The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I am a fan of Stiefvater’s writing. I’ve read and enjoyed all of her books. While the fantasy part of her writings is somewhat a stretch, I think she writes the best characters. They are not only believable, relatable and most importantly lovable, which makes her one of my favorite authors. So, why didn’t I rush out to get The Raven Boys? There is just not enough time to read everything that I want to read. Stupid work gets in the way.

The Raven Boys introduces readers to Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey, III and Blue Sargent and set in Henrietta, Virginia . Gansey has it all—family, money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for something else. He is on the hunt to find Glendower, a vanished Welsh king. Legend has it that the first person to find him will be granted a wish. Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. “Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”

The Raven Boys has everything I want from a great reading experience, a complex narrative, an intriguing and highly developed cast of characters, and an amazing style of writing that just blew me away from the first sentence recounting a dire prophecy. The novel highlights Stiefvater’s dry sense of humor which never once failed to put a stupid grin on my face. I knew I would love this book no matter what from this exchange:

                “Do you see how I’m wearing this apron? It means I’m working. For a living.”

                The unconcerned expression didn’t flag. He [Gansey] said, “I’ll take care of it.”

                She [Blue] echoed, “Take care of it?”

                “Yeah. How much do you make an hour? I’ll take care of it. And I’ll talk to your manger.”

                 For a moment, Blue was actually lost for words…Then finally, she managed to sputter, “I am not a prosititute.”

Stiefvater has created an enormously complex tale centered on fate and expectations. As I’ve said before, her ‘fantasy’ is a stretch but everything else is beautifully done that I just go with it. I was a bit worried that somehow all these ‘random’ pieces of the story wouldn’t come together but by the end she ties in everything beautifully. I knew about ¾ through the book ‘what’ the sacrifice would be but I was not prepared for its consequences.

With that said, I was not happy that near the end it felt that Stiefvater was trying really, REALLY HARD to set up the stage for the series, it  felt a bit forced and took away some of the awesomeness of this novel. Yet, I am sad that I am done. I miss the characters already and I CANNOT wait for their return in book 2, The Dream Thieves which comes out September 17, 2013. And YES, I have marked my calendar already.

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