Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: September 18th 2012
Paperback, 408 pages
My Rating: ★★★★✩
There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, Blue. Either you’re his true love…or you killed him.
Every year, in late April, Blue Sargent accompanies her clairvoyant mother, Maura, to a churchyard where they watch the soon-to-be-dead walk past. Usually it’s just her mother that sees the spirits of people who will die within the next twelve months, but this year, Blue herself sees a spirit of a boy. The boy’s name is Gansey and he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. It is not long after this spiritual encounter that Blue crosses paths with the boy. Despite warnings that say Blue will cause her true love to die, she is inexplicably drawn to Gansey, and his quest that encompasses three other ‘Raven’ boys from Aglionby: Ronan, Adam and Noah. Soon, Blue finds herself caught up in a strange and sinister world full of magic, Welsh folk lore and prophecy.
Whoa. This book was damn near perfect. I didn’t have very high expectations for this series due to my underwhelming experience with Stiefvater’s other series, Shiver. After reading the synopsis for this book I thought, “Oh no, here’s another forbidden romance with teenage angst written all over it.” Oh how wrong I was! Even after just reading the first couple of pages I was committed.
I’ll make this really simple. What I loved about this book:
1) The characters
The characterization in this book is everything. It boasted a rather large cast of characters and yet each was beautifully crafted, unique, flawed, and likeable. The dynamic relationships between each of the characters was extremely interesting. And the banter between the Raven boys and between the psychics: hilarious and perfect.
2) The writing
Stiefvater is a master of the simple and complex. Her writing was accessible yet breathtaking, and it perfectly balanced the various twists and turns the story takes you on.
3) All the feels
This book was the perfect mixture of moods: it was sinister and creepy at parts, and incredibly heart-felt and friendly in others.
You’re looking for a god. Didn’t you suspect that there was also a devil?
My more critical, subjective observations:
1) The plodding plot…
While reading, I felt as if the book was divided into two sections that served two unique purposes: (1) the beginning, which was full of character development and descriptions; and (2) the end, which is when all the action happened. For this reason, I found the beginning of the book to be rather slow…
2) The magic
I’m on the fence with this one. As an avid fantasy reader, I like my magic to make sense. But for this book, I think I’ll let my principles on the subject slide because I actually found the ambiguity of it all to work well.
I enjoyed this read immensely and I would recommend it to anyone intrigued by stories with psychics, ghosts, sleeping kings, legends, enchanted forests, and a touch of romance. Hats off to you, Stiefvater!
Until next time nerds,