September 6, 2016

Series Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
pub 9/18/12 by Scholastic Press
YA - Paranormal 
I'd owned The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves for well over two years but I kept telling myself I was going to wait until the last book came out so I could binge-read them all. When The Raven King was released this year, I thought to myself – okay, this is it! And oh man, I am so glad I decided to wait. It was absolutely worth it because these books are meant to be binged. I loved getting to spend a whole week immersed in the world and the characters Stiefvater created.

The Raven Boys really set the stage for the whole series but it never felt like just the introduction book. It hooks you (at least that's how I felt) and even then I had a strong grasp on the characters because my opinion pretty much stayed the same throughout. Blue is the heroine and simply put, I adored her. She lives with her single mother and their friends, who are all clairvoyant and work as the town psychics. Except for Blue who can only amplify other people's "gifts" without having any of her own. But instead of trying to be more normal, she chooses to stand out and embrace who she is. (My kind of gal!) One thing has always plagued her though: she's been told she would cause her one true love to die. Of course, suddenly there are four new boys (ahem, the Raven Boys!) who come crashing into her life.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3)
My favorite!
Like Blue, I was very much fascinated by the Raven Boys and wanted to know more about them. (Well, most of them.) They're all students at a local private school called Aglionby and are on a quest to uncover some mythical and magical stuff about their town. Leading them is Gansey, who was my favorite from the start. He's really honest, kind, determined and loyal to the people he cares about. He wants nothing more to help each and every one of them, even when they don't want to accept it. There's Adam who I never liked and actually disliked more with each passing book. Basically he's a scholarship kid dealing with a crappy home life and has a major chip on his shoulder. (Normally I don't mind this particular trope but he is just ugh ugh ugh.) Rowan is my other favorite guy and the most complex of the bunch. He's emotional and while deep down he has this good, passionate heart, he's more prone to show his angry side. And lastly, Noah. He's a bit of follower and very quiet but even he'll surprise you.

Story-wise, I was really impressed with the detail and how everything connected. I personally enjoy Stiefvater's writing and while I admit there were times when it dragged (particularly in The Dream Thieves and certain parts of The Raven King), I was always satisfied with where the author led me as a reader. I was invested in the overarching journey, the characters and the relationships that developed (so much I want to say about this but I can't!). That said, my one main reservation is probably the last book. Again, I was happy overall with the end result but I did expect more. There were parts that felt unnecessary and rushed or came out of left field. But it was truly Blue, Gansey and Ronan who continuously shined for me and they were my favorite part about The Raven King and just about everything really.

Do I recommend? 
Yes! I was equal parts excited and scared to read this series because I really thought I was going to fall into the unpopular opinion bucket. But I'm so happy I didn't!

5 comments:

  1. Yes!! We have the same ranking of favorite Raven Boys<3 I am still so in love with Gansey! I know Maggie is writing a Ronan trilogy but I'm praying Gansey will be part of it as well!

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  2. I adore this series and you're absolutely right - it's one that has got to be binged! I read the first 3 books in one go and waiting another year for TRK was an absolute misery.

    I think The Raven Boys was my least favourite of the 4 because I was more drawn in by the characters than the plot, but I got so invested in the magic of Henrietta and Cabeswater by the time book 2 rolled around.

    BLLB was also my favourite, although partially because there was a lot of Adam in it and I actually love him to pieces (he's one of my all time favourite characters) so I'm sad you didn't like him. But yeah I did find him a little crummy in The Dream Theives - I think he needed to take a step back and kinda work himself out.

    I definitely agree that TRK needed a little something more, especially with regards to how it ended (there were a couple of things I wanted more of an explanation for, particularly with Gansey and Noah).

    I do have mixed feelings about the Ronan spin off series because part of what made this series so amazing for me was the group dynamic and I'll miss Blue and the other boys too much if they aren't in it. But I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    Sorry this was so long! I guess I have a ton of feelings about this series and I'm really glad you liked it (also your theme is awesome).

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  3. I haven't even heard of this series-- but your review makes me want to read them! I'm in the group of people who try to wait until the entire series is published before reading any of the books, so this is perfect timing for me. I adore binge reading!

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  4. I love this series! I heard so much about it, but like you kept putting off reading it. When I did, I'll admit I wasn't into The Raven Boys, but I kept on because of so many recommendations. I'm glad I did. It hooked me from the half way point, and didn't let go until the end. Ronan, Blue, and Gansey were my favs, too! Great review!

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  5. I love that you've actually managed to finish this series before I did even though I read the first three books before you ;) But I definitely agree about this series being the kind that you should binge! It's one of the ones where you'll want to immerse yourself in all the details, and that will just make the reading experience even better. I can't wait to finally take the time to binge read it all from start to finish!

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