4 October 2015

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Hey everyone,

I mainly read this book due to the insane amount of love it receives from the Tumblr book community, fondly known as Booklr. Since joining Tumblr Ive become more and more intrigued by YA books and when I saw The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater at my local library I couldnt resist picking it up.

The book:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

My thoughts:

I spent the majority of the book confused and waiting for the plot to start. Now I know people love this book and the characters but I just couldnt get into it. Was I intrigued by Blueprophecy? Yes. Did I want to know more about the Welsh King that Gansey was obsessed with? Yes. Did I care about any of the characters? No, and that dear reader, is the crux of my problem with The Raven Boys.

My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.

I wanted to care. I wanted to get wrapped up in the adventure but something stopped me. Perhaps I didn’t read book in the right frame of mind, but I feel the more likely the reason I didn’t enjoy The Raven Boys is because I didn’t feel the connection between the characters. Although Gansey acted like a protective, slightly insane father figure, willing to do anything to protect his friends, I didn’t understand why.

“Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.” 

I struggled to understand what connected these characters. Was it a shared sense of being the outsiders? The weird ones, who didn’t quite fit in? Or where they connected simply by proximity? In one chapter Adam, Gansey, Noah and Ronan where thick as thieves, brothers against the world. The next chapter they’d be fighting, or assuming the worst about each other. Don’t even kept started on Blue’s friendship with the boys. In my opinion Maggie Stiefvater tried so hard to make each character unique, with their own struggles and torments that it made it difficult for me connect with the group as a whole. They all seemed so wrapped up in their own thoughts that most of their actions appeared to happen on auto-pilot.

“In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.” 

Events appeared to happen without any real explantation being offered. Ronan adopting a raven being a case in point, although I enjoyed the symbolism of one of the raven boys owning a pet raven, it didn’t actually add anything to his character or the novel as a whole. It just was. I struggle with books that just are. For me The Raven Boys was a little too random and fantastical. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters because none of them felt real, and because I couldn’t connect to the characters, I struggled to connect with the story.

“‘We have to be back in three hours, Ronan said. I just fed Chainsaw but she'll need it again.

This, Gansey replied is precisely why I didn't want to have a baby with you.’”

Having said that, I am still intrigued by the Welsh King, Blue’s connection to Gansey and the character of Noah. What can I say I have a thing for the ones that don’t talk much. So although I won’t be rushing to buy the next book in the series, I’d probably be tempted to pick up The Dream Thieves if I saw it in the library.  Partly just to discover why Booklr is quite so obsessed with these characters.

My rating:
Happy reading everyone and see you next time!