Jun 4, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

The Raven Boys cover“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 Goodreads

As many of you know, I am a pretty big fan of Maggie Stiefvater. Her Mercy Falls trilogy was amazing & while I was disappointed with The Scorpio Races, I naturally had to try The Raven Boys. With all the hype surrounding this book, I was surprised to find myself underwhelmed. That's not to say I didn't like the book because I definitely did, I just didn't quite realize what kind of a book I was going to be reading.

To say that this is a puzzling book would be imprecise. It's not that the book is too complicated, it's really just a very busy book. There is constantly something going on, so much so that I felt like I was constantly being pulled in first one direction, and then another. Add in the changing points of view, which really added to the story, and the supernatural element, and you've got yourself one heck of a story. What it all boiled down to though were the character interactions & overlap. There were so many layers of connectivity that at times I felt like I could anticipate who was going to say something next or at the very least predict their reactions.

I will say this, Maggie does an incredible job handling the amount of information she throws at you. Since this is obviously going to be a series, there was some ground information that had to be laid out in order for us to move forward. These basic rules & guiding principles allow us to follow along the constantly twisting plot line. They become fundamental when dealing with the supernatural elements. While we're rooted in the real world, when you start messing with these elements, there need to be predetermined rules for how our world interacts with the "other". Maggie is able to break things apart & disperse them at pivotal intervals rather than dumping everything on you at once and expecting you to remember it all. This allowed me to progress through the book at a more leisurely pace while I processed just what all had taken place.

Unfortunately I had trouble really identifying with any of the characters. While I felt like I could predict their actions & reactions at times, I didn't feel any emotional connection to any of them. They actually seemed kind of flat to me; rather than being the multi-faceted characters I've come to expect, they felt kind of calculable. That may just be my perception & it didn't really effect my feelings about the book, it just made it a bit difficult to get through at times because there wasn't any "need to know" driving force.

Overall I'd say it was just okay. I'm not dying to read the next installment, but I figure I'll pick it up at some point in time. Am I alone in my assessment or does anyone else feel the same way?


Bookworm1858 said...

I know I've seen some other reviews of people who were underwhelmed but this was her best book yet to my mind-I adored it!

loreleimarsh said...

I just think you really have to be in a particular frame of mind and I think I just wasn't there yet. I'm still very much looking forward to The Dream Thieves!