ARC Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Posted September 12th, 2012 in book review / Leave a comment

The Raven Boys

Book #1 of the Raven Cycle Series

by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press (Sept 18, 2012)
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: Paperback (409 pages)
Source: Won in Goodreads Giveaway
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ½☆☆☆ (1.5 stars)

“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.

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At a Glance

At first, I gave up on this book page 50. But then bookish friends kept telling me to give it a little more time to grow on me. I was hopeful since The Raven Boys actually has a great overall rating on Goodreads, but alas, after reading the whole book, I have found that The Raven Boys was NOT for me.

The Good
I found the love triangle between Blue, Gansey, and Adam to be pretty cute. They all intrigued me for different reasons and I enjoyed reading about their interactions.

This is the most innocent YA book I have ever read. The most we get is hand holding, so I would say this is a great book for a younger crowd. However, the book is more complex and interwoven in a way that might be a little confusing to the youngins (Heck yeah, I just used the word youngins, that’s how I roll). It also covered some dark topics but Maggie handled them nicely.

I did enjoy when the Raven Boys and Blue went on their little adventures. I never knew what to expect. And there is something that will shock you about one of the boys. I did not see that coming.

The Bad
Where do I start? I am soooo not a fan of Maggie’s writing style. The writing is confusing and way too complex. I don’t want to have to work to understand what I am reading. It took me 100 pages to get the gist of who was who and what was what.

The book drags for the longest time. It took me forever to get into it then it starts to drag again. I will admit, I finally started skimming a couple pages in some chapters.

Dialogue was constantly interrupted by paragraphs and paragraphs of useless information and backstory. By the time we get back to the dialogue, I ‘ve forgotten what the conversation was even about.

Then we get to read about unimportant actions the characters do. As a reader, all we need to know is that Blue walked out the door not that she stood up, walking the 20 feet to the door, put her hand on the knob, turned the knob, swung the door inward… This is probably an exaggeration but you get my point. That is such needless description and action.

Maggie breaks a huge “rule” in writing. She interrupts the action with more mind-numbing description and backstory. How am I suppose to be scared and feel the suspense when the author stops the momentum to give me a history lesson?

Though the writing style is what made me dislike the book the most, the plot was also somewhat boring. The characters were intriguing but the story itself made me want to put the book down or skim. Most of the time, I kept forgetting what these kids were even doing or what they were looking for.

Then, by the end, a huge part of the plot wasn’t even resolved. Look at the beginning of this post for the summary from the book. You would consider it to be addressing the main plot, right? Nope. The whole book is about the kids finding the burial site of a medieval noble, Glendower, who will grant the person who awakens him a favor. But by the end, we get nothing about Blue and Gansey and their doomed fate. And we only get a small conclusion when it comes to finding this Glendower guy.

The Snuggly
This is a lily-white book when it comes to romance. The only controversial part of The Raven Boys is the physical abuse we witness.

I will not be reading the rest of this series. The writing style and story were not my cup of tea. However, take into account that a huge number of people are loving Maggie’s new book. So buying The Raven Boys will have to be a personal judgement call on your part. If you have read a Stiefvater book before and loved it, then maybe this book will interest you more than it did me. But when it comes to my opinion, this is NOT recommended.

“If you don’t tell me not to see them, I don’t have to disobey you,” Blue suggested.

“This is what you get, Maura, for using your DNA to make a baby,” Calla said.

Maura sighed. “Blue, I know you’re not an idiot. It’s just, sometimes smart people do dumb things.”

Calla growled, “Don’t be one of them.”

“Persephone?” asked Maura.

In her small voice, Persephone said, “I have nothing to add.” After a moment of consideration, she added, however, “If you are going to punch someone, don’t put your thumb inside your fist. It would be a shame to break it.”

“Okay,” Blue said hurriedly. “I’m out.”

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