Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, books 1-3 *Spoiler Free*

Rating: 5/5

Categorization: YA, Supernatural, Magical Realism, Drama

Length: 416 pages, 439 pages, 391 pages

Plans to continue the series: I marathon'ed the first 3 books & cannot wait for the 4th one to come out!





What this series has to offer you:

A family of psychics
Strong female presence
Class Struggle
So much quirkiness
Prep School
Gearheads (guys who are into cars)
Beautiful Virginia
Supernatural elements
Welsh mythology
Archaeology
Fate & Destiny
Badassery
Hitmen
Really meaningful relationships between characters

I finished reading these books nearly three weeks ago, but i have found it difficult put my thoughts into words that both do the series justice & do not give anything away. As many other reviewers have said, JUST READ IT! Read it & don't put it down!

I was surprised by how much i liked this book series. At a superficial glance, the idea of rich boys at prep school with fancy cars out in rural VA, did not sound like the kind of drama that would keep my attention. But at the first mention of lay lines, a sleeping Welsh king, and psychics, i jumped right on board.

Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah are four friends who attend the prestigious Aliongby Academy near where the female protagonist, Blue, lives. Blue makes it a point to stay away from boys, especially Raven Boys, but when her fate entwines with Gansey's & her mother gives her a specific order for the first time in her life: stay away from Gansey, Blue decides that it is time to try something new in her life. As a result, she joins in the hunt to discover and wake a sleeping Welsh king who spoke to the very wealthy Gansey at a very important time in his life.

The absolute best aspect of this book series is Maggie Stiefvater's characters. They feel incredibly real throughout the whole reading experience. I was so impressed by this because these characters could have easily fallen into superficial trappings. Yet, the more you read, the more you realize that Maggie Stiefvater put enough layers into each one of them to guard against that. The focus of the story is sighted on what is most important to each of of these characters, and how that affects and leads their actions. They fight over the things they cannot fix, and they get frustrated by the aspects of themselves that cause others pain. Just like real people. But uniquely, these teenagers also get excited over the prospect of something supernatural happening to them, as only some of us do. All the relationships between the characters were very meaningful and i really appreciated that. My major complaint with books i do not like is when relationships feel superficial or forced.

I absolutely adore Richard Gansey III. According to my imagination, we are the very best of friends. #dontkillgansey

On a personal note, I have always felt that pull towards exploring the unknown. I have a large collection of books on offbeat subjects. I love the subtle and mysterious aspects to life. And I have learned to pick up on synchronicities as the world seems to change around me to point me in a specific direction. If most people have one curious bone in their body, I sometimes feel like all of my bones are naturally curious. And it is this feeling that Maggie Stiefvater has captured in this wonderful story. The longing for something more extraordinary for your life than the monotony of modernity. I feel that a lot of book lovers know this feeling all too well.  It must be a big part of the reason why this series has been received so well.

Read the synopsis' on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/73675-the-raven-cycle

Final thoughts: I have noticed that many other people have stated that the beginning of the Raven Boys was confusing. Also that as long as you keep reading, you will get sucked into the world. I would say that i agree with that. However, i would like to frame the issue differently. It is not so much that the beginning is 'confusing', but that this book series has an unexpectedly steep learning curve. The characters have a peculiar way of talking, and the book provides a holistic view of action including multiple POVs, as well as, informing the reader of what is going on in the characters' heads. Oh and then you know, supernatural stuff starts happening. Therefore, i believe that if you go into this series prepared, you will not find it confusing at all. For example, if this book were a large science fiction tome, you would be expecting to have a steep learning curve and be comfortable with not understanding everything right away.

Book #2 - The Dream Thieves

The second book in the series gives you all the Ronan Lynch you could ever hope for & it is wonderful. It also ups the badassery.

Book #3 - Blue Lily, Lily Blue

The third book in this series felt like it had less whimsy and more action. I still enjoyed it, but less than i enjoyed the first two. I really liked the additional characters who came into this book.  They were all pretty darn great.

Thanks for reading!
A super happy Manda