The Raven Boys is the first book in The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater, and launches a story that seamlessly fuses magic with the unique heartache of being a teenager, in a manner found only in the best of YA fiction. It follows a girl, Blue Sargent, who belongs to an all-female family of psychics, but doesn't possess the sight herself. Each year she accompanies her mother on St. Mark's Eve as the spirits of those fated to die within the year pass the corpse road. For the first time, Blue sees someone - a boy from the local all-boy's prep school. Her whole life Blue's been told that she'll be the cause of her true love's death - but could this be him? Quickly Blue becomes entangled with the boy, Gansey, and his three friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah on their quest to discover hidden ley lines and awaken a Welsh king. Ok, that's enough synopsis. You're intrigued, right? Of course you are. Now we can get into the review, because I have Thoughts and Feelings.
Oh. My. God. This was the first book I read in 2015, and I'm so glad I started the year with this! It was also the first book I've read by Maggie Stiefvater - I know, shame on me! Let's cut to the chase: I LOVED this. I may have planned out a heist to break into my local library and get the next two books. They're staring at me from the top of my TBR pile and begging to be read. But I can't, because I'm still so MESSED UP over The Raven Boys. Y'all. The Raven Boys is the book I didn't know I've been waiting for. But it ticks all my boxes - magic, boarding school, intense friendships, Welsh & Celtic mythology/history, angsty boys...seriously, ding ding ding. Allow me to draw you a picture: The Raven Boys is like the Marauders meets The Secret History - but better. That's become my go-to description to entice friends into picking it up and sharing my feels. It's working.
The story itself, and the magic intricately woven into it, is beautifully written and drew me in so fully that I couldn't bear to stop reading. What really won over my heart, however, was the character development. I enjoyed Blue in this first book, but perhaps I erred as a reader and overlooked her in comparison to her male counterparts. She's so fierce though, and I can't wait to bond more with her throughout the series. I might also be in the minority that my beloved Raven Boy is not Gansey, as much as I adore him. No, the full force of my favor goes to Adam Parrish. Sigh. I described Adam to a friend as "dreamy in a Remus Lupin meets Patroclus kind of way." But with an added streak of ambition and want that makes all the difference when Things Happen. You know exactly who he is now, don't you? Yeah, because THAT'S A TYPE AND I LOVE HIM. Ride or die Adam girl.
Each character in this book, from the Raven boys to Blue's eccentric family, is so compelling and full. There are no place-holder characters, no Mary Sues. I developed a strong affection for Noah. I loved the very real acceptance of magic in the world, the honest portrayal of friendships in which the balance of power isn't a balance at all - The Raven Boys stayed with me long after I finished reading the last page. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads, and I'm so looking forward to following these characters on their journey.
PS, The Kindle book is $1.99 right now!