The Raven Boys

First of all, let me say that the people I write this blog with are very, very smart. I haven’t been writing many reviews lately because I’ve been too busy with things that they’ve already told you about. But just in case you missed any of Anna and Rebecca’s previous recommendations, I add my full endorsement to :

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries–these are so good, I now own merchandise.

White Cat–as I said in a comment on Anna’s review, this whole series was like Harry Potter meets the Sopranos.

The Tightrope Walker-very 70s and fun.

Frost Burned–one of the more enjoyable of the recent Patricia Briggs books.

But I finally got around around to reading something new. The first Maggie Stiefvater I read was her teenage werewolf trilogy that starts with Shiver. The story was fine, if maybe a little weighted down with teenage romance, and maybe sharing a little too much DNA with the Twilight books. But The Raven Boys, the first book in her new Raven Cycle, felt much more original and confident.

The boys of the title are teenagers attending a fancy school in Virginia, and Blue is a local girl who gets caught up with their efforts to solve a supernatural mystery. Magic is treated very calmly here–Blue is from a family of psychics, and ghosts and time travel and Arthurian legend are all just common currency–so don’t expect a lot of explanation for how anything works. And since this is clearly intended to be the start of a series, a whole lot of guns are introduced in this first act that have yet to go off. But I liked the characters and, even more, liked the tone of the book. This isn’t a bleak story, but it is creepy and ominous, and it gave me the shivers reading it at night. The second book in the cycle, The Dream Thieves, just came out on Monday, and I have that squiggly sort of feeling about reading it–I can’t wait to find out what happens, but I’m not sure I can bear to find out, since I know things can’t possibly end well for everyone. It’s going to be an excellent thing to read as the year races towards Halloween.

Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Eerie, magical mystery

You might also like:  White Cat, or Grave Mercy, or Beautiful Creatures, or any of those young adult magic/fantasy series. But let me also recommend another YA book about a boarding school that has a similar melancholy, atmospheric tone, minus the magic: Jellicoe Road by Melinda Marchetta.

4 comments on “The Raven Boys

  1. Anna says:

    I just finished reading it, and this is kind of a weird comparison, but it reminded of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, only with teenagers. I think it was that the pacing was sort of relaxed, and everyone just kind of rolls with all the weird stuff happening around them.

    Also, main character Blue may dislike rich prep-school boys, but not nearly as much I do, so that tempered my enjoyment of it a little.

  2. Kinsey says:

    Totally fair point about prep school boys. They could probably all do with a little battering by mystical forces.

  3. Anna says:

    So, I originally did not like this book enough to continue with the series, but (spoiler, I guess) the fourth book was quoted on a Barnes & Noble’s blog post of 10 Swoonworthy YA Quotes for Pride Month, and I guess I’d like it better if it diverges a bit from the usual girl-meets-boy formula, so I might revisit this series.

    I ran across the B&N blogpost, by the way, when Rainbow Rowell tweeted it, since of course “Carry On” was included, but not with a particularly romantic quote, in my opinion. Rowell recommended “The front seat is for people who haven’t been kidnapped by fucking numpties” instead.

    • Kinsey says:

      I mean, there is still a lot of YA romance throughout, but it definitely gets more interested and complicated. And now I really want to just reread Carry On.

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