Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

  • Title: The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle)
  • Classification: Young Adult
  • Genre: Paranormal
  • Format: Hardcover; 592 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 9780316126113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316126113
  • ASIN: 031612611X
  • Notes:  Library Loan

Underneath the seemingly quiet town of Henrietta, Virginia, exists something powerful. Something which has remained undetected and dormant for hundreds of years that could grant the one who wakes it one wish. Two individuals are on a quest to find it. One is looking for the ley line, the other for a King lost many years ago. One seeks power. One seeks to return a favor or perhaps to verify that what happened years ago truly did. Their paths will cross and only one will come out alive.

Amidst the plotting and searching, a girl will become entangled within their fates. A girl with the ability to enhance a person's or place's magical powers. A girl who's paternal parentage will come into question. A girl who is predicted to kill her true love with a mere kiss...Perhaps love's first kiss? A girl who looks eerily like the one depicted on the Page of Cups. A card which keeps being drawn when the two individuals fortunes are being read. Coincidence or something more?


This was such a fun books. I always enjoy Ms. Stiefvater's books and this one was no exception. Four very different boys who are all friends are on a quest to find a lost King. A girl, who is new to the group, may be the key to finding him. While she effortlessly appears to assimilate into the group, she will undoubtedly create a little friction and tension between two of the boys, as we discover that, while she's attracted to one, another may be her true love, and it's been deemed that this will be the year she'll meet her true love.

Gansey is the leader of the pack, and the one who binds the others together. It is his quest to find Glendower, the lost King who supposedly disappeared without a trace hundreds of years ago. We don't find out the real reason for this quest until later in the book, so we don't know if he's just a bored rich kid who is indulging himself with a little archaeological mystery or if he's a bit eccentric.

Ronan is a rebel apparently without a cause. He seems mad at the world and is reportedly different from the boy he was prior to his father's death. Gansey once stated, "he was afraid most people didn't know how to handle Ronan. What he meant by this was that he was worried that one day someone would fall on Ronan and cut themselves." Ronan has a sharp edge to himHis father was murdered and the will forbade Ronan and his brothers from returning to their childhood home or having anything to do with their mother who has been comatose since their father's death. There is something mysterious about Ronan and he is a puzzle, but we won't be able to piece him together until the second book which is mainly about Ronan. It's Gansey's hope that, unlike Humpty Dumpty, this fractured individual will be able to be put back together again.

Adam is a the only one of the boys who isn't a trust fund baby. He's actually from Henrietta and has paid his way through the elite high school by working three jobs in the hopes of bettering his circumstances. When Blue asks him where he lives he states:
"A place made for leaving."
 "That's not really an answer." 
"It's not really a place.”
Adam comes from an abusive home. He's proud and refuses help from Gansey because he wants to make his own way, which is admirable, but may be foolish.

Noah is another mysterious individual. Said to be so extremely shy, quiet, and awkward that at times he seems invisible to others. He also has the uncanny ability to find things. Of the three friends Adam has, Noah was the one he worried most that Blue would not get along with, but amazingly she seems to coax Noah from his shell.

Blue is a proud Henrietta native and has always hated the overly rich, privileged, and pretentious Aglionby boys. Aglionby being the school which Gansey and his motley crew all hail from. Blue and Gansey get off on the wrong foot, but Adam, with his sweet and rather humble disposition manages to draw her into the tight knit group. That ends up being a boon for their quest as they discover that all Blue's relatives have psychic abilities. While Blue has no psychic abilities of her own, she does possess knowledge and information that they can use. Plus, she has the uncanny ability of being able to amplify any powers a person or place has.

In a way, this book reminds me of a coming of age story with a bit of a fairy tale mixed in. It's toward the end of the school year, and the following one might possibly be the last these friends are all together. After graduation, its very likely this group will disband and go their separate ways as they move on to college and other endeavors.  Glendower's story has a bit of a sleeping beauty type feel to it. He is reportedly a long lost king who slumbers waiting to be awaken. Gansey believes the king rests somewhere within the protection of the ley lines. Ley lines are sort of like fault lines of magical power which individuals can tap into and exist in various places around the world and connect spiritual places. I feel the quest to find Glendower will either end up bringing these friends closer together or tear them apart. I'm hoping for the former.

Why is the book called The Raven Boys? Well, the school mascot for Aglionby is a Raven. Therefore, Blue and others in the town of Henriette tend to call boys from the school Raven Boys.

I'd like to note that I liked the cover for this one. Here's the reason why--In the book there is a passage that says, "Ronan's smile cut his face, but he looked kinder than Blue had ever seen him, like the raven in his hand was his heart, finally laid bare." Now look at the cover. An artist who actually knew something about the book! Oh, in case you have another version, the one I'm talking about is the white one with a raven on it sporting a red area which I'm guessing represent a heart on it in it's chest. In addition, encircling the words The Raven Boys is the symbol for the ley line. I love it when the cover actually has something to do with the actual book. Below is the cover I'm talking about (in case Amazon changes it):

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed learning why Gansey is so obsessed with finding Glendower. I liked how diverse the cast of characters are and their quest not just for Glendower, but their quest to discover something more. To be part of something more. I loved the drama and mystery surrounding Barrington Whelk, the former Aglionby student turned teacher, as the author slowly revealed what happened to him years ago and how it relates to Gansey and his group today. I enjoyed the paranormal element introduced by the Blue's psychic relatives with their Tarot card readings along with the prediction that Blue will kill her true love with a kiss. Again it added a fairy tale type element to the story. The only thing that seemed a little off was the fact that a sacrifice made by one of the characters was never truly explained. It was implied there would be consequences because of it, but the subject was dropped as if never mentioned, and I found that rather odd. Hence, that is why I didn't give this story  5 roses. 

Pictures of what chainsaw may have looked like:
Baby Ravens:
 photo babyraven2_zpscc55fe74.jpg photo babyraven3_zps7dfff15d.jpg  photo babyraven_zpsa260d14c.jpg
Notes to keep you in the know:
In case you were wondering, Glendower was a real person: "Owain Glyndŵr or Owain Glyn Dŵr, (1349/1359? - 1416) was the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru). He instigated a fierce and long-running but ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales. (...) On 16 September 1400, Glyndŵr instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England. Although initially successful and rapidly gaining control of large areas of Wales, the uprising suffered from key weaknesses - particularly a lack of artillery, which made capturing defended fortresses difficult, and ships, which made their coastlands vulnerable - and was eventually overborne by the superior resources of the English. Glyndŵr was driven from his last strongholds in 1408/1409 and the last documented sighting of him was in 1412. He refused to accept a pardon and despite large rewards being offered, was never betrayed to the English. As a result, his ultimate fate remains a mystery." (wikipedia)

Order of series:


  1. What the hell is that guy in the first picture doing to that baby raven?? poor thing :(

    1. They rescue abandoned birds. My guess is it's being vaccinated or treated for an ailment.


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