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The Raven Boys Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 827 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Raven Cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Blue was born into a psychic family with the misfortune of having no psychic ability of her own. However, her presence helps others "see" more clearly, which has led to every psychic she's ever met predicting that if Blue were to kiss her true love, he would die. Not interested in boys yet and especially repulsed by the snooty lot at Aglionby Academy, she decides to simply never kiss anyone. When she has her first clairvoyant experience, it's not as thrilling as she had hoped. She sees that Gansey, a boy from Aglionby, will die within the next year. She can't get him out of her mind, a task made impossible when she meets him and his three friends. The Raven Boys, as Aglionby students are called, rope her into helping them with their mission: to locate a ley line. The line of energy could possibly connect them to the past and to the legendary "sleeping" Welsh king, Glendower, who will grant the one who awakens him a reward. Their quest puts each of them in harm's way, made more imminent when Blue finally starts to feel as if her kiss of death is going to be a real problem. First in a planned quartet, The Raven Boys is an incredibly rich and unique tale, a supernatural thriller of a different flavor. The cinematic feel paces the novel well, and the many pieces of the story unfold with grace. The complicated relationships between the Raven boys and Blue are not of the standard main character/love interest variety and makes the curious plot all the more enthralling. Fans have been salivating for Stiefvater's next release and The Raven Boys delivers.-Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

“Simultaneously complex and simple, compulsively readable, marvelously wrought. The only flaw is that this is Book 1; it may be months yet before Book 2 comes out.” - Kirkus, starred review

“. . . the book is marvelous, for not only is it filled with marvels, it is also a marvel of imagination and, more prosaically, structure. Rich, too, in characterization, this fantasy/mystery rises to the level of serious literature” - Booklist, starred review

“It’s a tour de force of characterization, and while there is no lack of event or mystery, it is the way Stiefvater’s people live in the reader’s imagination that makes this such a memorable read.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The Raven Boys is an incredibly rich and unique tale, a supernatural thriller of a different flavor . . . The Raven Boys delivers." - School Library Journal, starred review

"Amid well-paced, suspenseful plotting intriguingly overlaid with history, myth, and legend, Stiefvater creates a compelling human drama of boys whose privilege or lack thereof colors all of their interactions." - Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books, starred review

"Stiefvater not only weaves a suspenseful tale of Blue’s involvement with three such boys and their quest for the grave of an ancient king, but she also does so stylishly, with sly social commentary." - The Washington Post

"Stiefvater's can't-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book 2." - Entertainment Weekly

"Patton is masterful with the suspense and the mysticism and seductively plays the emotional line of real and imagined events. Don't miss this compelling listen" - Audiofile Magazine
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Series: Raven Cycle
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545424925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545424929
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (827 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On a cold night every spring, sixteen-year-old Blue and her psychic mother wait in a churchyard for the dead to arrive. Her mother is usually the one who sees the spirits of people who will die within the next twelve months, but this year, Blue herself is startled by the sad, desperate sight of a boy named Gansey falling to his knees before her.

"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve, Blue. Either you're his true love...or you killed him."

With those chilling words, Blue is caught up in a mystery she never expected involving the privileged Raven Boys from Aglionby Academy. She must guard her heart closely, however, because Blue's always been told that she's destined to kill her true love with a kiss.

If Edgar Allan Poe had taught the boys of Dead Poets Society, The Raven Boys is the type of tale he might've told, one that emerges through curl of smoke and excites with a flash of fire. This story, which seems to be loosely based on a real Welsh folk tale, is haunted by ghosts, invigorated by a fantastical search for a legendary sleeping Welsh king, and tinged with the frightening dark beauty of centuries-old magic.

While the story starts out from Blue's point of view, the book is actually told in third-party omniscient style, a welcome change from the author's usual first person perspective, and a necessary one given the many characters we get to know, particularly the raven boys. Gansey, who is obsessed with the supernatural; Adam, who yearns for a life outside what he knows; Ronan, whose anger hides untold regret; and Noah, a troubled soul who knows a great deal more than he lets on. I loved the complicated relationship between these boys, from their good-natured jeers to their anxious concern for one another.
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Format: Hardcover
I debated between 3 and 4 stars, but ultimately went with 3, for reasons I will state below. This review contains very minor spoilers (vague references to plot/character dynamics).

Pros:

1) The characters: Blue and the Raven Boys are well crafted. Gansey's my favorite, the rich boy who wants to do more with his life and help the people he's closest to, little realizing that his fixing things with money caused bitterness in some of the very people he wanted to help. One of the most intriguing parts of his character is the bee subplot and how it ties to the main plot with Glendower, and the idea that Gansey technically should have been dead years ago.

Blue is also a great character, though I found her aggravating and dense sometimes. I felt she should've told Gansey everything she knew, particularly about St. Mark's and her visions, but that's a personal quibble. At least she has a personality and felt real. I'm also interested in her parents' story and what will happen with Gansey. I have a soft spot for Ronan with his tortured self; the author manages to do a bad boy without making him cliché. I guessed Noah's secret from almost the get go, so it wasn't a surprise, but he was sweet and I enjoyed him.

Adam is my least favorite Raven Boy, though he was as well as drawn as the others. I have no idea why Blue likes him (or thinks she likes him; it's apparent she actually likes Gansey more, but is being stubborn/dense about it). I felt sorry for Adam, but look at the difference between him and Ronan, who are reverse in their exterior/interior. Ronan, for all of his bad behavior, is really the boys' friend; Adam, for all his model behavior, is not a good friend.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Original Post: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle 1) at FLYLēF (reviews.flylef.com)

FRANKLY, I'M SURPRISED by how I feel about this book. I was so sure I would like The Raven Boys, maybe even love it. I’ve heard so many good things about Maggie Stiefvater. MAGGIE! I was overjoyed to finally get my hands on a copy of this book. Halfway into it, though, I was completely crestfallen. With each turn of the page, I felt my excitement crushed by the hands of these silly teenage boys.

What happened?

Reading is incredible personal. I find that my experiences heavily influence how I view a book: like embracing a friend or exuding with cool indifference. In this particular case, it was definitely the latter. The characters in The Raven Boys remind me of my local high school—the only public school I know of to have fireworks for Homecoming! I’m surrounded by these young adults and their first-world problems. So when I met the characters from Aglionby High, I was floored by the similarities of Maggie Stiefvater’s Ravens and my real life pyrotechnic [insert high school mascot].

Suffice to say, I didn’t enjoy The Raven Boys because I found the characters too self-centered and didn’t possess enough character depth to pull me into their story, with the exception of perhaps Adam. Life is so hard when you have the best of everything and be able to bribe your way out of trouble (sarcasm alert). Chief among them is Gansey. Even though I found his ridiculous boat shoes quirky and adorable, I didn't care for his maddening, frantic obsession to find the buried Welsh king, Glendower, for whoever that finds him will be granted a favor when he is awakened. And in that madness, he threw caution to the wind and brought a lot of harm to those around him.
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