Source: Paperback gifted from my #OTSPSecretSister :)
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
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.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.
Some books are so intimidating. Whether it be the size, the author, the hype, or whatnot, there's something about them that just make me drag my feet before picking them up. The Raven Boys was one of those books for a few reasons. First, it's by Maggie Stiefvater. I've never disliked a book by her before, but I still worried I'd get bored or something. Second, HYPE. I've heard so many wonderful things about this book--and then this series. I didn't want to be disappointed. And third, my own expectations were pretty high. As I said, I didn't want to be disappointed. I also used the excuse that I didn't own the book for a while, but then my Secret Sister sent me a copy and well... there went that excuse. So when The Raven Boys was chosen as the Read Along for the TBR Pile Challenge over on Bookish Lifestyle, I decided it was time to suck it up and READ this book.
Thank all that is good and shiny in this world because I LOVED THIS BOOK. I enjoyed it so much, and I'm still laughing at myself for being so intimidated and taking so long to pick it up.
The biggest thing I loved about The Raven Boys was how INTO it I got. I've been reading a lot of contemporary lately, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I read and loved a young adult paranormal novel this much. I'd heard it took time to get into, that the beginning was slow (which added to the intimidation factor), but I had no trouble. I see why people say that, and I also see how it takes people time to get into the story. I just did not have that problem. I think this is due greatly to how much I enjoyed the characters--specifically Blue at first, and then the rest as we were introduced to them and got to know them.
Speaking of the characters, I adored them. Every single one. Blue, who drew me into the story right off the bat. I loved Blue. LOVED. This very rarely happens to me with female MCs. Don't get me wrong, I like a bunch and could see myself as friends with them, but I don't love them very often. But I really did love Blue. She's on my list of favorite female characters--quite possibly my number one. Not sure, but she's definitely up there. Gansey, who I am so interested in. I looked forward to getting his POV more than any other, and I can't wait to spend more time with him in The Dream Thieves. Ronan, who was so mysterious and I want to know MORE about. Noah, who I really want to give a hug. Adam, who I sympathized with so much. This entire group of friends--I adored them.
The relationships were more of my favorite things. The big friendship within the group, and the little bonds in between. Noah and Blue, Blue and Gansey, Gansey and Adam, and so on. And then Blue's time with the women she lives with. I enjoyed all the interactions and relationships.
On the romance front, there wasn't much in your face about it in this book. There were little sweet moments here and there, but I think this is going to be one of those series where ships and whatnot really kick into gear later. This book was more meeting the characters and setting things up. There is a couple in The Raven Boys, and that was not the couple I expected. I liked them well enough for most of the book, but after events around the end of the book, I think I'm pretty decided on my ship--and it's not the one that kind of teetered in this book. I must say, though, that these observations took not a single thing away from the story or my enjoyment of it. Actually, it probably added to everything. I'm looking forward to getting into more in the next book(s).
A few other things I enjoyed about The Raven Boys were the twist(s), the writing, and the general story and topic. I was thrown for a loop a few times when things I did not expect in the slightest were revealed or took place. The writing was amazing, which didn't surprise me since this book is by Maggie Stiefvater. Still, the greatness of the writing was a huge draw to continue with the story and was a serious factor in why I loved it to much. The Raven Boys is told from third person POV, alternating between a few characters. I enjoyed them all, and they were each represented very well. The story and topic were both interesting. While I know some people will not have the ease I did with getting through the beginning, I don't doubt that once they get far enough to dig into the story, there's a good chance they'll like it. This specific topic isn't delved into every day, which made for an interesting plot and story.
Overall, I adored The Raven Boys. Amazing writing, magnificent characters, and a fresh story bumped this one up to a favorite of mine, and I am so excited to dive into the second book, The Dream Thieves.
5 stars - One of the best YA paranormal stories I've read in a while--and definitely a new favorite!