October 10, 2013

Karen's Take: The Raven Boys

Welcome to Karen's Take. A feature where I, Karen (A.K.A. Shelly's awesome twin sister), give my opinion on a book Shelly has already read/reviewed.
This Week: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Shelly's Rating: 4/5 stars (her review)
My Rating: 3/5 stars
Source: Borrowed from Shelly
"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.”

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.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. (via goodreads
 I tried to like this book more, I really did. After starting this book I could tell that I would not like it. It started with an overall mystery that was not appealing or interesting. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I would've liked to.

 Characters: The characters all had a certain quality that I hated about them. Blue was not a good main character. She was not strong and frankly, dull. The book tries to convince us that she is special but I didn't see it. It seemed that she was just born into a special situation that had nothing to do with her. Gansey was alright, although his ego sometimes got in the way of me liking him. I neither hated him or loved him. Adam was my least favorite character. All he sought was riches but he had no ambitions or goals. I did not feel bad bad for him at all and honestly, I thought he was the most selfish character. Noah was an okay character. I enjoyed how he never really expected anything from anyone and he was mostly himself.... although himself is a relative term. Ronan was by far my favorite. I always go for the unlikable character and in this book it was Ronan. I just loved his whole motif and how he was very sensitive on the inside. He was just fabulous. *note from Shelly: I also thought Ronan was just fabulous. I guess we both love the misunderstood troubled characters*

Setting: The setting of this book was overall okay. At times there were very long and boring description of the setting while in some instances there was only one word sentences to describe everything. I felt like the setting was all up to the imagination. However, when push comes to shove, the setting added detail to this book and it really helped me imagine the place I was reading about.

Plot: I'm not much of a fiction fan but this plot intrigued me. I found the aspects with the magic and energy to be interesting but what i really enjoyed about the book was how it tied in to some real social problems. For example, I loved how Adam's family dilemma contributed to the development of the magic/energy plot and how it was tied in together. The mystery in this plot was very interesting but a little easy to decipher. I could easily predict the outcome of some situations while being totally in the dark about another. Overall an okay plot, not too special but not bad either.

Ending: Awful. Just awful. A confusing plot development occurs in the second last chapter and oops, everyone forgot it happend! You failed raven boys, you failed.

Overall, not a great book but it was an okay one. I enjoyed only one character and others annoyed me. The plot was interesting and intriguing and I liked the setting. I think I will be reading the sequel because the ending was very open ended but if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't even consider reading the sequel. I was considering giving this book two stars because it was just okay but I changed it because I remembered how much I loved Ronan.

What did you think of the Raven Boys? Are you more like me or like Shelly? Isn't Ronan the best character ever?



  1. I wasn't a fan either, I actually DNFed it because it was so hard to get into.

    Lovely review, Karen! <33

  2. Aw, I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy this one much, Karen! I'm leaning more toward Shelly's side, because I while it definitely wasn't perfect, I still loved it a lot. But I can understand where you're coming from, because admittedly, the book took me quite a while to get into as well. Maggie's writing can get kind of heavy from time to time, so that was the worst aspect of the book, but once I got into rhythm... well, no coming back out again.

    "Blue was not a good main character. She was not strong and frankly, dull. The book tries to convince us that she is special but I didn't see it." - She is pretty ordinary, compared to the other members of her family, which I thought was refreshing because all heroines these days have either some superpower or some PHYSICAL something that sets them apart from others. I never thought she was dull, though! :P But if you liked Ronan best, then you should check out THE DREAM THIEVES, because that was way better than this first one!

    I'm so glad that the plot intrigued you - it definitely was one of the strengths of the book (and the second one, too), and it was so original. I can't remember the actual details of the book, but aw, it's a shame that the mystery wasn't as suspenseful as possible. I honestly don't remember any mystery, haha.

    Great review, Karen! It was nice to see a different perspective instead of seeing readers gush left, right and center about the book. TRB wasn't the best of the best, but since you're going to be reading the sequel, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  3. I haven't read this one yet but I've seen a lot of reviews saying similar things. Luckily though, everyone seemed to think the second book was a MASSIVE improvement - so hopefully you'll have better luck with that!

    - Allie @ Little Birdie Books

  4. Oh man, I'm so happy to see this review of yours! I had a tough time enjoying it myself, and really felt like the outcast. I believe I gave it 3.5 stars. There were parts I really enjoyed, but overall I was confused more often than not. It may have had to do with the fact that I chose to go the audio route... but I just didn't love it like everyone else did. I'm interested in reading The Dream Thieves to see if it's any better. I've been seeing a lot of really great reviews for it. I'm staying hopeful! :)


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