Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Book #: 1st of Series
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: September 18th 2012
Date Read: August 25th 2013
Rating: ★★★★★ / out of 5
And they were loud and triumphant and kings of Henrietta, because they found the ley line and because it was starting, it was starting.
Before you decide whether or not you want to read this, I strongly believe that the published summary so poorly depicts this book and what it is actually about. From the summary, there is a large focus on "love" and romance when, in fact, no romantic relationship really develops in this first book of the series. There is hand holding, but that is it, and it only happens at the most 3 times and is more for comfort than romantic feelings.
This story is not at all about "Blue finding true love and discovering that it is not impossible to do so" but rather Blue getting caught up in adventures and magic that will change her life forever. She does not fall in love. There is no "l-word" used. The story is so much more than that.
I decided to write my own summary which I feel does the book (and it's story) more justice:
In Henrietta, Virginia, Blue lives a very strange life in a house full of psychics- being the only one without an ability except to amplify the abilities of magical things around her. She longs for something more, even though a heavy fate hangs over her head, taunting her: Someone she meets this year will either be her true love, or she will be his killer.
Even more foreboding (and off limits) are the Raven Boys from Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has never wanted anything to do with them and their rich, stuck-up selves. But then Blue's life becomes entwined in the lives of four Raven boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah. They are nothing like the Aglionby boys she expected them to be and she soon find herself being included into the groups dynamic and very unlikely friendships ensue.
As Blue joins the boys on their quest for magic, she learns the possibility that there is something very secret and old buried in Henrietta. And Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah are not the only ones looking for it and that someone will stop at nothing to get there first.
Honestly, I am still having a hard time believing that the author who wrote this amazingly developed story, wrote Shiver.
As I stated in the note I made at the beginning of this review, I was very unhappy with the book's provided synopsis. I have a feeling they wrote it that way in order to appeal more to fans of Shiver. However, after reading the stories, you realize it just doesn't work that way. It is obvious that the plot of Shiver revolves around the romance, right from the start of reading the book. The plot of The Raven Boys, on the other hand, does hint at a romance at the beginning, but quickly develops into something different with no heavy focus on romance whatsoever.
I don't really have much to say about the story other than the fact that it is nothing like I expected it to be after reading Shiver. If this is how Maggie's writing has improved, I will gladly read anything else she writes from now on.
The dynamic between the characters was perfect, and they are truly wonderful to read about. They are each so well developed, individualized and so obviously different from each other that it sometimes makes you wonder how they can get along so well. But that's the magic (no pun intended) of it.
Yes, there is magic, a hunt for Glendower, friendship and a foreshadowing of death, romance and even more action in the next book.
Overall, this book is a real stunner, with great characters and a plot that leaves you reeling. If you were not a fan of Shiver because you thought the romance was cheesy and unrealistic, I would very highly recommend this book.
The way Gansey saw it was this: If you have a special knack for finding things, it meant you owed the world to look.
"Fate," Blue replied, glowering at her mother, "is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast."
"Everyone else," said Maura, "had breakfast a very long time ago."
Ronan's expression was still incendiary. His code of honor left no room for infidelity, for casual relationships. It wasn't that he didn't condone them; he couldn't understand them.
One day, she would live someplace where she could stand outside her house and see only stars, no streetlights, where she could feel as close as she ever got to sharing her mother's gift. When she looked at the stars, something tugged at her, something that urged her to see more than stars, to make sense of the chaotic firmament, to pull an image from it.
And just like that, Blue was done. She was, as Neeve pointed out, a sensible girl.
"What if I implement a no-pets policy at the apartment?"
"Well, hell, man," Ronan replied, with a savage smile, "you can't just throw out Noah like that."
"Being a shit in Latin isn't the way to get an A," Gansey said.
Ronan's smile was golden. "It was last year."
"Ah," he said, giving the light bulb a jerk. "Can we leave this anonymous?"
Maura said, "Were psychics, not strippers."
Maura whirled toward Blue. "Blue, if you ever see that man again, you just walk the other way."
"No," Calla corrected. "Kick him in the nuts. Then run the other way."
The poor are sad they're poor, Adam had once mused, and turns out the rich are sad they're rich.
And Ronan had said, Hey, I'm rich, and it doesn't bother me.
Success meant nothing to Adam if he hadn't done it for himself.
Gansey and Adam shared some sort of private conversation with their eyes. It was the sort of thing Blue was used to transpiring between her mother and Persephone or Calla, and she hadn't thought anyone else really capable of it. It also make her feel strangely jealous; she wanted something like that, a bond enough to transcend words.
Something inside him felt like the night, hungry and wanting and black.
Ronan was right. Things felt bigger. He may not have found the line, or the heart of the line, but something was happening, something was starting.
Today, Blue thought, is the day I stop listening to the future and start living it instead
"Because I'm not pretty. Not in the way that Aglionby boys seem to like."
"I go to Aglionby," Adam said.
Adam did not seem to go to Aglionby like other boys went to Aglionby.
"I think you're pretty," he said.
"While I was sitting outside with one of my half aunts."
This seemed to satisfy Ronan as well, because he asked, "What's the other half of her?"
"God, Ronan," Adam said. "Enough."
They also ate a lot of cheap food from convenience stores; this was Blue's fault.
Noah had decided immediately that he would do anything for Blue, a fact that would have needled Adam if it had been anyone other than Noah.
"We have to be back in three hours," Ronan said. "I just fed Chainsaw, but she'll need it again."
"This," Gansey replied, "is precisely why I didn't want to have a baby with you."
"You're always cold, though, Noah," she said.
"I know," he replied, bleak.
Adam wasn't certain what came first with Blue- her treating the boys as friends, or them all becoming friends. And it was a sort of strange magic that it felt like she's always been hunting for Glendower with them.
"I'm sorry. I should've told you I was going to do what you didn't want me to do."
Maura said, "That was not as satisfying as I imagined it would be."
"I'm just warning you, watch for the devil. When there's a god, there's always a legion of devils."
Gansey wished that he could be him, because Adam was so very real and true in a way Gansey couldn't ever seem to be. But Gansey's words had somehow become unwitting weapons, and he didn't trust himself to not accidentally discharge them again.
She tried to imagine being Gansey, seeing the warehouse for the first time, deciding it would be a great place to live, but she couldn't picture it. No more than she could imagine looking at the Pig and deciding it was a great car to drive, or Ronan and thinking he was a good friend to have. But somehow, it worked, because she loved the apartment, and Ronan was starting to grow on her, and the car...
Well, the car she could live without.
She asked, "Okay, wait, so why is Ronan at the library?"
"Cramming," Noah said. "For an exam on Monday."
It was the nicest thing Blue had ever heard of Ronan doing.
"Blue. My name's Blue Sargent."
Blue sighed. "Jane."
"Oh, Jane! I thought you were saying Blue for some reason."
Ronan, stilled weighed down with the luggage, headed across the floor toward Noah's room, saying "Ha. Ha. Ha." in time with his footsteps. It was the kind of laughing that came from being the only person laughing.
Being Adam Parish was a complicated thing, a wonder of muscles and organs, synapses and nerves. He was a miracle of moving parts, a study in surviving. The most important thing to Adam Parish, though, had always been free will, the ability to be his own master.
"Well," said Ronan, "I hope he likes it. I've pulled a muscle."
Gansey scoffed, "Doing what? You were standing watch."
"Opening my hood."
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