Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title:  The Raven Boys
Author:  Maggie Stiefvater
Series:  The Raven Cycle #1
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Publication Date:  September 18, 2012
Pages:  408
Format/Source:  Hardback/Gift from a friend and Audiobook/Freebie
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy, Paranormal 

“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.”

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.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)

Long Overdue…

This was my very first Maggie Steifvater.  I know–I call myself a YA fan, how can it be that I’m just now reading Maggie Stiefvater?  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, I just didn’t get around to reading one of her books until last month, when The Raven Boys was my book club’s June selection.  And I just have to say that Ms. Stiefvater did not disappoint.  

The book was not only really interesting and intriguing, but there were so many beautiful lines and wonderful descriptions.  In fact, some of my favorite parts of the book were the descriptions of all of the different characters near the beginning of the book.  I really feel like I knew these characters, like I could see and hear them and I really got a feel for who they were.  I think Stiefvater has a wonderful way with words, and she really has a handle on character development.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve read characters that fully fleshed out since Harry Potter.

And this book was full of my favorite: plot twists!  There were a few twists that I saw coming, but I still loved them, and there was one HUGE twist that I didn’t see coming at all and I LOVED it!  I also have theories as to future plot twists in the rest of the series.

A Few Bones to Pick…

The ending of The Raven Boys was really kind of weird to me, and all the girls in my book club felt the same way.  The ending kind of built up to be this huge thing and then it was just confusing and lackluster.  And I really wish that there would have been a bit more closure.  There’s one huge story arc and it doesn’t get resolved AT ALL in this story.  I guess it probably won’t be resolved until the last book, but it seemed like such a huge part of THIS book, so I was annoyed when it wasn’t resolved.

I also listened to a bit of the audiobook, and it didn’t go too well.  It was one of my first times listening to an audiobook–definitely the first time listening to a book that I was going to be reviewing for the blog–and it really threw me off for a bit.  I couldn’t concentrate, and I kept missing things so I’d have to hit rewind.  And then I just ended up reading all the parts I listened to anyway, because I felt like I missed too much.  I tried listening again later on in the book and it was a bit better, so I’m going to try some audiobooks again.  I’ve been told they’re hard to get used to at first, so I figure I should give them more of a chance.  But I do think that Will Patton did a good job narrating, and I can see how audiobooks give you a very different experience of the book.

Great Quotes…

I wrote down tons of fantastic lines from The Raven Boys, but here are just a few of my favorites:

“Tonight, the music was already loud enough to paralyze the finer parts of her personality.”

“More than anything, the journal wanted. It wanted more than it could hold, more than words could describe, more than diagrams could illustrate.”

“There is a 1973 Camaro in front of the house! It matches my nails!”

“When Gansey was polite, it made him powerful. When Adam was polite, he was giving power away.”

“But then he stopped without saying anything else.  It was a full stop, the sort that Gansey associated with secrets and guilt.  It was the stop that happened when you’d made up your mind to confess, but your mouth betrayed you in the end.”

My rating for The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater:

Actually 4.5 stars.  It might have been 5 stars if the ending had been different, but I’m looking forward to read the rest of the books in the series!

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ The Book Depository

You may also enjoy:  Blood MagicIntangible

Disclaimer:  I received a hardback copy of this book as a gift from a friend, and I downloaded the audiobook for free at Sync (thanks, Mandy and Sync!). I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. Jessie Marie

    July 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Review Twins! How exciting. : )

    I'm glad that a major point of departure for you was the lack of resolution because that drove me nuts. I had this ultimate sense of "I'm missing something…" when I reached the end, knowing full well that it was intended like that. So weird!

    But yes, Stiefvater is awesome and her character / scene descriptions are amazing. I was so transported during the scenes in the woods that I sort of forgot any other responsibilities I might have had. Oops!

    Glad you enjoyed this; sorry about your audiobook experience. I'm still in that trying it out phase myself so I totally get what you're saying.

    Lovely review!

  2. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    July 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I really enjoyed this one, too. I'm with you that the ending was a bit strange and lackluster, but I can't wait to dive into the second book and find out what happens next. This was actually my first book by this author, too. I did try to read Shiver years ago, but just couldn't get into it. Great review!

  3. Brandi Kosiner

    July 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I haven't started this series yet, but I meant to. The plot twists sound great, and glad you enjoyed

  4. fakesteph

    July 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I didn't love the audiobook for this one… give a different audiobook a try. Try The Magicians. I LOVED the narrator for that one and the book is crazy!!!!!

  5. Dana

    July 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I have the audiobook of this one too. I had checked it out from the library and then got the free copy from Sync. I've heard great things about it but for some reason haven't been all that interested in reading it. You make me want to read it to see what the ending lacked!

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