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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.
(Summary Source: Goodreads)
Basically, Blue finds out that when she kisses her true love, he’ll die. Which is depressing especially because the next thing she knows, she’s hanging out with four interesting guys.
But this book had less romance than the summary may lead you to believe, which wasn’t a bad thing at all in my opinion. The plot centers around the search for the burial place of Glendower, a Welsh nobleman who may not be as dead as everyone thinks. It isn’t long before Blue’s supernatural connection to Gansey gets her involved in the search.
It took me a little while to warm up to Blue and the group of boys, but they all grew on me over time. I liked Blue once I got to know her a bit better, though some of her “quirks” like her “creative” clothing choices seemed a little like cliche afterthoughts to me. Gansey could be annoyingly pretentious, but this is tempered by the fact that he himself is aware of his own flaws. Ronan had me rolling my eyes, and you could almost forget that Noah is there, but that’s the way his dynamic works in the group. Though Adam came across as bland at first, he became my favorite character by the end of the book. He’s a classic nice guy, even if he falls squarely into “woobie” territory. Part of the fun of the book stemmed from watching the developing friendships and general horsing around.
As always, Stiefvater’s writing is lovely, and she deftly combines interesting everyday details with the supernatural, giving the characters an interesting world to roam around in. The town of Henrietta, Virginia mountains, and mysterious forests are all part of the backdrop.
For some reason, the book did feel lukewarm compared to Stiefvater’s other efforts. Like The Scorpio Races, it unfolds at a leisurely pace, yet The Raven Boys does seem like mere setup for the next three novels, and ended a little abruptly.
In short: While its characters take some getting used to, The Raven Boys is a beautifully-written opening to what will likely be a very enjoyable quartet.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Cover & Title: The title works, and the painted look of the cover is fantastic. Something about the white background makes it really stand out. The crossed lines under the title are also significant…
Where I got the book: Shelves of the local library.