The Raven Boys Spoiler-Free Review
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.
I don’t remember what caused me to pick up this book. I don’t remember if it was a review or a video, but I am SO glad I did it. The Raven Boys is one of my new favourite books because it’s so different. This past year, I’ve started to form new reading tastes and it’s a bit weird to think that I NEVER would’ve picked this book up, let alone enjoy, this book last year. The Raven Boys is different in a good way. The story seems to focus more on developing the characters, while the plot slowly builds up underneath all of that character development. I won’t lie; this book takes time to get used to. I found myself rereading every other sentence for the first fifty pages. But after that, I began to really appreciate Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style and sped through the rest of the book. Like I said before, the plot is pretty slow paced: the book is more character oriented. That being said, the story has so many layers to it. You can really tell that the author planned out everything that happens. If you quit reading this book after fifty pages or so, I suggest you keep reading. For most people, they don’t really get into the story until they’re a hundred pages in or so.
If you haven’t already guessed, my absolute favourite part of this book was the characters. While I was reading this, I was getting a dramatic Ouran High School Host Club vibe (It’s the only anime I’ve ever watched and I’m not planning on watching any more. That being said I LOVE it!). They’re all so complex and unique; they’re really different from any other characters I’ve read about. Let’s break down a few of these amazing characters…
BLUE: Blue is one of our main protagonists of this book. She’s really eccentric and is more often than not described as being sensible. She really reminded me of Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club, but more three dimensional. I really liked her character although I HATED her fashion sense. I know that’s just the way she is, but seriously? Wearing layered shredded shirts? I’m sorry, that’s a nit-pick but I don’t like it when characters I love are dressed hideously. Maybe I’ll come to terms with her fashion sense in the next book. One of the reasons I love Blue is because she’s sensible. Basically all the characters call her sensible at one point, because she is. I love when I can read about a character and say, “Yeah, I’d do that too”. While talking about Blue, I want to bring up her family because I was definitely getting Full House vibes from them. I especially love how we get to focus on Blue’s relationships with her mother Maura. They have such a different family dynamic than anything I’ve ever seen. I love how Maura tries to act like she has authority over Blue, but it never really works out because Blue’s just too sensible. Man, we desperately need more sensible characters in books.
GANSEY: Gansey, or should I say Richard Gansey the Third, is our second main protagonist of this book and the leader of the raven boys. I be honest, one of the reasons I didn’t want to pick up this series was because of the names. Weird names really irk me: I can get behind a name like Blue, but Gansey really threw me off. I mean, what kind of person wants to hang out with someone whose name is Gansey? It’s a really unflattering name. I’m realizing right now how shallow and superficial I actually am so I’m going to stop. Gansey is a great character and I immediately knew I was going to like him. He definitely acts a lot older than the age he actually is, and that really makes him different from any other character I’ve read about. But seriously, sometimes I accidentally picture him as being old and British. One thing I really like about his character is that he’s rich, but he doesn’t act like a snob. But, I really appreciate how oblivious he is to the money problems Adam and even Blue face. It adds an interesting dynamic to the story. Another thing I love about him is that he always puts his friends before himself; that kind of selfless behaviour so rare to find nowadays. My lesson is learnt; never judge a character by their name.
ADAM: Adam is one of Gansey’s friends or one of the raven boys. I really appreciate Adam’s character. Although he started to get a tad annoying by the end on the book, for the most part I could see what he was getting at. Adam’s not rich and he’s not from a good family. This automatically causes tension between his relationship with Gansey, and understandably: Gansey thinks he’s trying to help when he offers Adam money, but he doesn’t realize he’s only making Adam feel worse about taking it. Adam really feels like a person I could meet on the streets. He’s really relatable in the sense that he wants to get ahead in life, he wants to work his way into becoming a rich man like Gansey and Ronan already are. Personally, I feel like I can probably relate to Adam the most, out of all these characters. I’m not the richest person, and I have a couple of friends who are. I understand what he feels like when people offer him money. It’s not fun when you feel like you owe your friends. But, there comes a point and time when you have to set aside your prize and accept any help that’s given to you. That’s something Adam can’t really grasp. And through the book, you see him struggle between his pride and his morality.
There are other characters in this book, such as Ronan and Noah AKA the other raven boys, but they don’t really play that big of a role in this first book. Ronan is Gansey’s best friend whose dad’s been murdered and now has a pet bird. Noah is a whole other story which I don’t want to get into because spoilers. But I will tell you that he is not what he seems… Then we have a sort of villain, Barrington Whelk and I really hated him, and not in the good way. I don’t know what it was about hi, but I didn’t like his chapters, or his backstory, or him. I think he was just too self-involved for my taste.
Along with Barringtom Whelk, my only other problem was that I found myself having to reread sentences over and over before getting the full meaning. I mean this was my first Maggie Stiefvater book so I really had no experience with her writing. But, I was rereading sentences for a quarter of the book and it really took away from my enjoyment of the story. But, once you get past those first fifty pages, the book goes by so fast and it’s wonderful.
Overall, if you’re looking for something unique, something you’ve never read before, then The Raven Boys is for you. I can’t even think of any other books to compare it to because it’s so different! If you’ve started to read it but are thinking of giving up, keep on reading it. I assure you, it becomes easier to read and the characters are totally worth it.