The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #1) ★★★★☆
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
When a book series receives as much hype as this I’m always wary that it’s going to be a let down. Fortunately that was not the case with The Raven Boys.
I was sucked into this story from page one – Blue in particular I loved straight away. I wasn’t actually expecting a main female character (I thought the focus was going to be solely on the Raven Boys) so she was a very welcome surprise. I really enjoyed her family’s backstory – hopefully we see more of them through the rest of the series.
I was thrilled when I discovered the Raven Boys obsession with Owain Glyndwr, a Welsh king. I don’t see Wales mentioned much in the novels I read, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a mention of Welsh history (or legends). The one bug bear I had was that the English version of the name is used throughout (although both are mentioned towards the beginning). Being so familiar with the Welsh I found it took me out of the story every time the name ‘Glendower’ used.
Overall, I was very close to giving this book 5 stars. However the ending felt kind of sudden, followed by a jump forward in time a few weeks without an explanation for what happened. Now this is the first in a series so I’m sure we’ll get answers later on, but as a reader it felt abrupt.
If I were to give half stars this would be 4.5. It definitely lives up to the hype and I’m really excited to carry on with the series. Highly recommend checking this out!