So I figured... I ought to review Raven Boys.
Because Raven Boys is not a series I would typically read, and, while it makes me very happy, (who am I kidding, it stresses me out and makes me aggressively worry about *cough* certain characters.) it definitely has some stuff I feel like I should warn people about.
What Is Raven Boys?
(Because I'm rubbish at summaries, especially book summaries, I'm going to steal part of the one from the author's website.)
"There are only two reason a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said."Either you're his true love. . . . or you killed him."
For as long as she can remember, Blue Sargent has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But when she-- a non psychic, sees the ghost of a young man who will be dead within a year, her unfortunate predicament becomes suddenly very real.
To make matters worse, she quickly realizes that the ghost she saw belongs to Richard Gansey, a young man attending The Aglionby Academy. (an elite, rich person school, with a raven for its crest, where spoiled, wealthy boys go to be educated before they set out to ruin the world.)
Blue does not like Raven Boys.
But Gansey and his friends are different from the rest. They're searching for the sleeping Welsh king, Glendower, because, legend has it, whoever finds Owen Glendower and wakes him, will be granted a favor. Blue is pulled into their friendship, and things start to get complicated: she doesn't want Gansey to be her true love, and she does not want to kill him.
Just when it looks like stuff might be going well for Blue and her Raven Boys, it comes to light that there are others seeking Glendower, for reasons sinister, and disturbing.
The race is on, characters develop, and WOW, I AM REALLY WORRIED ABOUT GANSEY.
THINGS I LOVED
So, Maggie Stiefvater is a really awesome author. She writes so freaking well! And after reading Scorpio Races, I was on a Maggie kick, and wanted to devour something else of hers, which is why I borrowed Raven Boys from Kat.
Raven Boys is really nothing like Scorpio Races, even though it's just as good.
I LOVE THE CHARACTERS
Even the ones who drive me crazy.
She doesn't have a single flat character in her books. They're all interesting and have these hidden characteristics, and layers that make you go, "Whooaaahhh,"
I JUST REALLY LIKE REAL CHARACTERS, OKAY?!
Blue is actually a likeable female book lead. (I have a problem, where I tend to find females in books so incredibly annoying.) Blue is awesome though. She's short (yay, I love short people! I'm short! Short people will rule the world one day.), she's spunky, and eccentric. She has her faults but she's not obnoxious. She's a little spitfire, is what she is, I like like her.
Gansey is so nice. He is such a good friend, and he tries hard to be normal. He doesn't treat people differently because they have less money than he does, he's just a good sort, all round.
People Are Not Nice To Gansey And It Bothers Me.
He's obsessed with finding Glendower, but it's not really selfish, it's more like he needs to find it because it's important to him. He's smart, and honest, and does his best to look out for everyone he cares about. HE JUST WANTS TO HELP, OKAY??
Ronan is a brat, I won't lie. But I love him and I can't help it because he's had a hard life, and he's damaged, and I like damaged characters. He's a fighter, and a hothead, and he has a problem with making bad decisions. If it wasn't for Gansey, he probably would have dropped out of Aglionby and run off to be a street fighter by now.
But for all that, he's incredibly loyal, when he's loyal. He's fiercely protective of his friends, especially Gansey. (They are like brothers and I am infatuated with their friendship.) He has a soft spot for animals, and I think with the right people around him, he could grow up to be a really good guy.
Adam frustrates me because I loved him in book one, and he went downhill in book two. I want to like him more, but he's got this persecution complex. (Which makes sense, considering his family life.) He's a scholarship student at Aglionby, but he resents wealth of any kind. He won't accept any financial help from his friends because he doesn't want them to own him. He's NOT NICE to Gansey, and he has plans for Glendower that worry me a little. I wish he would be kinder again, because he makes me sad how dark he's getting.
Noah is hard to talk about because he's not a loud character. He's quiet and sort of fades into the background when you're not looking. He is a sweetie and a gentle kind of person, and he adds a sense of calm to the group. He's also really sad.
I want to hug him, because he's sad.
Besides the main characters, you also have Blue's mother who is so odd, but I really like her anyway.
The Gray Man, that I was unsure about and won't say anything else concerning him, so I shan't give any spoilers. (I won't even say if I like him or not, because that's kind of a spoiler in itself.)
Blue's weird, psychic aunts who do things like Aerial Silk in their living room, and threaten hit men.
Gansey's sister who I vary between liking and finding her annoying.
Ronan's brothers who I can't decide if I like or not.
Adam's messed up parents.
It's all very intriguing, and I am quite absurdly fond of everyone in a general book hug of love.
THE WAY THE PSYCHICS ARE HANDLED
I don't really like psychics. I mean, I guess it's possible for people to have a higher sense of the supernatural, but seriously, let's not get carried away. I like the way Maggie Stiefvater explains the psychics, and doesn't make them witchy or satanic. (unless they're evil, but that's okay, because witchy and satanic are evil.)
ALL THE RELATIONSHIPS ARE FABULOUS
Whether it's between Blue and the boys, between just the boys, between Blue and her mother, or between Gansey and Blue, the relationships feel real and not forced. They grow well, they're not like, "and all of the sudden I love you."
Let me reiterate my fandom war cry: I love friendships, and brother stories. (I like the occasional romance, if it's handled well.) I love family stories, and conversion stories, and mysteries, and Raven Boys has ALL OF THEM. It's a friggen miracle.
I ship Gansey and Blue. So hard. But I don't want to ship them, because if Blue kisses her true love she'll kill him! *sobs* I don't want my ship to be sunk with a kiss, okay? It will be sad and I am really, really worried about Gansey's fate, OKAY?
MAGGIE STIEFVATER'S WRITING STYLE MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY
It's not typical young adult style. It doesn't patronize or talk down to the reader, it's beautiful without being flowery. Her descriptions are some of the best I've ever read, and yeah. I am a fan.
She sucks you in and you read voraciously and aggressively turn pages.
So okay, there we go. Stuff I liked.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE.
So, they're teenage boys. Teenage boys curse. A lot. And I'm not talking mild words damn and hell.... (though they're included) I'm talking F Bombs and every variation of the S word, and all manner of bad words in between.
I have this talent where I just breeze over them and forget about them. Until I recommend it to someone and I'm like, oh yeah. Um. Awkward.
I know people swear, and swearing doesn't really bother me personally. I don't, but if you swear, I'm not going to shun you. But I wish there was less of it in this book, because there are a lot of F Bombs.
There was a really weird, kind of dark and uncomfortable scene involving pills and boys getting high. It was handled well, but yeah. It was creepy. I read it sort of squinty eyed and felt somewhat disturbed.
There was an awkward scene with kissing. It never got dirty, and I never felt like it went too far, but neither had kissed before and they were figuring it out, and it was awkward.
Yes, I do adore this series. Yes, I do absolutely recommend it. But I'd say wait until you're at least sixteen.
If it were a movie I'd rate it PG-13 for swearing alone.
And if you don't like kind of dark fairytales, don't try it. (Well it's not dark. It's.... it's dim.... yeah, okay, it's a little dark.)
My sister preordered Blue Lily, Lily Blue, which is book three in the series, and if I'm really nice, she might let me read it when she's done.
I WOULD LOVE THIS.
Did I mention I have a theory about Gansey and I hope I'm wrong?
I hate waiting to read books.
It is stressful.
Go find the books. Read them. And let me know what you think.
(PS, real quick. Do you guys like my reviews or are they annoying, and you wish I would stop?)