‘The Raven Boys’ by Maggie Stiefvater is an interesting tale of lives and destinies linked and intertwined.
Blue, our main character, has been told all throughout her life that she will kill her one true love with a kiss, a strange prophesy and one which Blue believes entirely accurate given that her mother and aunts are all psychics – the real kind.
Blue herself is not psychic, but she has her own special power, one that boosts the energies and abilities of those around her and so she is used occasionally as an amplifier to assist in readings.
We find Blue at the opening of her tale on just such a mission, hanging out in an abandoned church yard with her aunt, bearing witness to the procession of souls who will die within the year. They ask and note down the names of the soon-to-be departed, information which Blue’s mother will then use to explain which of her customers will need to get their affairs in order.
Blue has never been able to see the souls who march past, following the corpse road – until this night. She sees a boy, a boy who is wearing the uniform of the fancy private school in her otherwise working class town. Blue’s own personal rules tell her to stay away from the rich Aglionby boys – the Raven Boys – but there’s something about this boy and the fact that she was able to see his spirit, that draws her to him.
She doesn’t think he is her ‘one true love’ but there’s some sort of connection, and when their paths cross in real life, she can’t keep away, she needs to know more. Gansey and his fellow Raven Boys are on a quest and as Blue gets to know them, she finds herself caught up in the adventure.
With ghosts, ancient mysteries, a Welsh king, strange prophesies, the supernatural and more The Raven Boys is a pretty good read.
A problem I had at the beginning though was that when first introduced to Gansey and his friends, I had a hard time keep straight who was who. I had to go back and reread one of two paragraphs to put the right details with the right character – once I had them sorted out though, the rest of the story was fine.
I also feel like the book ends a little abruptly. I know it’s not a stand alone book, it’s part of a trilogy (like everything else these days) but it feels like the climax is suddenly over, the characters don’t really discuss everything, or even anything that they just experienced and we skip ahead to the tie-up-some-of-the-loose-ends-but-leave-a-bit-of-a-cliff-hanger-for-the-next-book part. Now, I’m not saying I needed all the threads of the story to be explained to my satisfaction, what I mean is that there were certain elements in the story which felt like they needed more than the one or two sentence ‘and maybe we’ll deal with that later’ treatment that they received.
SPOILER ALERT!! NOTHING BUT SPOILERS BELOW!!
For example, what just happened to Adam? He gave up his free will? Did Gansey know that’s what he was sacrificing? What does that even mean? Adam apparently comes out of the ley line pentagram things unscathed, so there’s no further conversation about what he did.
And what was going on with Neeve? Was she evil? She seemed okay with taking a life for her sacrifice, so that makes her bad, but was it her plan to wake the ley line herself all along? spur of the moment? Was she taken over by something she glimpsed in her scrying bowls? I don’t quite understand this character and I also don’t understand why, or more accurately how, she goes from being an aunt to being just someone Blue’s mother contacted to ask for help, but barely knew. Why are the other ladies not more concerned with Neeve’s disappearance?
And the red Mustang – it’s been sitting in the woods for seven years but it’s still a ‘newer model’? I guess as opposed to the original, classic Mustang it is indeed newer but honestly thinking it was in no way old really threw me off what I had already predicted concerning Noah.
END OF SPOILERS!
Overall I did enjoy The Raven Boys, and there’s a good chance I will pick up the later installments – if only to see if all my questions will be answered!