Series Review: The Raven Cycle

Series Review: The Raven CycleThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Social Issues, Adolescence, Paranormal
Pages: 409
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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.


Meet the series that completely wrecked my desire to read other books. I started reading the first book in the series “The Raven Boys,” as my nighttime reading on my kindle, so the light wouldn’t bother my sleeping boyfriend. Before I knew it, I had put down my main book, “Elantris” by one of my favorite authors ever, Brandon Sanderson, and just let myself become immersed in the magical world of The Raven Cycle’s Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah.


I started reading and I thought to myself, “wow, this book is really weird.” Then, a few hours later, I thought “man, I should write a review about this amazing book.” And then I found myself buying the second book, and the third book, and the fourth book, without stopping. I really couldn’t. So now, I’m writing a review for the entire series, which you should go out and buy immediately.


The Raven Cycle series is anything but generic. Character development, which is a magic enough in its own, but also has a different and unique brand of its own magic, which includes mystical forests, psychics, and dreams. The magic of the world of small town Henrietta sucks the reader into it in much the same way that Harry Potter sucked me in years ago when I was a child. Like J.K .Rowling’s famous series, the exploits of Blue Sargent and her Raven boys of Algionby Academy, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah, pull you along and make you feel like a member every bit as much as Harry, Ron, and Hermione of Hogwarts. But unlike Rowling’s poorly written romances and iffy character development, author Maggie Stiefvater writes entirely new and authentic feelings for her characters, including mistaken romances that fizzle out before they even light, forbidden flirtationships that not only threaten friendships, but lives, and sympathetic kisses with a ghost, and a gay romance between two very surprised boys. But trumping all of these is that Blue Sargent grows up with the alarming foretold knowledge that her first kiss will be her true love’s last.


And if that’s not enough to interest you, Blue, the only non-psychic member of an eccentric family of scrying, card-reading psychics, seeing her first spirit ever on her hometown’s Corpse Road might do the trick. When this Algionby sweater-wearing spirit introduces himself to Blue as Gansey, she determines to throw aside her rules of, “One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Algionby boys, because they were bastards,” to save this mysterious boy in the Algionby Sweater from his impending fate (The Raven Boys, The Raven Cycle, Book 1).


When this very much still alive boy and his friends from the prestigious, rich kid school show up on her doorstep asking for psychic advice in their hunt for the legendary sleeping King Glendower on a slumbering ley line, Blue is hurtled into their world. But what I love about her quirky character is that she always remains true to her crocheted outfit, clipped hair, short-tempered, authentic self despite being thrown into the world of privilege and magic of the Raven boys. And what’s even better is that “her” boys—Richard Gansey the III, the popular, go-getter, son of a senator, that leads their group of misfits on their paranormal quest; Ronan the angry delinquent with a dead father and a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas; Adam the scholarship student with an abusive dad and trailer park backgrounds; Noah the quiet loner—love her for her uniqueness and she soon feels more at home with them than she ever did as the odd one out in her hodge-podged family of psychics. And when Blue reaches her realization that, “…[she was a ] little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys” (The Dream Thieves, The Raven Cycle, Book 2), you’ll realize that you too have fallen in love with all of them and their quest right along with her.


If the beautiful and painfully real feeling character development weren’t enough to make this series magical, then the mystical forest of Cabeswater, speaking Latin, the threat of demons unmaking their world, a magical taking dreams and making them real, future telling, restless ghosts, robo Bees, a slumbering King who grants wishes, and dream creatures definitely do it. Plus, Maggie writes it all with a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor that literally made me laugh out loud and feel like a teenager, with that sense that anything could happen, all over again. And that too, adds to this odd brand of magic that make this series unforgettable.

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Posted December 17, 2016 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Books, Young Adult

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