Monday, 3 September 2012

The Raven Boys - Maggie Steifvater

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

Pages: 408
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Release Date: 19th September 2012
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Lament, Ballad, Shiver, Linger, Forever, The Scorpio Races

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue can’t usually see them, but this year is different. When she sees a boy emerge from the dark there are only two explanations as to why she can see his spirit – either he is her true love or she has killed him.

The boy’s name is Gansey and Blue soon discovers that he attends the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from those students. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey in a way she can’t explain.

There’s something magical about Gansey. Something powerful. And as Blue becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s determined to keep him alive...

A new book by Maggie Stiefvater is one of the highlights of my reading year so when this arrived unexpectedly in July, I nearly had a heart attack. I read it straight away (it’s still July as I’m writing this review!).

I have to admit that I was very nervous about reading this for some reason and I almost didn't let myself get into it until I was a good sixty or seventy pages in. It was something different and completely unexpected and I was eventually suckered into the magical town of Henrietta with Blue, Gansey and the rest of the gang. Maggie Stiefvater has a serious gift and one of her strengths is creating a solid and believable sense of place so strong that I would look up and be surprised to find myself on a train and not in a quiet Virginia town.

With such a strong sense of place comes an atmosphere that leaps off of the page. As The Raven Boys developed, it became more and more intense and rather creepy. I think that that was largely down to the mythology of the novel which was very different for both Maggie and paranormal YA, I think. Instead of the usual element of the paranormal being a creature, it was a legend and all of the mystical and magical things that came along with that on Blue and Gansey’s quest.

Gansey was also unexpected and I’m still not quite sure what I think of him. He’s very different to Maggie Stiefvater’s usual heroes: he isn’t shy and internal, but forward and demanding; he’s on an obsessive quest, not searching for something inside himself (all of the time) but he does have the damaged and mysterious element that he sides – this, for me, is in keeping with Stiefvater’s heroes. I have to admit that at I wasn’t quite sure that Gansey would even be the hero (i.e. love interest), and to be honest, I’m still not quite sure, though I do love his propensity to say offensive things without meaning to and still be charming. I was in favour of Adam, however, Gansey’s best friend and one of the four Raven Boys on the quest with Gansey and Blue. He’s typically the sort of boy that a Maggie Stiefvater heroine would fall for.

Now, Blue is a pretty good heroine, but I didn’t really feel any particular affinity to her. I enjoyed the glimpses of her family life – living in a house with your psychic mother and her psychic friends is rather manic, pretty odd and never boring. I also now really want a tarot reading... But back to Blue. The one thing about her that stuck out made me go ‘I like this girl’ is how unashamedly herself she is. I love how she’s so comfortable in her own skin and with her life; not many people could say the same at sixteen.

All in all, I enjoyed The Raven Boys a lot; it just didn’t quite meet my sky-high expectations. Though with that ending, I can’t wait for the next book!

Thank you to Scholastic for providing me with a review copy.



  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one. :)

    I want to give this book a try. I liked The Wolves of Mercy Falls well enough, but I believe this book will appeal to me more than that trilogy. Hopefully I can find out soon.

  2. Great review, Sophie, as usual :) I think it's really funny how you had such high expectations and was a bit disappointed, whereas my expectations were non-existant and I loved it, haha! The atmosphere completely threw me off balance--I loved the magical, legend-y feel to it.

    I liked Blue but would've liked to see more of what goes on inside her house, and I totally agree with you about how she was always herself. ACCIO NEXT BOOK! :)

  3. Fab review! I have actually never read one of Maggie's book before! *hangs head in shame* I think I'll give this a go though - but it's a pity it didn't live up to your expectations! Hopefully I'll enjoy it - I don't have any expectations really! ;)

  4. We haven't read any of Maggie's books but Scorpio Races is on our list. Interesting to hear that this one is different to her previous ones. I'll bear that in mind :)


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