I know this review is long in coming, but first, MERRY CHRISTMAS! I’m so excited to enter my favorite season. That said, let’s get into the review.
My Raven Cycle love began when I, bored, and half inspired by a recent review I’d read on one of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, wandered to the YA section of the library and plucked a book off the shelf. As you may or may not know, I have an obsession with all things ancient, legendary, mythological, and especially Irish. I knew the legend of the Raven King was Welsh. Close enough.
I pulled the Raven Boys down from the shelf, opened it to page one, and landed in Henrietta, Virginia.
I have to say, every single detail of the Raven Boys from page one was pure bliss to read. Here are a few things Stiefvater excelled at in particular; authors, take notes 😉 (I mean, seriously. Her work was so well crafted that, as a writer, I found it painful to read knowing how hard she must have worked on all of it…)
- Description. Stiefvater is a master of description. When you read the Raven Boys, pay close attention to the detailed, specific, beautiful way she describes things. Powerful description depicting different places—Aglionby, Henrietta, Blue’s house, Nino’s, really brought me into the Raven Cycle universe. Each place she described was real and memorable, and joy to read. Part of reading a book is escaping into a different world, and the Raven Boys did a 100% perfect job with this.
- Characters. This was one of the things I loved MOST. Every single character had their own unique appearance, attributes, way they spoke, flaws, mannerisms—they were REAL. From Blue’s painted-canvas trees in her room to the memorable way Adam kept change in a cereal box—everything they did reflected who they were and stayed flawlessly consistent. A few more things I enjoyed reading about were Gansey’s mint plant and smell, Ronan’s tattoo, the flowers Orla got from her lovers.
- It worked (plot?). I honestly don’t know how to describe it other than this, but the way that Stiefvater foreshadowed and mentioned things that were later to become relevant—just worked. How she did it, I have no idea. But the way Whelk—and Aglionby—and Ronan’s “creating things”–were all mentioned before they became clear were perfect. Flawlessly perfect.
- Purpose. One of the best things about this very awesome book was how the purpose—the goal, the aim—of the story wasn’t your cliché, bad-guy-wants-to-take-over-the-world story. It was different; first of all, based on a myth—so that made it more interesting and realistic—and it was more like the characters were proactively doing something rather than stopping someone. You have to read it. You just have to. In addition, the highly intriguing prediction about Blue killing her true love kept me reading—though I appreciated how the whole story wasn’t a romance.
- One of the most intriguing storylines, characters, situations, and goals I’ve ever seen in a book. It just all melded together perfectly to create a riveting world, real and memorable characters, and wonderful book. It sort of, thanks, perhaps, to the Welsh myth it was based on, expanded your idea of what a traditional story could look like. It made the world of fantasy more real and relatable and imaginable.
All around, the Raven Boys is definitely 4.99999 out of 5 stars. My problem?
The only thing I felt that perhaps was unnecessary was the excess of strong language used. I can understand how swearing is part of Ronan’s personality, but everybody? Seriously? It just didn’t go with their characters and only made the book seem like it was trying to attract the attention of your normal average interested with bad stuff kid. *shudders * Otherwise, it is a perfect, beautiful, amazing, awesome book and I insist you read it Right. Now. This short review isn’t enough to do justice to how amazing the book is and how hard Stiefvater must have worked…Stay tuned for Review #2: Dream Thieves!