“More than anything, the journal wanted. It wanted more then it could hold, more than words could describe, more than diagrams could illustrate. Longing burst from the pages, in every frantic line and every hectic sketch and every dark-printed definition. There was something pained and melancholy about it.”
There are rare finds in the Teen genre where the writing, story line and characters are so breath-taking and fascinating that you forget what genre the novel actually belongs to. My list of those authors is quite short but Maggie Stiefvater holds one of those coveted (coveted in my mind, at least) spots. Her novel The Scorpio Races blew my mind and I read it within two days. The Raven Boys had much the same affect and, thankfully, it’s only the first in a trilogy so there will be plenty more Stiefvater goodness to be enjoyed.
Blue lives anything but a normal life. As the daughter of a physic, and living in a house full of other family and female friends who are also psychics, she has never doubted that the world is more complex then it seems. Oddly enough her power is not one of clairvoyance, but an ability to enhance and strengthen the magical powers of those around her. Gansey is a Raven Boy, one of many elite and socially privileged boys who attend nearby Aglionby Academy. Gansey too believes in the supernatural and along with his closest friends (Adam, the least privileged of the group, Ronan who is the rebel bad-boy and lastly Noah, a boy with secrets of his own) has been searching for a long lost Welsh King whom he believes is hidden in the countryside. Gansey is determined to follow the ley line (an invisible line of magical power) that runs through Henrietta to this sleeping King and Blue soon joins the hunt after the Raven Boys see her mother for a reading. However, Blue has her own reasons for befriending these boys. She knows a horrible secret; that one of those boys will be dead within the year and coupled with the premonition that she will cause the death of the first boy she falls in love with, she is determined to change fate.
This book has so many elements that I absolutely fell in love with. You put anything paranormal into a story and I am automatically intrigued. Combine that with some good old fashion Welsh history and I will hand over my first born (sorry first born). Stiefvater provides plenty of both and she wraps it nicely in her unique ability to weave a story with finesse. The nature of the boys’ friendships is also a highlight of the novel. In many ways Stiefvater paints such a vivid picture of friendship that you can only smile and remember those unbreakable friendships you had as a teenager. Adult life tends to step in at some point but Stiefvater invokes that sense of loyalty between friends that we can all admire. They are each such immensely unique characters and yet that only makes their group dynamic even more intriguing, especially when Blue enters into the mix.
Another wonderful thing about Stiefvater is how complex, yet realistic, her characters are. You will find every notch on the scale in them; they’re flawed, hopeful, haunted, intelligent, aggressive, obsessive, caring. Each character has their own dreams and fears, stemming from individual backgrounds and experiences that create a truly extensive world of character development. Their stories are constantly being advanced and just when you feel you have a hold on a particular individual, you learn something new about them or Stiefvater throws in a sudden twist that completely demands you reset your understanding of that individual.
I know it’s safe to say for me that reading Stiefvater’s work is a truly encompassing experience as a reader. She is a truly talented writer and all of her literary tools and skills are put on display in The Raven Boys. Mystery, history and the unknown are complimented by elaborate characters and encased in a truly pleasant writing style. Of the books written by her, none have disappointed. The second installment, The Dream Thieves, was released on the 17th and I have already immersed myself in it. Resurfacing will no doubt come with the same sadness that it was over and the resulting eagerness for the next novel that I felt after completing The Raven Boys.
Devon – a1000booklife
Other books by Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver (2010), Linger (2011), The Scorpio Races (2011) and Forever (2012)