It’s been a while since our last book review, so it’s time for another one. I did not know about Maggie Stiefvater until I came across her on twitter. I followed her for a while, but never really picked up any of her books for whatever reason. When I was in London a few weeks ago, I went to a bookstore (as you do) and came across The Raven Boys. I had read about this series and I figured why not give it a try?
The cover was beautiful and the blurb, while slightly predictable, seemed interesting. I do love a good Paranormal romance, so I was excited to give it a try. Yet, I was slightly disappointed by this novel when I finally finished it. It took me longer than usual to read this book. I didn’t feel like The Raven Boys lived up to the hype set by the book community. I will explain why.
What is The Raven Boys about?
“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.
The first thing I have to say about this novel, is that it is obviously a set up for more books. That in itself is not a problem, if the first book actually delivers. But I felt like I read another book than was advertised on the back of the novel. Once again, that does not have to be a bad thing. The problem with The Raven Boys is that it has many good elements, but it is just too slow. For the first 100 pages, I was very much considering to put it down and never read it again.
While Stiefvater’s writing is beautiful, at times all the poetic language is a bit of a drag to read. The middle of the book was more exciting and then nothing happened again before things got more exciting. Near the end, I finally got excited again. Only to have the book end with the most anti-climatic ending. The entire time, we’re promised a big finale only to have it end in a confusing series of events that’s not nearly as exciting as it could be. And let’s not mention the open ending. The first novel in a series should never have such an open ending. It frustrates me, can you tell?
Great character development
Despite the fact that the book was so incredibly slow, it does have amazing characters. It has been a while since I’ve read a book which had such well-rounded characters. They all felt real. They all had their own demons they had to face. The friendship between the main characters felt so real. Which makes it all the more frustrating that I could not get into the series. These are characters I would have loved to get to know better but I just wasn’t invested enough in the story to keep reading. But I loved most of these characters.
I did feel our main female character Blue was set up to be too much of a special snowflake, but she had her good moments. I really enjoyed Adam as a character, as he did not fit in because of his background but was determined to make a name for himself. And Ronan, who did show quite a lot of teenage angst and anger, but turned out to be one of the best characters in the book.
I also enjoyed some of the side characters. Persephone and Calla, Blue’s psychic aunts, were especially hilarious.
Will I finish the series?
I don’t know. I am not sure I am willing to invest my time in finishing a series that does not feel as exciting as it should be. The only reason why I would continue reading it is because of these characters. I just feel like it could have been so much more. Stiefvater is undeniably a skilled writer and the plot is well-thought out. It just didn’t do it for me. So I am conflicted on this one. Perhaps I will finish reading the series in the end, but not in the near future.