Review: The Raven Boys

Book: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Book 1 of 4 available through amazon, solid brick and mortar stockists ect.

This is another of my Booktube inspired buys. I have to admit that I probably would never have even glanced at this one twice if I were simply browsing in Waterstones, despite it being a YA fantasy. However, the rave reviews, and the inclusion of the series on practically every “you-should-read-this-series” video, and the awesome tagline piqued my interest.

If you kiss your true love, he dies.

In this world where love is given necessity status, that tagline definitely captured my attention. Although the blurb asserted that a romance would be present, even if through negation. I was still curious.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting psychics, ley lines and welsh legends. Love the design of the front cover though! The raven is impressive.

The night of St Mark’s eve finds teenager Blue Sargent sat on the wall of a graveyard next to one of her aunt, recording the names of the spirits passing: the spirits of people who will die that year. Normally, Blue can’t see them. Except that night, she saw one. A boy.

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

Made even more complicated by the fact that Blue has been told repeatedly by many members of the psychic community that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Adolescent Blue is quite happy staying away from boys, especially the ones who attend the wealthy private school, known as Raven Boys. However, Blue soon finds herself entangled with a small group of misfit Ravens, searching for magic and ley lines.

I’m not usually one for paranormal fantasy. In fact, I think the last paranormal series was probably Twilight back in the teenage suspect years where a literary bandwagon presented itself and I would read out of curiosity. Usually I prefer the more overtly fantastical. Like magical carnivals. Or Cinderella is a cyborg. Or magicians. Usually psychics would have slipped my notice. And if it weren’t for BookTube, I really wouldn’t have picked this one up.

It was good, not great. I liked the boys and how they grate on each others nerves in ways only a close knit group of friends can. Some pretty WTF plot twists that I didn’t really see coming. I love the psychic friends that make up Blue’s family. Especially Persephone. Just, they’re amusing. It’s also amusing how they all think they’re good at keeping secrets, especially Blue, but they’re really quite terrible.

The only thing I had an issue with was how Blue, poor and quirky and undeniably different, is paired with one of the Raven Boys, granted not the most affluent at first but you know that won’t last. Blue is romantically paired with the rich but emotionally broken boy. Very cliché. However, it was relatively well handled and the romance isn’t really played up in the present though I imagine it will become a bigger point in the following novels of the series.

So, despite the stereotypical romance plot, I did enjoy The Raven Boys and especially how Blue ends up finding friends in these weird boys. I have every intention of reading the next one and hopefully the whole series if only to find out the answers to some of the plot points because there is A LOT left unanswered. But if they were answered in the book there’d be no need for a series would there?

So, 3.5/5? That seems fair, it was good not overwhelmingly amazing but I still want to read the next one.

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