Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle Book 1)

TheRavenBoysCoverSynopsis: Blue, the daughter of a psychic, has no psychic abilities herself, but her presence magnifies the abilities and supernatural presence around her. She meets The Raven Boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, all students at private Aglionby Academy. The Raven Boys are searching for ley lines and the mythical Welsh king, Glendower. Blue gets caught up in their search.

Review: This was a very interesting book. I didn’t love it, but parts of it were fascinating and I honestly did not know what Maggie Stiefvater was going to bring into the story next.

I read this book for the Goodreads group Hype or Like Friday. It was our June book, but I was bad and didn’t finish the book on time. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is book one in the series The Raven Cycle. All four books of the series are out now, so if reading incomplete series isn’t your thing, then no worries with this series!

I don’t want to say too much about the plot besides what I have mentioned in the synopsis above, as part of the magic of this book is seeing the plot unfold.

The plot does have psychics and magic and an element of the supernatural, so if you like that type of book, you will probably really enjoy this. I’m not big into the supernatural in my books, so I didn’t fall under the spell as so many have. But, I will say that even though the supernatural and ghosts and ceremonies and just odd things are all in this book, it wasn’t scary. It was more interesting than anything else.

So many people talk about the wonderful characters in this book, I thought the characters were just alright. Blue and Gansey are both fairly bland. Ronan is more interesting, but he’s the “bad boy” of the bunch, and I’ve always been drawn to that type of character. Noah and Adam are also boring, and are only memorable because of certain plot events. There really isn’t much personality to any of the characters. I couldn’t tell you who was funny or who liked what or anything other than what kind of car Gansey drove (orange Camaro) and umm…wow. That’s about it. Ronan probably has the most personality, but that’s because he is written to be so surly and sour, that he stands out.

I didn’t see any of the plot coming, which was good. It took me awhile to get through The Raven Boys, but once I got to 65% on my Kindle I read the rest quickly. I felt that the most interesting aspects of the story were glossed over fairly quickly, and parts that were boring or had seemingly no relevance to the overall main plot dragged on for far too long.

I wrote in my notes that I was “utterly confused” after finishing the book. I have zero idea why Blue and the Raven Boys are looking for Glendower and why I, as a reader, should care about their quest. This is my biggest issue with the book.

This series has been hyped so much. Book bloggers are constantly talking about it, and there are many pictures of the books over on Instagram. Is the hype justified? Ehh… I’ll hold off on judgement until I read the whole series, but based on what I’ve read so far, no it is not justified. I will continue on with the series, I’ll just wait a bit, and I’ll be getting the next books from my library rather than purchasing them.

I think I’ve got YA burnout, so I need to wait awhile before reading another YA book.

Bottom Line: Interesting start to a popular series. Intriguing, but not fully captivating.

Here are links to The Raven Boys on Goodreads and Amazon.

Have you read The Raven Boys? Did you love it? Did you dislike it? Does the series get better as it goes along or is wasted time and disappointment in my future?



23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle Book 1)

  1. I felt similar. It was very YA-ish to me. I definitely enjoyed it and I liked the plot, but I’m not crazy obsessed with it like some people. I have yet to read the final one (I’m waiting for the audiobook from the library!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see how people could be obsessed with it. There was a lot of really interesting ideas that I wish had gone just a bit further or been explained a bit more. I’ll definitely read the other books in the series!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read a review from another blogger that I follow, and I don’t seem to remember her loving it either. Mostly, the two of us were confused as to why Blue’s mom senses the ghosts of people who aren’t dead. I kept asking, “Doesn’t that mean she’s just seeing…people?” and the blogger said it was their souls/spirits that were going to appear in a few days after the person died, and I said, “Yeah, but how can a person be alive without their soul?”

    I get the feeling I would never make it through this book alive without questioning things to pieces 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Blue’s mom could sense the ghosts because those people were going to die within the next year. Now why on earth they would appear only on one night, I have no idea. And why they appear at all, far away from the person, who knows. They are just in the opening chapter, and then they aren’t sensed again (that I can remember at least), so I may have missed something.
      There are a lot of little instances that don’t make sense once you start questioning things, and there was a particular scene towards the end with a back hoe that just made no sense at all.
      Certain important things are glossed over, while the less important plot points are explained. It was very odd. I’m hoping there is more clarification in future books.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more, Ami. I stopped reading around 13%, then I had the entire blogging community tell me all week how wonderful it is and that I should give it a second chance. I picked it up again last night and read until about 25%. I just don’t get it at all. I have to agree with you on hype. I hope this doesn’t end up being like The Winner’s Curse where you think it will get better and it doesn’t. I don’t know if I’m getting too old for YAs like this and that’s why I can’t connect with the writing. I skimmed parts of what I did read cause it was boring. Kids go looking for treasures and a dead King seems a bit too childish even for someone of this age group. It seems more MG with high school kids playing the roles. Harry Potter is MG, but I never had that wow this is childish vibe cause J.K. Rowling is such an incredible writer. I think I had 20 likes on Goodreads just because I changed my status to “giving The Raven Boys another shot.” That just tells me how popular that book is among my friends. I feel like I’m being unfair but it’s such a slow moving book. And what’s with the teacher who’s also looking for the treasure/King? I’m not far enough in to know where it’s going, but at 25% I expect to at least have some sort of clue and I don’t. It’s very disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I was at 25% when I couldn’t figure out who was “good” or “bad”. At least, I remember when that teacher appeared that I was confused as to whether or not I was supposed to like him.
      And you’ve hit the nail on the head about looking for treasures and the dead King being childish. It just seems like Gansey is looking for him because he is rich and bored. And that does not make for excitement.
      I really liked the opening chapter (or was it a prologue?) but then after that it was slow until I hit the 65% mark. Then things just happened that were so odd and unusual that I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. But I just don’t care, nor do I understand about the search for the King. I’m not sure the next book will clarify anything, but I will read it because I’m intrigued about certain plot events that happened at the end of the book. But I’m not racing out to read it, and I must take a break from YA for a bit.
      Good comparison to JK Rowling – I don’t recall ever feeling that Harry Potter was childish, even though the characters were clearly children, and written as children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly have no idea why I’m reading it or why I should care about any of these characters. The boys all sound the same to me with the exception of Ronan, and Blue has to be one of the most boring characters I’ve ever read. I think I’ll be in a massive reading slump if I continue on with this book. I agree. Gansey is bored and has nothing better to do. The book said he has a trust fund that could buy the whole town or something like that so I guess a spoiled rich kid needs to keep himself occupied. I don’t enjoy any of the characters. I don’t understand why it’s so popular or how anyone had enough patience to continue reading long enough to reach the end, which by your review doesn’t even sound like it’s worth the wait. I have a feeling my opinion will be simile to yours. I was thinking I’d read maybe a few chapters a week until I finish the book. But I doubt I’ll ever read the rest of them. Not unless something drastically changes and the characters and story arc all of a sudden shock me. Yeah, J.K. Rowling never made me think Harry is a child and I’m too old to read this. If anything, I was like give me more I need to know what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The boys were interchangeable to me for the most part, and Blue is pretty boring. It would’ve been more interesting to have a story about Blue’s mother and her mother’s friends and skip the Welsh King search all together. I am so confused when I read reviews that say how wonderful and complex the characters are. I just don’t see it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I feel the same way about the boys. Everyone keeps telling me how amazing they are and I can’t even tell them apart. I don’t even remember what color hair any of them have or Blue for that matter. It’s a really unremarkable cast of characters. I think this one will be a rant if I finish it and I know everyone will got nuts about it. Yeah, I would’ve rather heard more about her mother’s abilities. The whole thing about Gansey and Blue not being able to kiss sounds dumb, too. Reminds me too much of Bella and Edward. I’m not up to that part in the book but I’ve read it in reviews about the unable to kiss each other thing. The whole thing sounds weird to me. I’m moving on to The Song of Achilles. I don’t think I can go wrong with that book, considering it’s a modern version of my favorite book.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’d love to read your Rant if you ever finish the book!
              There is literally nothing I remember about the characters except of what type of car Gansey drives. That’s it. Nothing about their personality, nothing. Just plot points that come along later, but that isn’t about the actual characters.
              I hope you like The Song of Achilles. I finished it last night and enjoyed it.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. There are sections I really enjoyed (the prologue, the trees) so I’m really interested to see what comes next. Maybe once we read the next book we’ll get what all the fuss is about.


  4. This was a great review! I liked the first book more than you did, and I am curious to see if I enjoy the next books as well. It’s so sad this didn’t live up to your expectations, I hate when that happens. I hope you’ll keep on reading and like the next ones better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah I went in fully expecting to love this book and was disappointed when I didn’t. I will continue on with the series at some point because there were parts that were so unusual, I’m interested to read what happens in the next books.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I still haven’t picked up the rest of the series. Not sure I will at this point, even though I still hear great things about the series! Will you go on to read the rest of the books?


      1. Yeah I probably will, because like you mentioned as well, I still have a lot of questions and I want to know why I should care about retina things. Also, I really like her writing style and it’s just an easy afternoon read

        Liked by 1 person

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