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.
I knew, or hoped, this was going to be my kind of book when I opened up to this:
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…
~Edgar Allan Poe
And, I have to say, that this novel, and likely this series, evoke the feeling of Poe better than nearly anything I’ve read since Poe. Dark, dreary, scattered with hope, fear, longing, and regret. At once magical and mundane, fantastical and everyday. And perhaps it’s those elements, that come together so beautifully, that made me fall in love with every aspect of this book.
Maggie Stiefvater wove together characters and world and plot with words so beautifully that I am in awe. Her turns of phrase are breathtaking and serve to add dimension and ambiance to the story. She paints the picture so vividly that I feel like I’m there, experiencing all these amazing things, with these people.
Gansey himself sat at an old desk with his back to them, gazing out an east-facing window and tapping a pen. His fat journal lay open near him, the pages fluttering with glued-in book passages and dark with notes. Adam was struck, as he occasionally was, by Gansey’s agelessness: an old man in a young body, or a young man in an old man’s life.
And while this book is called “Raven Boys” – and they’re important, and central to the story (and I love most of them), it’s the women of 300 Fox Way that I’m absolutely enamoured with in this book. Calla, Maura, Persephone, Neeve, and Blue. They’re all unique, independent, strong women that I want to know more about. They’re all a mystery – some even to themselves – and the mysteries reveal themselves slowly, as they ought to. I could devolve into a 20 page essay if I tried to describe my love for these ladies.
Sometimes, Blue would creep outside for an infinitesimal break, and as she lay her head back against the brick wall of the alley behind the restaurant, she’d dream idly about careers studying tree rings. Swimming with manta rays. Scouring Costa Rica to find out more about the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.
Really, she didn’t know if she’d truly like to find out more about the pygmy tyrant. She just liked the name, because for a five-foot-tall girl, pygmy tyrant sounded like a career.
Gansey grew on me slowly, perfectly, and naturally. I like him a lot, despite the rich-people-problems-woe vibe that he sometimes evokes. Ronan I loved from the start, but I do have a thing for the broken, brooding ones. Noah…well, I won’t say too much, but he wormed his way into my heart. Adam. *sigh* What can I say about Adam. All of these characters are hard to shoe-box and have just one feeling about, but none more-so than Adam. He has me swinging back and forth on my feelings for him more than a ping-pong match. I understand and sympathize, and at the same time I want to shake some sense into him.
This book seems like it was written explicitly for me. Take a strong heroine, a slightly manic hero, timeless-magic woods, ageless, sleeping heroes, and bonds that are formed to complete quests unknown and somehow unavoidable…mix it all together with beautiful writing and just sign me up.
I’m almost sorry that I didn’t read this sooner. I wish I’d had years to experience this story and think about it, ruminate on the possibilities. And yet, I’m glad I’ve started now when I can binge read it from beginning to end. When I can find out what’s going on, what all the implications are, and who is affected how.
After all, Blue has to kiss her true love….and by doing so, kill him.