Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

11 September, 2015 Reviews 13 comments

I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Press on September 18th 2012
Pages: 416
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is 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 has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, 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 never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I’ll be brief. The problem with The Raven Boys was that it spent so much time getting around to the plot, that I’d lost all interest by the time it did. Note that I’m usually a very patient reader if the writing is good enough and the characters interesting enough. It’s not like I’ve got the attention span of a gnat.



What you can expect from The Raven Boys is a lot of faffing. Faffing about here, faffing about there, chasing down some long dead king so that they can get a wish for… something? The story revolved around Blue and her witchy family, and Gansey and his friends, Random 1, Random 2 and Mister Occasionally-Appears-in-this-book-when-convenient. Only Blue and Gansey don’t actually properly meet until about a third of the way into the novel. Like a said, a whole lot of faffing about.

Once they do meet, the novel finally decides it’s ready to get on with the story and canters at break-neck speed past good character development and good plotting towards it’s completely foreseeable end. So yes, pacing clearly leaves something to be desired. Reading this novel felt akin to being slow punched in the face.


Exactly like this only less cool.

The only thing that carried this mediocre novel for me was Steifvater’s writing which has clearly improved some since her Shiver days. When I stopped to think about the themes and messages of this book, I came away with some vague concept about friendship, even though I didn’t entirely feel why any of these people should have been friends except for lynchpin Gansey there who keeps them all together.

What was the book trying to say about the nature of life, relationships, the world? Sometimes it seemed to have something to say about greed and desperation, about the value of relationships, the power of love, but all these messages get mixed up in such a sloppy story that I found it hard to wade through why the book was even written.

I have been told, repeatedly, that the next book is better, or worse. That the books after that are genius or a mess. So many different things. Yet, I think, for my part I’m done.

But hey, if you are a fan of the books, have you seen these awesome dust jackets you can buy?

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

13 Responses to “Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. Carina Olsen

    I’m still heartbroken that you did not like this book Kat 🙁 SNIFFS. Because I love it like crazy, lol. But I do understand why you had issues with it 🙂 Though I did not. Ack. But aaanyway. I do think your review is gorgeous 😀 And I love reading your thoughts about this book. Even though I don’t agree with most of it, hah 🙂 I’m so sorry that you were disappointed by it :\ I really wanted you to love it too.
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne: Spotlight + GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I totally thought I wasn’t going to like this book either when I started reading it and it had that sllloooowwww start. I was beyond ready for something to happen, but when stuff started happening, I started liking. There have still been things about this series that have bugged me, but for the most part I think it’s really unique. It’s definitely not for everybody though. I liked reading your review because I like seeing the other side of things 🙂

  3. Rosie

    There was a lot of faffing now I come to think about it. I did love the book, I couldn’t put it down, but now you mention it there was a lot of faffing about when getting to the point.

  4. La Coccinelle @ The Ladybug Reads...

    I liked this book when I read it. I didn’t really mind the slow pace, although I was a little annoyed by the fact that it looked like we’d have to read the whole series before getting any sort of answers about whether Gansey would or wouldn’t bite the dust.

    And then I read the second book, and realized that I remembered next to nothing about the first book, so I was completely lost for most of it. On top of that, the second book focuses on Ronan, who I thought was little more than a walking stereotype (I still don’t much like him, even if I do “get him” a little more now).

    I haven’t decided if I’ll continue with the series. I mean, I want to know how it all eventually turns out… but I’m afraid I’ll start reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue and be completely lost again!

  5. Steph Sinclair

    I tried the audiobook a while back, but I disliked the narrator so much that I quit 30 mins in. I may try the print because a friend gave me a copy. I’m curious to see if I’ll feel the same way as you.

  6. Ryan McCarthy

    Now I know to lower my expectations a little if I get around to reading this. As far as Maggie Stiefvater goes, I’ve read The Scorpio Races, which I liked quite a bit. I’m interested to see if I would feel the same way as you if I read this.

  7. Sarah

    Oh dang, this is on my TBR for the next few weeks. I’ve got high hopes for it because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Maybe its slow because its a series and the plot is meant to be dragged out across the four (?) books? Sometimes I think authors get caught up in the series craze and the individual books leave something t be desired.
    I’m kind of glad I only bought the first book in case I don’t like it as well.

  8. Beth @ Fuelled by Fiction

    Haha, great review. I totally see your point. I’m currently about halfway through the third book and I am actually totally in love with this series. I can see why you didn’t like the pacing, but, gotta say, it totally worked for me. I liked feeling like things were unfolding for me at the same rate they were for the characters. The next two books are more plotty. I’m more of a character reader and really love the five of them 😛
    Beth @ Fuelled by Fiction recently posted…This is not the Neverland you know │ Unhooked by Lisa MaxwellMy Profile

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