Dudes. First review of 2017, on board! <TBR Jar :: Introductions AND two of the previous reviews I did in 2016: TBR Jar :: “Reign of Shadows” TBR Jar :: “This Savage Song” — this was a new project, so I’m really hoping I can do a bunch in 2017.>>
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
First things first, I’m a little late to this party. I’m the one stumbling in at midnight, already drunk, and looking for nachos and/or a tall drink of water with brown eyes to cuddle up to while failing at beer pong. Essentially: this fandom has been around for a while and I’m just now experiencing it. So, pardon my excitement if you’ve already read the entire series and are thinking to yourself: Does she live in a cave?
I do, actually. Me and the dog. Just a big ole cave.
The Raven Boys rating: That first kiss where you bump into each others noses awkwardly then decide to give it a second try and: BOOM! You end up all woozy and deliriously happy when it’s over.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone or series? Series – Book 1 of 4
Setting: Henrietta, Virginia
Okay, honest talk time. I didn’t get what all the fuss was about at first. So, if you would’ve asking me in the beginning if I recommended it, I probably would have given you a pretty vague answer. Let me start with the things I liked right from the start:
- Blue (the female MC) and her familial household of female psychics. (So much texture & mixture of different personality types going on.) It held a bit of whimsical and a touch of out-there and ended up being pretty much adorable. The house has a way of feeling modern and magical at the same time. Very neat crew. The main element at play here is: Blue IS NOT psychic like the rest of the women. She is an amplifier – she basically “turns up the noise” for those around her.
- Being immediately thrown into the intensity of a mythological search and it doesn’t feel forced. (At least I didn’t think so; I find fantastical loonies to be sort of appealing.)
Then comes the boys…
Rich (mostly). Intelligent. Each with a different level of trauma in their lives and a “role” to play between the four of them. A square made up of contrasting egos. And all on the same search for something to fill the gap in their hearts. Think emotionally damaged frat boys with endless amounts of sarcastic wit and a bond similar to brothers. Gansey is sharp, dominant, and protective. Capable of slipping a polite, politician smile on his face and charming anyone. Adam is gentle and living off pure steam from a scholarship and three jobs. Yet, there’s a power hungry side of him which he hasn’t quite come to terms with. Noah is quiet and illusive; he has a way of disappearing and reappearing in the moments when he’s needed most.
And Ronan. Dear Lord. Ronan. Think a smartass who needs anger management + charcoal tattoos + a secret animal lover. After the death of his father, he’s just “not the same person” according to Gansey but he has moments of such loyal clarity it’s hard to dismiss him as outright evil. (Bet you can’t tell who my favorite of the boys is. I’m also more excited to see how he develops in book 2 than anyone!)
Tying in Blue: ever since she was young, it’s been foretold by every psychic (including her own mother) she would kill her true love.
(Insert ominous music.)
“She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness. It was the way she felt when she looked at the stars.”
Blue has never had the abilities her surrounding family does but on St.Mark’s Eve in the churchyard, she witnesses the walk by of her first spirit = a boy who will soon be dead.
WELL HELLO THERE GANSEY!
Thus begins an interesting spiral of events, connections, friendships, “romance” with the wrong choice (sorry, I firmly stand by that opinion), and knowledge between the Raven boys (the private school’s moniker & ironically a symbol of their search), Blue, Blue’s family, and enemies on all sides. The build up is slow but thorough – careful to showcase each character’s highlights and shadows. There is a connecting back story, unexpected tension, psychic terminology, and a lot of one particular Badass ’73 Orange Camaro. You can reach in the hat and pull out at any moment: ancient literature, classic cars, Steve Martin, mythology, baby birds, family abuse, tattoos, etc. Literally. Plethora.
**There’s some weirdness. I ain’t gonna lie. There were moments where I caught myself asking: “What the f*&!?” Seriously. A tad twisted, if you may. I hope the second book answers some lingering questions about the boys, their abilities, and one particular psychic. I feel the build of a love-triangle but I’m hoping it isn’t so. (Plausible deniability here. Sigh…I know it’s coming.)
Onto The Dream Thieves…