Friday, September 12, 2014

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic, 2012  408 pgs
Grades 8-Up

Blue lives in a house of female psychics in rural Virginia.  She is growing up under a shadow of a strange prophesy: that one day she will kiss her true love and he will die.  Her strange, yet predicable life changes when a distant aunt moves in from California.   The aunt predicts that she will meet her true love soon: and then she comes in contact with the Raven Boys; a group of friends from an exclusive all-boys prep school in her town.  Sweet and down-to-earth Adam is immediately interested in her, but it is the leader of the pack, Gansey that Blue knows is her destiny.  Other members of the group include angry bad-boy Ronan and ethereal dreamer Noah.  Gansey is leading the group on a quest to find the legendary Glendower, who is rumored to be buried in the area.  Once awakened, Glendower must grant a wish.  Blue joins the boys on their search aiding them in discovering ley lines and magical spaces.  Meanwhile, former student turned Latin teacher, Mr. Whelk, has been on the same quest for ten years and will do anything to get there first.  By book's end, it is revealed that all characters are not what they seem.  Deaths take place, the quest is partially fulfilled and, at the very end, a character discloses the ability to pluck objects from dreams--leading us straight towards the next book in the trilogy The Dream Thieves.

Maggie Stiefvater offers another atmospheric, supernatural adventure, laced with romance.    The Raven Boys has a cool plot line with many twist, turns, and surprises.  The big plot twist fooled me, which doesn't always happen, so that was fun.  The book reminds me a bit of Beautiful Creatures (Garcia, 2010), but I think it is just because of the mystical, southern setting.  I loved the well developed characters, particularly those of the aunts and the mother's friends/housemates.  Blue is a little drab, but that is typical for the genre and reader's won't care. The book is well written with enough of a satisfying conclusion, yet clear segue to the next installment.  It was a little long for me, a bit too quiet, and sometimes went over my head, but I know plenty of die hard fantasy readers I can recommend it to. The Raven Boys will appeal to girls more than boys, but the cover and multiple male characters and multiple points of view from both male and female characters make this selection also boy-friendly.  Not for fantasy dabblers, Raven Boys will find its audience among serious readers.  Will Blue and the Raven boys succeed in finding Glendower?  Will Blue and Gansey's platonic relationship evolve into romance, even at the risk of Gansey's death?  Will Adam and Ronan ever find peace?  What is it that Gansey plans to wish for?  What happened to Blue's father?  These and other questions will hopefully be answered in the following two books in the trilogy.

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