Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater


5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

This is one of those few books that I’d heard was good, seen on a lot of blogs, but never really knew what it was about. Even when I ordered it from the library, I still didn’t quite have a clear picture of the story. And to be honest, I’m glad that I picked this one up because of the reviews and ratings rather than the blurb – it sounds like a typical, Young Adult paranormal romance, but it’s so much more than that. In fact, the romance barely comes into it.

Blue’s family – all female – are psychics, or have some sort of supernatural powers, except for Blue herself. Instead, she is like an amplifier, making the gifts of the rest of her family stronger. While this doesn’t seem like much, it plays quite an important part later in the story.

Through a series of events, Blue ends up hanging out with some of the ‘Raven boys’ – the nickname for boys from a local private school, so called because of the Raven on their school crest. The characters are all very different from one another, and work together nicely. There is Adam, from a poor background and who has worked incredibly hard to get where he is, privileged Gansey, who doesn’t think about money at all but concentrates all his efforts on the search for Glendower, and Ronan, an angry, misunderstood boy with family problems. And then finally Blue, the protagonist, who is a bit quirky, and despite a supernatural family, very much with her feet firmly on the ground.

The weaving of the Welsh mythology into the story was a nice touch, but I would have preferred more information on it, so perhaps that will be something for the next book. I am a little afraid that the tagline – ‘If you kiss your true love, he will die‘ – might put some readers off, as it implies the sort of insta-love many of us have come to hate in Young Adult books, particularly as this one is of the paranormal persuasion. But that was one of the things I really liked about this book – Blue’s first impression of the boys is not love, lust or even any sort of interest. She dislikes them instantly, because of their flashy ways and arrogant manners. It is this, that despite the book’s paranormal theme, makes the story all the more┬ábelievable.

Finally, the book ends far too abruptly. It doesn’t even really feel like a cliffhanger, more like a chapter got cut in half. Which of course means I will be reading the next one – and I encourage you all to read the first!