Modern Fantasy · Review · Young Adult

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterSynopsis from Inside Cover:

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

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as 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, and he’s a rich student at Algionby, 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 though 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.

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.


Blue Sargent, daughter of a psychic but who is curiously not psychic, has always been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love with a kiss. Then one St. Mark’s Eve, she sees the ghost of the boy she will kill. But Blue is drawn to the boy, Gansey, and his friends: Adam, Ronan, and Noah. They’re on a quest to find the nearest ley line and a missing dead king. As they delve deeper into the sinister, magic and danger and death become more of a reality.

It took me a long time to get through Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, but I love it. The book first caught my eye at Wal-Mart years ago, but I never bought it. After hearing so many references on BookTube to the Raven Cycle, I decided to try reading it. In the fall, I tried listening to the audiobook, and I didn’t finish it before the library loan ended. I borrowed the hardcover from the library last month and finally read it. I think I couldn’t get through the audiobook because I would want to listen to it while I was walking or riding the bus, and if I was distracted for a moment, I missed paragraphs and scenes. I think part of why it took so long to read the print book was Steifvater’s style of writing. So much of YA immediately starts with action, and Steifvater builds up to it in interesting ways. I’m so used to there being immediate action that I’m unused to a good build up. It’s hard to find that slower build, even Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone works up to Harry finding out someone is trying to kill him.

Gansey, Blue and Adam develop the most. Gansey tries to not come off as superior after Blue tells him that he acts that way. Blue dives deeper into the mystery of Henrietta and rebels against her mother’s orders to stay away from the Raven Boys. Adam gives up his pride.

The world-building is great. Blue’s psychic family is introduced first. The Raven Boys’ hunt for Glendower and the ley line is introduced next. The world is put together very well, and I love that the research into the ley line picks up when Blue offers them a clue. It’s also amazing how quickly they all became friends.

I found two themes. One is that everything is circular. Adam thinks about how their friendship with Blue blossomed. Was she friends with Adam first, or was she friends with the Raven Boys first? Time is circular and fluid. And in trying to avoid a spoiler, two of the Raven Boys and a villain are tied together over a period of many years. In a way, history repeats itself. Another theme is pride. Each Raven Boy and Blue hold pride in what they do. For example, Blue refuses to allow any of them to buy something for her because she feels she is being pitied. Adam does the same but he also won’t leave a bad situation because he wants to prove he can get out of it himself and because he wants to be a rags-to-riches person.

It’s very easy to put yourself in the scene. Her descriptions of character’s countances or expressions are superb. An example of this is when she describes Adam’s behavior while he was in Gansey’s car. “When he sucked in his breath, it was the ragged sound that came from trying not to cry” (352).

The cover is beautiful. The raven fits the mystery and haunting-feeling. I love the painted wings. I also like the drawing from Gansey’s journal being in the background of the title and at the start of every chapter. Thank you to Adam S. Doyle (jacket artist) and Christopher Stengel (jacket designer) for the beautiful cover.

I recommend this novel to fans of paranormal and fantasy fiction. If you like shifting perspectives, this will probably be a great book for you. I liked it enough that I want to own it.

Genres: Paranormal YA

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

2 thoughts on “The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I liked the Raven Boys too ^^ now that you mention it, those two themes fit perfectly with the story! The next two books get better and better in my opinion ^^

    Liked by 1 person

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