The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys


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Gabi's Review

I am buddy-reading the first in a four-book series called The Raven Cycle, by American writer Maggie Stiefvater, with my 13-year-old granddaughter. While my granddaughter has no interest in romance in a traditional sense, she has been drawn to the book’s wonderful portraits of complex relationships and diverse social dynamics, as well its exploration of class and privilege in an original fantasy story.

The setting is the small town of Henrietta, Virginia, where Blue Sargent finds herself out of her league, unwillingly connecting with the wealthy students of Aglionby Academy, a private school for boys known by the locals as Raven Boys. Blue, who comes from a family of psychics, is socially alienated even further because of her family's “strange” fortune-telling abilities. She especially dislikes the Raven Boys, finding them entitled and arrogant. But in an annual ritual which parades the souls of people soon to die, she catches a glimpse of her future when she sees a Raven Boy named Gansey.

Blue is cursed by a psychic predication that if she kisses her true love, she will kill him. She meets Gansey, and as her relationship with him develops, she begins to realise that he might be “the one.” Their romance, set in the modern world, has a dark academia aesthetic with a fairy tale-like atmosphere, and tackles relationships in a nuanced way, upending assumptions based on class divisions.

Original in its concept, with enigmatic and beautifully written characters, the book is both whimsical and evocative. My granddaughter and I are, much to my surprise, loving the book.

Publishers Reviews

'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.'

Every year Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them — until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.