THE RAVEN BOYS
BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER
Contains: death, physical abuse, language
Series: Book 1 (check out my review of Book 2, Dream Thieves, next!)
“They didn’t even have the authority to choose an alcoholic beverage. They couldn’t be deciding who deserved to live or die.”
Review by SuddenButInevitable
Hey look! A review for a first book in the series. This is really all Bronto Incognito’s fault because she takes me to the Book Festivals and gets me excited for the new books coming out that are all series books and yes. We’re going to blame her.
Side note from Bronto Incognito: I feel no shame in this. You should SEE the books I own that I haven’t read yet….
As I stated in my review of The Dream Thieves, I didn’t really like this book the first time through. There are a ton of characters that need to be kept track of. The four raven boys, a teacher, a mentor, Blue, and Blue’s family of five psychics. And one of these people, (possibly two) is an antagonist. Each chapter focus one group, either the raven boys (and sometimes Blue), and then Blue’s family (and sometimes a raven boy), and the teacher gets a chapter here and there. This maneuver helps move the story along, but it is still a really slow story.
So, back to why I didn’t like this the first time around. It really reads like contemporary fiction. And even when we start the book with the psychics, it just doesn’t stay in my mind that this has a supernatural twist. I also maintain the fact that this story was cut and/or elongated to fit a 4 book series. There is so much that goes on in this book that is referenced in the next 2 that I’d completely forgotten about. So I enjoyed my ‘ah ha!’ moments. It’s also easier for me to figure out who’s who on the cover. I swear I couldn’t do it when I first read the book and kept switching them around so I never got a good idea of what everyone looked like. Adam is first, he stares at Gansey, who is second. Then Noah, looking like an emo kid rejects (who is described in the book on several occasions as “smudgy”…who describes characters this way? Maggie Stiefvater… who is trying desperately to tell us something), and the easiest of the bunch, Ronan.
The next book, The Raven King comes out in April I believe. And I truly believe that I’ll have to read all three books prior to it coming out again just to catch myself up with what’s happening because there is so much that is hinted at that has a major part in books after.
Follow along as the Blue and her boys get together, fight, and eventually start actually finding things in Cabeswater, where the trees speak Latin. What, haven’t brushed up on your Latin lately? Don’t worry. The book will translate.
Spoilers ahead as I explain the Raven Boys!
I didn’t remember why Gansey was looking for Glendower, the Welsh King when I reviewed the second book. I’d forgotten that it’s because Gansey was granted a second chance in life. Living because someone else was dying along the ley line when that shouldn’t have happened. So Gansey’s obsessive need to find Glendower is really a way for him to show that he’s worthy of that second chance and leave a mark on this world. And that’s why he’s so willing to give a second chance to others. It’s no secret that I love me some Gansey. He tries so hard not to be the stereotypical rich kid, but can’t quite make it happen.
Ronan remains a mystery at this point. Though, his last line is the foundation of the 2nd book. And is quite the ‘What the heck?’ cliffhanger. He’s in this book but doesn’t play a major part. They keep bringing up his brother Declan but so far Declan hasn’t done anything but start fights, I’ll be interested to see what larger part he has to play.
Noah. Whose first line is basically, ‘well I’m dead, so my cold hands are as warm as I get’ is still this weird plot device who comes and goes. But if you take the emo kid on the cover as Noah, this is exactly the angsty weirdo comment you expect someone like that to make. So you aren’t sure whether or not to actually believe him. There’s more reason for him to be in this book than the second one. I won’t spoil the surprise. He doesn’t, as I misremembered in the second book review, die in this book.
Adam is what I would call the main protag in this book. Or he’s the one with the story that I most like following. His home life is rough. Abusive dad, mom who it appears isn’t abusive so much as lets it happen and there’s some definite victim blaming going on. I bring this up for the fact that Adam finally does something about the abuse and decides to press charges against his dad. It is a wonderful and heartbreaking scene. And I feel for Adam and Gansey who are just trying to help out.
On a serious side note, if you are being abused, speak out. Tell someone. And not someone that’s looks at you and says, well, you must have done something to set your abuser off. If that happens, keep talking until someone listens. *steps off soapbox*
I enjoyed the way that story has played out over the course of the series. While I adore Adam’s need to do things his own way and not to accept the charity of others, I believe that pride is what ultimately hurt Adam and those around him.
So, as I said. I really like this series. I like that there was so much research done. I like that there is a distinct difference between how Gansey handles things as a rich kid and Adam who has never had any money to speak of and is working 3 jobs (and magically has all this time to go wandering around in the wilderness looking for magical ley lines… but whatever) I like that this book is such a big arc. I just wish I was able to read it that way and not have to stop and wait between books. I feel it would be more effective. Or maybe I’m just so used to authors spelling things out for me I’ve gotten lazy in remembering things. Thanks for sticking with me through my really long review! Stay tuned for The Raven King at the end of April. You can bet I’m pre-ordering that one!
SuddenButInevitable – who has started a Pinterest board just for the book fandoms she finds herself suddenly a part of. You can follow me too, and be spoiled for my reviews that are coming up.