The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

I’m about a million years behind the rest of the world in getting around to reading the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, but over the last month and a bit,
Will Patton’s dulcet tones have been keeping me company in my car as I tootle about the place, telling me the stories of Blue Sargent and her Raven Boys as they search for the ancient Welsh King Glendower.

Starting with The Raven Boys, there are four books in the cycle, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.

The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

“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.

I really enjoyed this series of books. Blue was maybe the least interesting character in it, as the boys in Aglionby school really took centre stage. But the story ranged between Blue and the boys, and kept me captivated the whole time.

Blue, the non-psychic daughter and niece and cousin of psychics, is something of an anomaly. Struggling to find her place, she meets the Raven Boys – Gansey, the privileged rich kid who has everything, and is consumed by the search for Glendower; Adam, the scholarship student who’s struggling to escape his difficult home life; Ronan, the surly, furiously troubled soul who’s trying to deal with the loss of his father; and Noah, a smudgy, quiet watcher, who is easy to forget, but has more depths to him that we knew.

Over the course of the four books, we also get to know Blue’s mother and aunts, (and pseudo-aunts), Ronan’s brothers and mother, Gansey’s sister and parents, and more of the Raven Boys – privileged Aglionby students and their mysterious skills and gifts.

I thoroughly enjoyed all four of these books. There were plenty of twists and turns, frustrations, diversions, and a gorgeously strong friendship between the main characters.

Ronan was definitely my favourite, probably because everything he said seemed, to me, to be imbued with shades of my boyfriend Ronan. Occasional flashes of humour made this cycle more than just a ceaseless plodding search for magic.

With humour, friendship, loss, death, and a search for an ancient king, The Raven Cycle was definitely worth reading, and a wonderful distraction from rubbish traffic as I commuted.

All four books get four stars from me.

Mainly the lack of the final star is because of the use of the name Neeve, the fact that three brothers are called Ronan, Declan and (?) Matthew (although the reason for that becomes clear later), and because Matthew’s story was never resolved. But they are very minor niggles, and really, this was a superbly written and engaging series, that I would heartily recommend.

The Raven Boys
****
The Dream Thieves
****
Blue Lily, Lily Blue
****
The Raven King

****

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One response to “The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Pingback: September Roundup | Much Ado About Books

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