The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Blue isn't a clairvoyant like the other women in her family. But she has always known that she is destined to kill her true love, and she is determined never to allow that to happen. But then she meets Gansey and the other Raven Boys, and things get really complicated.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: September 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781407134611

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Ley lines, sleeping kings, clairvoyants and the night the dead walk . . . this intriguing book is full of ancient myths and beliefs. They give a depth and flavour to the story, which could so easily have just been a trivial tale about the rich boy who dabbles in the occult to amuse himself, and the poor girl who helps him.

It is true that many of the literary devices common to young adult fiction will be found in these pages: forbidden love, a quest, and the 'wrong side of the tracks' theme to name just a few. But the complex nature of the relationships between the characters, male and female, teenager and adult, create a far more satisfying story than might be supposed at first glance. We are given frequent insights into Blue's life as the youngest member of a bohemian, eccentric family of women who give psychic readings for a living and who warn those who are about to die (if they want to hear it) that it is time to put their affairs in order. But we also glean a lot of detailed information about each of the boys from Aglionby Academy who form a tight-knit group of misfit friends around Gansey, assisting him in his search. There is the scholarship boy, determined to make his own way in the face of the easy luxury which surrounds him. There is the angry, damaged boy whose words are sharp as razors, and the quiet one, who sees much but says little. And there is Gansey himself, who cares for his friends with at times an almost paternal concern. Together they roam the countryside, searching for clue after clue in their hunt for the sleeping king, a near-obsession for Gansey as he seeks to give value to his pampered life.

Maggie Stiefvater has a huge and devoted fan base and this, the first in a new series, will be widely welcomed. She has a lyrical, colourful style of writing, and she is skilled at world-building. In her books we see places which in some ways are typical of contemporary America but which embody some supernatural element that changes everything, giving significance and relevance to things modern life no longer considers important. It is our world, but seen somehow through a different filter. Death, time, fate and the power—for good or ill—of nature infuse this book, calling into question our simple assumptions about the past. There may be a couple of moments when you wonder why the group does not suspect what seems so obvious, or where all the so-called responsible adults have gone, but that minor point apart it is a gripping read.

Much of the story has a subtle but definite flavour of mystery and menace about it, and the reader will be introduced to scenes of violence perpetrated at times by those who quite definitely should know better. There is also a warning on the cover about strong language, making this a book for the upper end of the age range, but there is not too much cause for alarm: it is nothing that is not seen in countless other books.

If you need something to while away the time while you wait for the next instalment in this series, Ms Stiefvater has several other books to her name. Bookbag particularly recommends Wolves of Mercy Falls: Forever.

Buy The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater at Amazon.com.


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