cause such big problems for the characters.
In the end, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was a wonderful read with unexpected twists and turns. The likable characters mixed with an amazing storyline really portray what is to come for Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. The Raven Boys is the first book in the series by Maggie Stiefvater called The Raven Cycle. I highly suggest reading this book as quickly as you can, because I can almost guarantee that anyone will enjoy it.