Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle, #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 12th 2012
Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys is one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve reread it several times, written a love-letter to its character for a fellow blogger’s Valentine’s Day themed feature, generally push the book on other bloggers whenever I can, and can spend hours discussing the magic within its pages. I had a very brief review of the book on my blog written in my preblogging days that really didn’t do justice to the novel. I had the opportunity to reread The Raven Boys before the final installment’s release, so thought it was about time I did a proper review of it. The Goodreads synopsis above, in my opinion, over simplifies what the novel is about. The romance takes a backseat to the characters’ quest and I’d argue that the romantic relationships are secondary to the platonic ones. Every character is developed enough that this novel could be about them and each has their own struggles, insecurities, and dreams.
Richard Gansey III’s ambition to find the missing Welsh king Glendower is at the center of the series. The unofficial leader of the group, Gansey’s life has been one of privilege, but his eccentric interests set him apart. While he sometimes lacks self-awareness, when it comes to his friends, his heart is always in the right place. He understands how the world sees him, a boy who has been handed everything and part of the reason he wants to find Glendower is to prove that he is capable of earning something of his own. Ronan Lynch is in a word, caustic. He’s blunt, rough-edged, and determined to show everyone he can’t be touched. This is only partially true. Ronan can be resentful, belligerent, and irresponsible, but he is more than what he shows outsiders. Much of his rebellious behavior can be traced back to the murder of his father and the unanswered questions he left behind.
Adam Parrish is a character that you can immediately sympathize with. Unlike Gansey and Ronan, he didn’t grow up with money. Determined to make it on his own, Adam will do anything to forge his own path. His ambition, and the resentment he feels toward those who want to lend him a helping hand, is bred from the powerless role he plays in the relationship with his father. Noah is probably the most enigmatic of the Aglionby boys. He’s quiet and sometimes goes entirely unnoticed amongst this group of large characters, but there’s a vulnerability to him that draws you in.
Blue Sargent has spent her life surrounded by the paranormal. Living under a roof of psychics isn’t easy when your own gift seems to pale in comparison. Told that her destiny is to kill her true love, Blue has taken the endless predictions in stride. But when her path crosses with this particular group of raven boys, nothing is as easy as she once thought. Suddenly a new world of magic opens up to her and though she tries to guard her heart against the boys, she finds herself needing to be a part of their journey. She’s been defined by what she does for others, amplifying their psychic abilities, but longs for a calling of her own. Blue also comes with her own cast of unique women that make up her home of 300 Fox Way. Her mother Maura, as well as Maura’s close friends Calla and Persephone are a wonderful blend of strangeness, boldness, and whimsicality.
Historical, mythical and paranormal elements combine to create the unique atmosphere of The Raven Boys. Stiefvater’s story can be odd, funny, and sometimes eerie. Having read the subsequent books in the series, I can say that this novel is only the beginning of the evolution of these characters and Stiefvater continues to build on the relationships developed in this first book.