The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) – Maggie Stiefvater

The is book is so great! So great that I read the entire series (other than the forthcoming Raven Cycle Book IV) and no less than 5 of Maggie’s other works (The Scorpio Races, Shiver, Linger, Forever, Sinner and Lament) back to back over the next week. I like to call it Stief-Fever. Which, after dropping Stief-Fever on GoodReads multiple times, either no one has noticed my wittiness, or I’m a whole lot lamer than I thought.

I suspect it is the latter.

Anyway, in The Raven Boys, we are introduced to Blue Sargent, a 16 year old girl living in a house of crazy with several female psychics, one of whom is her mother. And, living in a house with psychics comes with having to live with the knowledge of  the foretold prophecy that one day she will kill her true love.

Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys because they were bastards. 

But, Blue is about to get up close and personal with the ‘Raven Boys’ (so named for the school emblem), since, as part of a ritual with her Aunt, Blue sees the ‘spirit’ of one of these bastard Aglionby boys.

There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.

And because this story is told from multiple POVs, we get inside the heads of the Raven Boys themselves – Gansey (bae) Adam, Ronan and Noah. And, getting in their heads, is just so good!

Blue was a fanciful, but sensible thing. Like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party. 

On the surface, they are arrogant boys of privilege and little actual worth, but, we soon find out that the boys are less interested in their fancy Ivy League school and wealth, and more interested in locating the resting place of Welsh King Owain Glyndwyr, who has been sleeping beneath the Ley Lines that surround Henrietta, Virginia , for 1000 years.

The way Gansey saw it was this: if you had a special knack for finding things, it meant you owed the world to look. 

Blue soon joins the Boys’ quest after the discovery of Richard Gansey III’s own journal and the realisation that Gansey is the boy she saw as a spirit on St Mark’s eve, the night the spirits of those slated to die in the next 12 months will pass through the church yard.

The journal and Gansey were clearly long acquainted, and he wanted her to know. This is me. The real me. 

But, they are not the only ones looking to awaken the Ley Lines, there is another, and he isn’t afraid to use ritualistic sacrifice to achieve his goal. Spoiler: he has done it before.

“Oh! Your hand is cold.”
“I’ve been dead for seven years, that’s as warm as they get.”

This book is full of the paranormal and the occult, stuff I love. But, it was the characters that had me hooked on this series. I love how the boys ostensibly have their own reasons to awaken the Ley Lines and the missing King. I love how they all have a disconnect from their family’s, but find a family in each other anyway. And how Blue, having never known her father and never really fit in with her  mother and the other psychics, finally finds acceptance and family with the unlikely Raven Boys.

Adam wasn’t certain what came first with Blue – her treating the boys as friends, or them all becoming friends. It seemed to Adam that this circular way to build relationships required a healthy amount of self confidence to undertake. And, it was a strange sort of magic that it felt like she’d always been hunting for Glendower with them.

I love that this story makes me FEEL things, that from the first chapter, you know this series will break your heart, but you have to read it anyway.

She recognised 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. 

Really FKN good. 4.5 Stars.


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