I recently binge read all the books in ‘The Raven Cycle’ by Maggie Stiefvater. For those who are not familiar; it’s a YA series published by Scholastic and has been around for a while, the first book ‘The Raven Boys’ was published back in 2012, and I had a copy of this on my YA bookcase for ages, but with the usual demanding and never-ending TBR list – it’d been neglected.
My daughter has taken a great interest in reading recently and we’re looking for books we can both read and talk about together; the YA section seemed a great way to meet and talk stories! So, I started ‘The Raven Boys’ and enjoyed it; I tend to keep going if it’s a series book – and there’s definitely a need to do this with Stiefvater’s series, as the story and mystery is plotted across all four books. So, the opening line: ‘Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.’ is finally resolved at the end of the fourth book, ‘The Raven King’.
I hadn’t really paid any attention to what this book was about, so it was a nice surprise to find out it had a supernatural theme. ‘The Raven Boys’ begins with Blue Sargent sitting on St Mark’s Eve, as she usually does each year with her clairvoyant mother, as the soon-to-be-dead walk past. This year is different in more than one way, and one of those ways is that Blue sees a boy who she is able to speak to. This is the first time Blue has been able to see the physical manifestation of a spirit; she is usually more of an amplifier. This leads us to Gansey, who’s a rich boy from the local private school, Aglionby. Boys at this school are called the Raven Boys, and Blue usually keeps clear of them, as they’re known as trouble. However, this odd meeting with Gansey’s spirit is a puzzle to her and she soon becomes drawn to both Gansey and the other Raven Boys in his group.
These books work as a quest, Blue, Gansey and three more Aglionby boys: Adam, a scholarship student; Ronan, pugnacious and emotional; and Noah, the quiet watcher, all become caught up in Gansey’s quest to follow the ley lines and find Glendower, the lost Welsh King. Blue’s problem is that she’s always been warned that she will kill her true love; she’s partly ignored this, but the more time spent in the company of the Raven Boys, the more worried she becomes.
I think this is overall a great YA series: rounded characters; mysterious supernatural escalating events; brotherhood, first loves, family, heartaches, and the odd villain or two to keep building the tension. A well-written supernatural, magical fantasy drama.
Recommended YA series.