The Raven Cycle was a series that was recommended to me by one of my best friends late last year, just as I was beginning to get into the groove of reading. She recommended I wait until the fourth novel had been released so I wouldn’t be waiting for the ending, but at the time she didn’t know the exact date.
Well, lo and behold, the last novel is released so here I am starting this series. (Also because Maggie Stiefvater will be at YALL Fest in November, and I have made a point of reading as much of this before then as I can.)
The Raven Boys tells the story of Blue Sargent, a non-psychic in a family of gifted psychic women. While not having any abilities herself, Blue seems to amplify the abilities of those around her and is often asked to sit in on various readings and rituals. It has also been prophesied that Blue’s true love will die if she ever kisses him. On St. Mark’s night, Blue accompanies her aunt Neeve to note down the names of those who appear in spirit form to Neeve – and will die in the next year. It is here that Blue sees the only spirit she has ever been able to see, that of a boy named Gansey.
In Blue’s little town of Henrietta is a prestigious all boys school, Aglionby. It is at this school that the living Gansey attends, along with Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish. Gansey is obsessed with ley lines and an ancient Welsh king, Glendower, because of an incident during his youth. Ronan accompanies Gansey on his research but is himself a troubled youth who recently lost his father. Adam is a scholarship student who accompanies the pair but often feels insufficient because of his upbringing. Lastly is Noah, Gansey and Ronan’s quiet and mysterious roommate who likely holds the largest secret of them all.
The little group forms when Gansey seeks the aid of Blue’s mother regarding the ley lines. Although warned to stay away from “the raven boys” (Aglionby’s symbol is a raven), Blue finds herself getting sucked into the search for ley lines. As their search gets closer to answers they seek, events transpire that none had prepared for, and more questions arise.
I found The Raven Boys to be intriguing but a bit slow paced. It’s a nice blend of various aspects of magic and mysticism regarding the idea of ley lines and how things around them aren’t always what they seem. Each of the characters is distinct in their personalities and none of them are perfect – even the rich raven boys have their own secrets and shortcomings. I imagine the slow pace is due to this being the first in a series of four novels and is mostly focused in setting up the scene and the characters. The very last line of the novel has been intrigued and wanting to know what happens next.
Interestingly, I started this novel while traveling through parts of mountainous Virginia. Though Henrietta is fictional, it was still nice to be able to imagine what it might be like while traveling through small towns such as Bedford, Harper’s Ferry (West Virginia), and the outskirts of Charlottesville. It brought a real sense of the environment Blue and the raven boys might find themselves in.
Overall I liked this novel and am looking forward to continuing with the series.
My rating: 3.5/5