Book Buddies is a discussion-style review that takes place with one of my two buddies. (Learn more and see past reviews here) We both read the book and then have a private discussion about it. We post our discussion as a review on the last Wednesday of each month. You’ll be able to see our similar/different opinions on the overall book, characters, writing style, etc. – just like a regular review. The first half our discussion will take place right here, and the second half will be on Kaitlin’s blog! (Link below)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published by Simon and Schuster on September 18th 2012
Also by this author: The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Raven King, Call Down the Hawk
Format: eBook (416 pages) • Source: Owned
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“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.
View Kaitlin’s part of the discussion here.
Some spoilers ahead!
How did you feel when you started? Did the hype make you excited or nervous?
Kaitlin: I definitely did not know what to expect from this book because the synopsis had been super vague about what was going down within this book. All I know was what happened in the beginning chapter and that Blue would eventually become attracted. I don’t think hype really affects my enjoyment for books too much. It motivates me to try to enjoy a book that has lots of love to it but other than that, I mostly enjoy the majority of the books I read so hype is never a huge problem for me when it comes to how I enjoy a book.
Lauren: I know what you mean about motivating you to enjoy it! That was such a driving factor in my enjoyment of this book. I felt like I needed to like it because everyone else did, and maybe I put too much stock in that overall. I enjoyed the writing style and the really unique plot, but it didn’t reach favorite level for me. I’m glad you enjoy most of the books you read! It’s nice to read a book without thinking about the hype as much. I find that it definitely impacts my reading. I expected way too much from this book, and my expectations overall weren’t met.
What did you think about the family themes in this book? Between Blue’s matriarchal household, Adam’s relationship with his father, and Gansey’s with his family, there are plenty of different dynamics. How do you think they affect each character?
Kaitlin: There are so many different types of family relationships in this book and I honestly really love how Maggie covers all of them. The dysfunctional family, the family that you just want to run away from, the family that looks like they have it all but really they don’t; it’s all covered here and that does really affect the characters. Adam has such a scary household I would understand why he want’s to leave, I would understand why he is always working, and most of all I understand why he would want to be independent. He doesn’t want to rely on people for things and has pride and that not only affects his personality, but also plays a huge part in the story. Gansey has all this money but doesn’t have the best relationship with his family. Yeah they could definitely be a legit family with effort but it seems like him and his sister don’t really want to put effort to do that so you know what? That causes him to be really independent with himself and his life. With Blue, she has such a great family even if some of the members aren’t related by blood. I love how she can just turn to Calla to looking through Neeve’s stuff like they were best friends. All of Maura’s friends are like your favorite aunt who takes you to watch rated R movies and let’s you sit in the front seat when you’re parents don’t. That really allows Blue to live a great life and have a happy childhood with lot’s of weird things going on around her. Ronan is the one I want to talk about with this question because his family definitely affects him in the most obvious way. Maggie mentions what happens with Ronan and his family and we get to know what happened to cause his family to fall apart. He is now always getting into fist fights with his brother and his kind of living alone and independently away from his family along side of Gansey. That really causes him to have a temper and also just kind of become a dick to people because of his past. I definitely am excited to know more about him in the next coming novel.
Lauren: You covered all the bases! haha. I definitely agree. I was fascinated by Blue’s house because it was full of strong, independent women. They all had a really great bond. It definitely reminded me of the ~cool aunt~ situation, where you can be honest with them or do things your mom wouldn’t let you do. I liked that Blue’s mom really trusted her to do what was right and didn’t order her around. I think it gave Blue the opportunity to be herself and become independent. Her and Calla going through Neeve’s stuff definitely made me laugh; it felt like two teenagers conspiring against someone. Blue’s house is an interesting place and I’m excited to see more of that dynamic in the later books. Adam’s family life was obviously terrible. I was happy towards the end when he stuck up for himself (really to save Ronan, though) and did what needed to be done. It’s a heartbreaking situation when you feel stuck no matter what you do. He didn’t want to feel owned by his father or by Gansey. Even though one was definitely a better option than the other, he had a lot of pride and didn’t want to give in. I was happy when he moved to Monmouth Manufacturing because I knew it could hopefully be a better start for him. Gansey’s family seemed interesting; I’m always fascinated by rich families in books! Him and his sister had weird relationships with their parents, like when his sister (purposely?) bought the wrong kind of plate for his mom’s birthday. They made a big deal out of that in the book and showed what his family was like. I can’t believe they just… have a helicopter. Someone let me be that rich! Ronan had a really interesting family situation as well. I think, unfortunately, that section was kind of half-listened to by me 🙁 I used the audiobook while cleaning my apartment and ended up getting a little distracted, so I feel like I missed some key bits of information about Ronan’s life. Like you said thought, the next book will focus on him a lot… so I’m hoping to gain more information about him and his family soon! Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading about all of the different relationships the characters had with their families. I also love the Raven Boys and their bond to each other. I can’t wait to see more of that coming up.
Which character is your favorite at this point? Do you feel like you know enough about all of them to even decide?
Kaitlin: Okay, this is a hard question because I definitely need to know more about each character to decide who I like the most. I liked Adam but he got a bit debatable there at the end. I love Ronan but I definitely don’t consider him to be my favorite character. Gansey isn’t bad but I need to know more about him. And Noah! I want to know more about Noah, I want to read more scenes with Noah because he is such an interesting character, there a lot more to him than what meets the eye. Blue is a pretty good character and I like her but I definitely don’t have a favorite. I have people I like less than others but I don’t have favorites yet and I am excited to see how that will change as we get deeper into this series.
Lauren: Yes! I see a lot of people who develop favorites, so I’m interested to see how my feelings develop for the characters. I definitely feel like I need some more time with them to decide. As of right now, I’m most intrigued by Ronan and Gansey. I feel like they have a lot of potential! Their relationships with each other (and with everyone else in their little group) are complex and intriguing. I like Blue as a “main” character but truthfully, I’m more interested in the boys 😉 I don’t even know what to say about Noah! That whole thing threw me for a loop. Adam… yeah, he was a nice guy overall but I’m not sure what the hell he’s doing to do next with himself. Overall, definitely need some more time to get to know everyone!
Do you reread books? If you do, would you consider rereading this at some point? People tend to say they learn more and more things each time they read this series. Did you get that impression while reading?
Kaitlin: I rarely reread books but I definitely would if I had more time to read haha. I do have some books I would love to reread though. Would I reread this series? Maybe. It does get a bit complicated at some points but I enjoyed exploring new topics and things within this book. It was a bit slow for about the first fifty pages but then after that it was pretty good. I probably wouldn’t reread it this book but if the rest of the series turns out to be more amazing than this one, then that statement can definitely be changed.
Lauren: I agree. From what I hear, people seem to love the second book the most. I’m looking forward to continuing the series and seeing where else this storyline can go. It seemed like, aside from the very end, the book could be summed up in a book or two. It’s interesting to think about what the hell could happen in the next few books! What is she going to come up with?! I do reread books and if this series gets better, I probably would. Again, going off of what other people say, I guess you pick up on all sorts of little things throughout the reread. I can see there being little plot points you don’t realize are important at first. We’ll see!
Did you miss the presence of a romance in this one? How do you predict that will play out, knowing what we do about Blue and her true love?
Kaitlin: I definitely expected more romance out of this book but I can understand why there was a lack of romance and I don’t really mind on that. There was a very tiny amount of romance and I’m not very sad that there wasn’t any because the series is only getting started. Hopefully there will be some romance because I am interested to see what will happen with Blue and her true love because of the fact that they can’t kiss. Super excited to see how that will come into play between these two characters because right now, I’m just waiting for them to even realize they like each other… 😛
Lauren: YES SAME! hahaha. Obviously this book involves Blue and Adam kind of being together? But the romance aspect is really understated and fairly nonexistent. It doesn’t help that Blue will kill her true love with a kiss, because now she’s nervous to kiss anyone. I would appreciate some more feels in the next book though. Even if she can’t kiss anyone, I want to ship people!! Where are all the shippppps? I want a couple of Raven Boys to get together too, to be honest.
Did this book hold your attention throughout? How did you feel about the ending?
Kaitlin: Uhhhh there were definitely some parts where I wanted to just not read because the pacing for this book is a bit slow and there are some parts where nothing really happens. It held my attention to the point where I wanted to find out what would happen next but I would probably get bored of the book if I reread it. Definitely expected more to happen and go on but I loved the ending and it sets up book two very nicely.
Lauren: The pacing was definitely off for me for about the first 40%. I was really intrigued by everything in general, but did feel unmotivated to read. I think you’re right. This book is a good introduction to set up the rest of the series. Even during the action-y parts at the end, I didn’t feel as on the edge of my seat as I hoped. I liked the ending of the story – especially that last sentence – but hoped for even more of a climax. A lot of the “big reveals” had happened already, so it was kinf of a matter of tying everything up. I am SO ready for book two though!
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|Pacing & Flow|
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