My rating: 5/5 Stars!
Publisher: Scholastic (2012)
Length: 409 pgs
Series: The Raven Cycle, #1
Format: Paperback, purchased from Amazon
Goodreads Synopsis: “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.”
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 really had no idea what to expect from this book. I had read Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and liked her writing style, but hated the way the trilogy ended, and the premise of the Raven Cycle was really different from the werewolf genre. I’d seen a lot of rave reviews about The Dream Thieves on a lot of my favorite blogs so I decided to start the series, and it’s been the best reading decision I’ve made all summer.
First of all, I love that Stiefvater went a more “traditional” and less popular route for the theme of her paranormal series. No vampires or werewolves here, rather psychics, adventurers, scholars, and mythological royalty. The paranormal events in the book seemed more accessible and realistic because what Blue’s family does isn’t magic or witchcraft, rather they are just humans who are highly intuitive with stronger senses and premonition than others, and the events that happen in the book are more manifestations of the unexplainable many people have felt (cold spots, sacred places, energy) rather than completely far-fetched occurrences. To me, the book holds enough possibility that a place like Cabeswater could exist, that ley lines of energy could be a thing, that it made the book all the more eerie and spooky to read- which was great!
Stiefvater’s character development in this book was amazing. It’s refreshing to see male main characters in YA, let alone four, and I instantly developed a deep affection for each Raven Boy for a different reason: Ronan for his intense emotions and buried passion, Adam for his earnestness and desire to succeed, Noah for his brief flashes of affection and quiet sadness, and Gansey, Gansey, for his endless pursuit of knowledge, for his martyred mission to save everyone close to him, and for his compassion for life. Ironically, Blue is the character who was a bit of an enigma for me, and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I feel about her. Yet the fact that Stiefvater can juggle so many main characters and make readers empathetic to all of them, especially male characters in a female-heavy genre, is truly impressive.
The settings in this book are absolutely, simultaneously gorgeous and creepy, and I couldn’t get enough about reading about Cabeswater, with its chronically shifting seasons and whispering trees, to the ley lines that shift and intensify energy. Stiefvater’s writing is carefully lyrical and she’s able to set the tone and the scene perfectly depending on who’s eyes she’s writing through, rather the careful prose of Gansey or the straightforward view of Blue. As in the Wloves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Stiefvater has a knack for writing about nature that makes it seems alive, beautiful, and frightening all at once.
And the plot twist! I try and keep my reviews spoiler-free, but I will say this: Stiefvater actually threw me for a loop on this one, and I can truly say I didn’t see it coming at all. It’s been so long that I’ve been truly surprised by a major revelation in the book. Also, this book left me wanting so much more, since the prologue and beginning of the book opened up major questions that are not even close to being answered: Who is Blue’s true love? Who is going to die, and how? How accurate are apparitions of spirits on the corpse road? Why is Blue the only one in her family who’s not clairvoyant? I’m literally ordering the next book in the series as I write this, because I need to find out what happens, and I need more of Henrietta, more of the ley lines, more of the creepy-but-magical story, and more of Gansey.
Overall: This book had all the elements I love in a story: ghosts, psychics, magic, bluebloods, strong females, well-written male characters, witty dialogue, dark humor, a hint of romance, and a great balance of the paranormal with reality. I love the Raven Boys, and I can’t wait to see where their stories go. Go out and read it now, and then let me know what you think!!!