Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Date Published: September 18, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Audiobook Narrator: Will Patton
Description: “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.
Okay, question, was anyone else as confused as I was when they were done reading this book? I admit it. I was so confused I had to re-read this book before I sat down to write this review, (much to my co-bloggers dismay, I believe). So why did I want to read this again? Because it is so well written! The prose is beautiful. The characters are dynamic and well developed. I honestly did not care about the story line all the much. However, from the start I was intrigued with Blue’s sensible, yet tough attitude and her complete lack of any psychic ability that everyone else in her household possesses. I couldn’t decide which of the Raven Boys I liked best. They were so unique from one another and their interactions were both funny and believable. Here is a rundown of the boys:
Gansey- Good guy, can be condescending, but without intent or malice, always wants to help others out, but usually offends them instead. Wealthy, but refuses to drive rich boy car, instead drives “the pig”. Gansey is who Blue sees whenever she has her first ever sorta psychic experience.
Adam- Stubborn, fragile, dirty, but proud. (dirty as in actual dirt, not naughty dirty). Comes from a poor family and his father is cruel and abusive. Adam is the boy who asks Blue out.
Ronan- angry, tough, pees on everything,(no, seriously, hardback edition page 216) hurting on the inside, misses his father, hates his brother, the bad boy with a boo-boo. He is probably my favorite. He is sarcastic funny, too.
Noah- Barely there, likes Blue instantly, innocent, I don’t feel like I get to know Noah all that well which after reading the book, makes sense.
None of the secondary characters fell flat. I liked the relationship Blue has with her mom. The other psychic aunts/sisters were interesting as well. Maggie Stiefvater cleverly creates settings that immerse the reader and feel so real that I want to revisit them again and again even if I do not really care what happens next. I just want to be there. I didn’t understand the desire to find the Ley Lines. I still do not know who Glendower was/is or why finding him is so important, but I believed it! I believed in it without fully grasping why- much like childhood fairytales. This book was beautiful, tragic, a little scary, and simply magical. I will read on.
I listened to the audio version of this book, thanks to the Sync summer audio pairings. Unfortunately, this audiobook was awful. I am going to have to remember the narrator’s name (Will Patton) because I will not listen to anything else he narrates. Let me tell you why:
- He whispered most of the time. WHISPERED. Meaning, you can barely understand what he is saying when he decides that whispering is good idea (seriously, the producers of this audiobook should have told him how stupid that idea was).
- When he wasn’t whispering, he was using the same voice for all the male characters. So, it became really difficult to tell which male character was speaking, especially in conversations.
- He was just dull and emotionless. I’m told there were some silly conversations, some things spoken jokingly. Well, that never came across. I never connected with the characters, but I suppose it is hard to connect emotionally when you do not experience their emotions properly.
So what does my brain do when the thing listening I’m listening to is not interesting? It tunes it out. I had to rewind to try to get the gist, but honestly I know I missed a lot of what went on. I got to the point where I just didn’t care about the story anymore. Yea, that bad.
I do want to add that I’ve “read” four other Maggie Stiefvater books on audio and enjoyed them. Yes her work is generally slower paced than I prefer, but the previous books I read had interesting things take place and I liked the characters. So this book was particularly disappointing for me.
The premise was really intriguing to me (a girl destined to kill her true love with a kiss? so cool!). I did read other reviews and many said the book starts out slow and then takes off, so I was patient with the slowness of the narration at first. But it never took off and I got more frustrated with it as I kept listening, or tuning it out.
Some of the parts that I did pay attention for were pretty good. For example, I did like Gansey and thought his search for the ley lines was interesting. He is very much a “on a quest” or “searching for the grail” type of character, but he was cool too. Noah’s story line – wow now that was a pretty exciting reveal in the book. Probably my favorite part of this story.
However, the ending was just strange. I actually listened to the last group of chapters several times and really tried to focus in case I missed something. But no, each time I had a “WTF” moment. It just didn’t make sense to me the way that whole shebang went down. It was a let down since the book seemed to be building to some major event, but that event just didn’t happen. So the 2 star review isn’t just because the audio was terrible, but also because I found the ending disappointing.