The Raven Boys
(Raven Cycle, Book One)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Format: Audio Book
Narrator: Will Patton (Nailed it!)
Length: 11 hours & 9 minutes
Genres: Fiction, Young-adult, Paranormal, Magic,
Fantasy, Adventure, Supernatural
Take a Peek: Audible | Overdrive | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars
After I finished the snooze-fest of the Twilight-wannabe Shiver, I had every intention of ignoring this book’s existence. Thanks to a few different factors like boredom, it’s availability on Overdrive, and my curiosity, I begrudgingly started listening to this novel.
The book stars Blue, a teen girl belonging to a very high estrogen family that are all psychics. Every medium—including those not in her family—has said that Blue’s true love will die if she kisses them. Because that’s not terrifying at all. *Sarcasm alert* Her entire family has the gift of foresight except Blue, and her only “power” is to help amplify their visions. Even though she helps strengthen the paranormal activity around her, she can’t interact with it, which Blue understandably thinks is super lame. Luckily for us and the Raven Boys, this little non-power comes in handy later.
Blue is with her aunt one night in a cemetery, helping her get visions of the people that will die in the coming year when she sees a boy named Gansey. He’s her first vision ever and she finds out that he will die in the next twelve months. Hmmm… Methinks I sense some foreshadowed star-crossed lovers…
Meanwhile, the very real and non-ghost-like Gansey is the ringleader to his group of friends Ronan, Adam, and Noah. All of them attend the wealthy private school Aglionby and are forced to wear uniforms with an embroidered raven on the jacket, which is how Blue comes up with the name “Raven Boys.” *Cue audience collectively going “Ohhhhhhhh…”* For years, Gansey has thrown himself into the mysterious disappearance of an old Welsh prince Owen Glendower and has vowed to find his remains and solve it’s mystery. He’s even roped in his friends, who all go along with it to placate him. When Blue and the Raven Boys get thrown together, she turns into the key they’ve needed all along to find the long lost prince. They discover a magical piece of land that makes everyone feel like they’re dropped acid and pushes them further into their quest, all while strengthening their bonds as friends. And since all of that apparently isn’t enough, the skeevy Aglionby Latin professor Barrington Whelk is also hunting for the long lost prince and tries to thwart the teens at all costs.
To be honest, I expected this to be yet another paranormal romance born from the Twilight revolution and in some vague ways it was. If this book had just been about Blue and Gansey, I don’t think I could have stomached the whole thing. Yet another high school loner who’s made to feel special by a boy while battling something paranormal-ish. I hope you can feel me rolling my eyes through the text.
Plus, I hate that I already sort-of know where their story is going. After being a nerd for this long, I’ve learned that whenever a character knows their future from some sort of vision it never comes true the way they think it will. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but I can already feel the big reveal looming in the fourth book.
What really sets this book a part, is the group of characters and their whole dynamic. I didn’t stay for Blue, or Gansey, or their promised romance in the coming novels. No, I stayed because I really freaking love Ronan, Adam, and Noah. I really like the quest they’re on too, because it’s so different. The combination gave me faint echos of The Goonies or Stand By Me that was really great to watch unfold. Part of me doesn’t even want to continue on with the series because I’m worried about these Raven boys I’ve grown to love. I can’t help myself though, I just have to know what happens with this damn King they’re looking for.
Also, big shout out to Will Patton for doing such an excellent job as narrator! At first I didn’t even realize who was talking and then mid-chapter I was like, “is this freaking Will Patton?!” Why yes, yes it is. He has a great speaking voice, and his slight southern accent somehow makes the story feellike it’s in Virginia. Patton brings a whole new layer of depth into the story and I’m super glad I listened to the audio book instead of reading a hard copy.
It’s official, I stand corrected and shall never let the boring-ness of Shiver paint my judgement again. This was a really fun listen and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a little mystery in their young-adult books.