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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

Time to get caught up with some reviews!

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This is a little old now as I read The Raven Boys last summer, but as we're only in the middle of the series (the third of four books comes out this year) I guess it's not too late.

The Raven Boys is the first title in the Raven cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and is definitely one of my favorite books of the past few years. I like books that are both well-written and don't explain too much at the beginning, just dropping information here and there to let you piece things together, and such a book is The Raven Boys.

In fact, the beginning is very vague: Blue Sargent and someone we understand to be her aunt are sitting in a graveyard in the middle of the night, waiting. Waiting for what, exactly, isn't clear, but we're told that every St. Mark's Eve, Blue and her clairvoyant mother wait in the graveyard for the soon-to-be-dead spirits to walk by and whisper their names. Blue can't see or hear them but functions as an amplifier. In fact she often acts as amplifier for her mother, aunt, and the other women living in her home. It's this paranormal vagueness, the relationship of the female characters living at 300 Fox Way, and the way the paranormal is no big deal, just a part of everyday life--exciting at times and a headache at others, but rarely causing anxiety or stress--that reminded me of one of my all time favorite books, A Wrinkle In Time. It also reminded me of the movie Practical Magic (which I also love) in the way the characters interact. Win-win.

Apart from being extremely well-written - Maggie turns some wonderful phrases - it is otherwise unlike anything else I've ever read. And that's always a good thing too.

Blue is initially extremely annoyed then befriended by four boys, ‘Raven Boys’ from the local prep school, and is roped into their adventures trying to find the final resting place of an ancient Welsh king. The reasons for this search are also very vague, but it seems like a worthy quest, at least from the boys’ point of view, and they are all invested in it. Magic is involved, of course, and the boys soon discover that Blue, with her amplifying power, is very handy to have along. Romance is obviously in the future with a foreboding black cloud already hanging over it in the form of Blue's curse--that she will be the cause of her true love's death. There's a triangular shaped thing already in place too, but that’s to be expected, I suppose, and didn’t detract one bit from the pleasure I got from the story.

I absolutely loved this book. The characterizations were clear and not too clich├ęd, I loved the boys (especially Noah) and loved the quirky women of Blue’s household too. There were a few parts that were too vague, not well described enough, which made it hard to imagine, but the characters, plot, and strength of writing more than made up for it. I will definitely be reading this book again and am in for the whole series.

Highly recommended! with reservations about the sequel. Stay tuned.

This song's a little old now too, but the first time I heard it, it made me think of this book. (No the video has nothing to do with the story.)

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 26 (Yes - still - but almost done). Revisions through chapter 15.

Listening: Foster the People (review coming)

Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Gilmore Girls Season 7



Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister Journals info and excerpts at the book's website here: theglisterjournals.com

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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