Well, friends, I only read one book this week...but that's because I got so into it, I wanted to take my time and enjoy it. If you've been following me for a while, you probably know about my immense love for The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. And I think anyone who's been following any book blogs for any amount of time recently has heard about her new book, The Raven Boys. My copy came in the mail about a week ago, and it is SO BEAUTIFUL. And tonight, I am happy to report that the story lives up to its gorgeous outsides.
|This is how I felt after reading The Raven Boys: Excited, and slightly crazed with glee. The last line is a real doozy.|
This is actually only the second of Maggie's books that I've read. After reading The Scorpio Races, I was kind of afraid to read more of her books because I loved it SO MUCH, you know? The Scorpio Races was one of those books that just felt like it was expressly designed to become one of my favorite books of all time. The series she's best known for is about werewolves...and while I've been told it's not like other werewolf series, and I really truly believe that because she's so amazing, I've been slow to pick it up. (I do own the first book in the series...and I will read it. Soon. Really.) But with The Raven Boys, I was pretty confident, because several months ago an excerpt went up online and it blew me away. So when it arrived, I dug in with much anticipation. Happily, it did not disappoint. I have a hunch that I won't love Maggie's other books in quite the same way that I loved The Scorpio Races, for a bunch of big and small reasons but especially because of the horses. But all the things that made it such a compelling read, and one that I recommend widely, are present in The Raven Boys. It's been a while since I felt so completely engaged by a book.
Anyway, here's my Goodreads Review. I did my best to be coherent, but really--pick up a copy. There's a great heroine, awesome secondary female characters, and the best crew of teenage guys I can think of in any book, ever.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well, I'm gonna go ahead and make it official: Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite author. This book took me a whole week to read because it was so rich with detail and life and I didn't want it to end. Reading a book by Maggie Stiefvater is like watching The Wire--you may start out a little disoriented because the world you're dropped into has so clearly been existing without you forever, but you slowly get acclimated and sucked in and by the end it feels like you've always lived there. Every sentence is its own tiny beautiful thing, which makes the experience of reading very different from a book like The Hunger Games where every sentence is sleek and trim and pushes the story ahead faster and faster. I don't think either is better than the other, but I think it's hard to do either very, very well. Maggie Stiefvater does her thing very, very well.
But what is it about? Blue, daughter of a psychic (properly, the child in a family of psychics, although not a traditional nuclear family) doesn't have power she can use herself, but she does amplify the energy around her. She's also the subject of a persistent psychic reading: if she kisses her true love, he will die. Gansey, wealthy private school student, is hunting for a Welsh king rumored to be in a magical sleep; whoever wakes him will receive a favor. The rest of the Raven Boys--so called because of the Raven crest on their school sweaters--have formed a family of their own, largely because of Gansey's inimitable something that holds them together. Adam is doing his best to get by on his own terms in the world he aspires to earn a place in. Noah is quiet, shy, and seems uncomfortable in his own skin. And Ronan is desperate and angry after his father's sudden and mysterious death. When Blue becomes entangled with the Raven Boys, all of their lives suddenly become amplified in ways they never expected.
This is the first book in a planned series, so while there's a ton of mystery, excitement, suspense, and world-building, there aren't a ton of answers. There's also not a ton of romance, although some groundwork is laid. Since Blue really can't kiss anyone without being worried about killing them, things move pretty slowly. I think, though, that if you go into this book expecting a well-told, well-crafted story, with characters you won't soon forget, you'll enjoy this one and look forward to the rest. I probably wouldn't recommend it to a struggling or reluctant reader, but for my students who are on the cusp of being ready for adult literary fiction, this would be a really good read (Hey former students reading my reviews: I mean you guys. READ THIS.)
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