The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Posted November 8, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 9 Comments

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys

by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press on September 18, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


What can I possibly say about The Raven Boys that hasn’t already been said?  This novel enchanted me.  I know that the YA bookish community loves the Raven Cycle, and now I see that they love it with good reason.

Going in, I really thought that this would end up being one of those mushy books where the girl falls in love with a gaggle of boys and has to choose, and two of the boys fall in love with each other, and it’s adorable if that’s the sort of thing you like.  I was ready for romance.  I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I was ready for it.  And that, loves, is what happens when a book ends up on your TBR because *sigh* you suppose you should figure out why everyone is talking about it.

Regarding the whole romance marketing?  I came across this meme while I was reading and YES:

Looks like the original user is no longer around, otherwise I’d link this!  I checked Twitter and Tumblr – no dice.

This is just … so on point.  And it was why I loved this book.  So first of all I’m going to come out and say:  Team Gansey all the way!  If someone told me this book was about legends and mythology and history and passionate treasure hunts and MURDER I would have been on board SUCH a long time ago.  This book was like… written for me.  Not in the same way as Tess of the Road where I saw myself in it and it spoke to me.  More like – everything I love is here, please take me to Henrietta.

So all the characters were so well-crafted.  I didn’t love all of them.  Actually, I sort of hated Adam?  But they were all so different and interesting and they all had these big problems (like being dead, in one case) and they never really let them get in the way.

Also can we talk about how huggable Gansey was when he flopped on his bed and said:

“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”


I fully admit it would be creepy if I broke into this world and gave him a big hug, since I’m ten years older than him, but golly someone needs to hug this sweet cinnamon roll.  Also:  RELATE.

Ughhhhh can I just flop right here now.  This is such a nonsensical review.  This book was so good.  I was falling all over myself with how good it was.  The writing was beautiful, but now flowery.  It came easily and wrapped you up like a warm blanket.  Also I love how Gansey’s car “the Pig” was sort of a character too?  How how you knew who the villains were the whole time, but they were still despicable?

I drove to work one day (87 miles) and didn’t even notice the drive because I was walking the ley line with these guys.

Persephone is also adorable and sweet and perfect.  I loved her so much.

I started listening to this the Monday before NaNoWriMo started.  I loved this book so much, not only am I completely convinced I write with the quality of hot garbage, but also I decided that my main character is obsessed with the Raven Cycle and rereads it every year. This is definitely going to come back and haunt me as I continue on, since I’ve only read the first book.  But there’s a whole scene where she connects with a stranger over these books and they get wrapped up in a conversation about why their Raven Boy is wonderful.  My protagonist loves Ronan.  I feel like I really need to read The Dream Thieves before NaNo ends.  As, you know, research.

I just… don’t know what to say.  I loved this book, really loved it.  I traded an extra copy of Everless for a signed paperback of The Raven Boys on Twitter back in February and I have absolutely no regrets.  I know this is not a super helpful review, and I don’t think this book will be for everybody, but if you like history and legends and adventures and death, maybe give it a go?

It’s.  Just.  So.  Good.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating


Code Orange Problematic Author History


Have you read The Raven Boys?

What’s your favorite book in the cycle?

What character do you like best?

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9 responses to “The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Yay, I’m so glad you liked it! The Raven Boys is my fifth favorite book of all time, and it’s definitely my favorite series in the entire universe! A few months after I read The Raven Boys, I read the rest of the series all in a row and it was just so magical!!! They get better, for sure. And Gansey is my favorite, too! I also have a ginormous soft spot for Blue. I had weird expectations going into this book as well (why isn’t it marketed the right way at all??) but it blew every expectation I had out of the water. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series, too! 🙂

    • Amber

      Agggggggh I’m waiting for The Dream Thieves from my library and I’m DYING to know what else happens!

      I think part of the issue with the marketing snafu is that a bunch of the fans like to chatter excitedly about it. And now that they’ve misled me, I’m not sure if these bits of fanart are real or head canons….

  2. I checked out the Raven Boys from the library three times, and returned the book each time unread. I ended listening to the audiobook a year later. And I freaking loved it! The writing was so beautiful. And the story was so enchanting. It’s a series I need to continue though.

    • Amber

      Yikes, after three times I probably would have given up! I’m glad you didn’t! And I’m glad you liked it in the end. I agree so much with your word choice here – “beautiful” and “enchanting” are perfect descriptors for how I felt about this story.

  3. I’m so glad you liked this! The Raven Cycle is just such a spectacular series, and I adore it! It’s not maybe an all time favourite, but… still. It’s SO GOOD!

    And wow, I’ve never actually seen it marketed as romance, are people actually doing that?! So ridiculous. Like yes, it DOES have romance, but that’s… just such a small part. And just how?? This book deserves so much better than that.

    • Amber

      I don’t think people are so much coming out and saying “This is a beautiful romance story” as the hype around it tends to be things like “Adam and Ronan’s love makes my world go ’round”… so it feels implied? But now I’m not even sure which ships are real or not, after the bookish community led me to believe this was going to be a sappy romance and not a hunt for mythology and murderers sooooooooooo yeah have to read the rest ASAP. XD

  4. Ahahah oh my god I love this meme so much and it’s 100% accurate. When I first read the book, I thought there would be much more romance, it was marketed this way, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how the links between the characters were more friendships than romances, especially in that first book. I guess they marketed it this way in the hopes that it would attract more people or something…
    I’m so, so happy to hear this was such a pleasant surprise for you – I loved the entire series so, so much as well <3 <3
    Wonderful review! 🙂

    • Amber

      RIGHT?! It’s like someone tore the thoughts out of my head. I never include memes like this in reviews… but seriously now…. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I am on a hold list for The Dream Thieves on audio from my library, so we’ll see!!!