There is a strange magic in reading about magic and strangeness – and Maggie Stiefvater has never been one to deprive her readers of fairy dust.
The Sleepy town of Henrietta, Virginia holds several secrets, and Blue Sargent’s story is one of them. Blue’s family trades in predictions , and every psychic she has met has warned her that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Blue doesn’t believe in true love, but begins to question her own beliefs when she sees Gansey’s spirit walk past her on St Marks Eve, scheduled to die within a year. Legend has it that the only way she’d see a sprit that night is one of two conditions- either she is his true love, or she killed him. On the other hand, Gansey is ignorant of his fate, with his large bank account, strangely eclectic friends and his obsession with something supernatural, as he chases myth and history in a journey across the world.
Fate is rarely avoidable, and despite her convictions, Blue is sucked into the mysterious world of the Raven Boys- a world of magic, secrets, adventure, and lies. The stakes are high, and as they chase a mythical lost tomb, they realize that they are not alone in this quest. Time is flying, and in order to fulfil their mission, they must race it.
Ironically, the story begins from the end, when Gansey’s death is foretold to blue, along with that of her own true love, and as blue’s initial dislike for Gansey develops into a comfortable affection, her romance with his friend becomes an engaging subplot as we are keen to watch the story unfold.
The Raven Boys, at first glance, seems like a strangely girly novel, but the quality of Stiefvater’s prose uplifts it to the level of great contemporary fantasy. As a storyteller, she has etched out a narrative both descriptive and compelling, and it does not take more than a few pages for the reader to be hooked to the text. The usage of a third person narrative is an interesting literary device, and as the narrator switches to and fro between the perspectives of Blue, Adam and Gansey while maintaining the unity of time and preserving the cogency of the overall idea.
From beginning to end, Stiefvater manages to hold the strings together and craft an unputdownable narrative.
She explores many themes in the novel, and arguably, does justice to each of them.
She is detached enough in her narration to breathe life into her characters, but ensures that she doesn’t smother them.
Noah is mysterious and awkward, while Ronan is sharp but not mean enough to be hated by the readers. Adam is burdened by reality, Gansey by magic, and as they battle internally over appearance and truth, we are allowed to glance into their worlds and share their troubles. Blue isn’t as mixed up as the lot of them, and as the majority of the novel is narrated from her perspective, there is a degree of balance that her presence induces, making her the perfect protagonist for most of the novel’s main events.
The trouble with the story, on the other hand, is the relative lack of depth in terms of grey characters like Neeve, but the flaw is forgiven as this is merely the first of four books, with a lot of scope for improvisation.
As Maggie Stiefvater’s bestselling Shiver trilogy shook up the world of paranormal YA romance, She trumps her past success with The Raven Boys, her fresh foray into Welsh mythology and conventional fortune telling, bearing her characteristic theme of love’s struggle against death.
One hopes that the series improves with its sequels, unlike many others which peak at the first book and turn disappointing by the end. The crisp storytelling of The Raven Boys makes it a difficult book to trump, and it is my fervent hope that as the series reaches its conclusion, the quality of prose and the quantity of the plot live up to the promising beginning that Stiefvater has presented before us.
Rating : ☆☆☆☆☆
Source: my very own review of The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater
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The first book was arguably the best in the series , but I don’t think anyone should give the rest of them a miss.
I have a Rainbow Rowell week planned for April but by the pricking of my thumbs, something lovely this May comes.