The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautifully written story by Maggie Stiefvater, the Raven Cycle follows Blue and the Raven Boys on their journey to discover Glendower and the inherent magic in their small town of Henrietta, West Virginia.
I loved the use of magic, psychics, and legend to create this world where the characters know of magic but are unable to wield such magic themselves (so far), and that while Blue is from a family of psychics and has her own powers, she is not a psychic herself. It keeps a level of mystery and awe to the events that happen throughout the book.
The relationships between the characters is probably one of my favourite aspects of the book. The way Blue relates to her mother and the women of her home, the way Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah connect to each other and connect to Blue, and the way Whelk connects to the Raven Boys is all well done and fascinating. It was intriguing at first, but as they get more into the magic of Henrietta and more involved with the search for Glendower, the more intricate and complicated their relationship become and the more I was pulled into the story. As for the relationships of Adam-Blue-Gansey: whichever reviewers stated there was a passionate love triangle was way off the mark and obviously didn't read the same book I did. There is an attraction and flirtation between Blue and Adam, which read very realistically, as well as an interest in the enigma that is Gansey, but there are definitely no passionate love triangles. Thank goodness.
I was especially impressed with the handling of Adam's home life and the way his father affected Adam and his relationship to the boys, Blue, and his schooling. It was handled in a matter that was both delicately approaching the situation, but also described quite graphically to the point that I felt sick during Adam's final confrontation with his father. I felt it portrayed some very realistic thoughts and emotions, but at the same time refrained from glamorizing the situation or exploiting it. Also, the way the boys discussed the situation and the way Blue reacted when she learned the truth of Adam's home life felt very genuine. The subject matter was handled very well.
My main complaint about the book was the frequent switches of POV. It didn't always transition smoothly, and Whelk's POV is jarring to try to slip in to the entire novel. I understand why it's there, the function is very clear, but it didn't flow as well as the rest of the book.
The setting of Monmouth was a fascinating place, but there were some questions I had. Is there a shower? Is there a kitchen area? It seems like the setting can be fleshed out a bit more. For example, I feel like I understand the layout of Blue's house, the woods, and Gansey's Camero, but Monmouth remains a mystery despite the amount of time spent there. View all my reviews