Once again I’m late to the party. Much like The False Prince, I picked up The Raven Boys an entire year after hearing about how great it was. I’ve given in to hype in the past, would I be let down again? To my delight, the answer turned out to be a huge NO.
A sleepy little town in Virginia has more going for it than you’d expect at first glance. Through the town runs a ley line – a track through the earth that’s said to contain mystical properties – and Blue’s family uses this line to their advantage. Blue’s presence heightens the psychic abilities of her family and she’s grown up being called upon when there’s a heavy decision to be made or a difficult reading to be done. Every year on St. Mark’s Eve she visits the local cemetery with her mother and jots down the names of the spirits her mother sees: the spirits of those who will die the following year.
An impromptu visit from an aunt (a renowned television psychic) sets Blue’s world into motion. Instead of accompanying her mother, this year Blue visits the cemetery with her aunt and finally sees a spirit on her own. To her surprise it’s a boy not much older than herself and dressed in the Aglionby uniform; definitely not the kind of boy Blue would be involved with. Not that she would be involved with anyone, mind you – her entire life she had been told that her true love would die from her kiss.
A chance run-in with the boy – Gansey – and his fellow private school friends opens the doors on a new world for Blue. A world of ancient kings, treasure seekers, and possibly love.
I’m so glad my friend let me borrow not only The Raven Boys, but also The Dream Thieves. I haven’t yet read the sequel, but the moment I finished this book I knew I’d be diving into the second one soon – and the wait for the third will be a killer! From the get-go, I was worried that this book would be far too focused on the romance (from the very beginning we’re told Blue will kill her true love), but I was wrong. SO wrong.
While Blue is certainly a main character, the story lies with the Raven boys, the boys of Aglionby Academy. Gansey, the smooth-talking, Camaro-driving leader who yearns for adventure; Ronan, quick to raise a fist and barely scraping by with his schoolwork; Adam, the boy from the trailer park who’s only able to attend the school with the aid of a scholarship; and Noah, quiet and never fully there. These boys and their friendship were the backbone of this book and I loved them all. My heart broke several times over for Adam, Noah was intriguing – particularly as I got farther in, I wanted to shake some sense into Ronan, and absolutely loved the way Gansey lit up at the thought of adventure. These boys were magical and raw and real.
Blue’s story and the boys’ weave together perfectly and I loved her inclusion in the group. Much like Adam, Blue was able to bring a voice of reason and some balance to these boys and Gansey’s insistence on calling her Jane made me giggle every single time.
I only had one teensy tiny complaint. In the beginning chapters Maggie’s overabundance of similes and too-clever wording didn’t sit well with me. These awkward, stilted sentences were prevalent enough that I took notice. Thankfully, however, they all but vanished as the story progressed.
This is the type of review that I hate writing – the reviews for books I loved with every shred of my being, to the very depths of my soul. There’s nothing I could say that would do The Raven Boys any justice. My original review looked like this:
which just about sums it up, really.
If you’re a fan of adventure, mythology, friendship, and a bit of magic, The Raven Boys is a must-read! I spent over a week with this novel – not because it was bad, but because I didn’t want it to end.