Ghosts, Legends, and Layered Plots | The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 9/18/12
Pages: 409
Source: purchased
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Blue has always stayed away from the students of the all-boys school, they are always the same: jerks. However, when she finds out that a boy named Gansey is going to die soon, Blue needs to find out more. Gansey feels like he is so close to completing his life-long quest in discovering The Raven King, a man of legend. Joined by Blue, and his three best friends—Adam, Ronan and Noah—Gansey makes progress in finding the man he has been searching for so long.

Maggie Stiefvater

  • Confession: I have never read a book written by Maggie Stiefvater. I went into this book with little to no expectations. It has been recommended to me several times by several amazing individuals. I knew I was going to read it, based on their rave reviews of the series. And, thank you, for those recommendations because this is a book you should have read yesterday; the characters are amazing, the story is entertaining, and I just need to know more!
  • I was incredibly surprised how easy Stiefvater’s writing consumed me. The easy dialogue between characters, the fabulous descriptions of the setting and the curious plot had me turning pages like never before.
  • I cannot rave about her writing enough. Stiefvater places us right in the middle of these five lives that we get to piece together through development and situations. I kept getting the feeling that it was as if I knew these characters all my life. The character development was superb.

A Character-Driven Plot

  • Out of all the raven boys, I found myself most drawn to Adam. His character is wonderfully developed, his story is captivating and you just want to know more about him. He is also extremely sweet and gentle.
  • Ronan is a boy with secrets and as the series goes on, I hope readers get a bit more glances his way. He is strong and tough, with a secretive past that no one really knows the whole truth of. His character is intriguing and I’m excited to see what direction Stiefvater will have Ronan take in the sequel.
  • There were some scenes that lulled, especially in the beginning. It may have been the introduction of all the characters that seemed to go a bit slow. Readers do not truly get into the meat of the story until a hundred pages in. 
  • I couldn't help but wonder if Maggie Stiefvater was setting up the stage for Blue to either be in a love triangle or a love square. This is about to get messy, folks! I don't mind love triangles but when you add four people to the mix it does get a bit repetitive. Despite that, Blue’s romance was unpredictable. Stiefvater may be bringing in a love square but since Blue cannot kiss anyone, it makes for a different way to look at love interests. I liked it that way. Readers know from the start the potential of how it would end (if Blue were to kiss anyone) but you don't know how Blue’s romance (and between whom) will begin.
  • This series is going to be very character-driven. All the characters are very well written and developed. It'll be fun to see what crazy things they do next.

Chilling and Peculiar

  • Presently, I usually go into books blind so I always know very little about the plot. However, I didn’t realize I knew a little more about the book before going into it. The trees speak Latin. I've been seeing merchandise for that quote in so many stores around the web and didn't know where the quote was from. Now I know. I don't think seeing the merchandise spoiled me. However, I feel that if I didn't know the trees had already spoke Latin, I do think I would be a little more spooked out than I was. A lot of the scenes in The Raven Boys are rather creepy, the tone has a sort-of energy that weighs you down. The Raven Boys is the book that you read on a dark and stormy night. It has a chilling, peculiar plot that will give you shivers up your spine.
  • The Raven Boys was entirely unpredictable. I didn’t know what direction it would go in. The climax was fantastic with incredible action that kept me on my toes. However, knowing the series’ book titles, I can certainly guess what will happen by book four, The Raven King.
  • I was expecting a horrid cliffhanger and was extremely surprised to not find one. It ended on a high note. It may have not been a cliffhanger but I cannot wait to read the sequel. 


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was absolutely fantastic with in-depth characters that make you fall in love, a gorgeous story that throws you right into the action, and a wonderful build-up to make you want more. This book is the first in The Raven Cycle series and I will definitely be continuing this one. The sequel, The Dream Thieves, is out and waiting for me to read what happens next to Blue and her boys. If you love legends, ghosts and layered plots, The Raven Boys is the book you need to read next.

The Raven Boys (9/18/12): 4 stars
The Dream Thieves (9/17/13): TBD
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (10/21/14): TBD
The Raven King (4/26/16): TBD

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