Friday, March 15, 2013

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I've been 'hmm'-ing and skeptically 'aah'-ing about this one a bit. I've had it finished for a few days but have remained unsure of what to say about it.

So here's an amazon summary, "An all-new series from the masterful, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

"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:" AMAZON LINK OF FAIL

So the Amazon summary cuts off the summary that the book provides. I'll finish the rest of it: "Adam, the scholar-ship student who resent the privilege around him; Ronan the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore. From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love leads us to a place we've never been before," (Stiefvater, book summary on cover, The Raven Boys).

Hmm. Skeptical aah.

First, I did like the book despite having thrown it into a pile of clean laundry when I was done with it simply because the ending of the book was infuriating as everything else about the book.

The book was infuriating as it had a lot of wound fists. The author dropped a lot of subtle hints and clues about the great mystery, but let's pretend every hint/clue was a ball. Let's pretend that every ball was picked up and slowly wound up to the breaking point of releasing the ball. However, only three balls have truly been thrown, and countless more balls remain either on the ground or wound. The entire book you're just waiting for what happens with the other balls. That's the infuriating wound fists.

The styling of the book was slightly maddening too as it shifted perspective as it followed different characters around and let the reader in on their personal thoughts, feelings, reflections, etc of what was currently happening. At first it was pleasant as we were not stuck with one person but all of them, but then as the action started to build and the wound fists were letting lose their balls, it was maddening as hell.

So let's start with some basics. There are five characters we TRULY care about: Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. So who's who and why do they matter?

Blue is a young woman who has grown up with the super natural. Her mother, Maura and relatives Calla and Persephone are all psychics of a sort. They do readings for people and are aware of the otherworldly. (There are also two others (Orla and Jimi) but they're unimportant but probably important in a later book, or else why would they be there? BALLS DANG IT.) Blue however, cannot see any of the super natural or is attuned to it in any sense. She is an amplifier for them though, so if they touch Blue or if she is present during a reading, they get a clearer picture or more information.Now Blue has grown up knowing that when she kisses her true love, he'll die. So she has the kiss of death. Or she could just kiss a lot of people that aren't her true love, but she wouldn't do that as she's a sensible character. Blue's household gets a little topsy turvy when Neeve, a friend of Maura's comes to stay. When Neeve is greeted at the door by Blue she tells Blue that this is the year you'll fall in love.

I want to take a moment and point out that Neeve said this is the year you'll fall in love. She did not say this is the year you will find your true love, or anything in regards to true love. Since I also read The Scorpio Races by this author, I know she's a crafty wordsmith so it's important to pay attention to minor details like that. However, Blue's character automatically equates that falling in love this year means she'll fall in true love and anxiety ensues. I believe that is the intended reaction for the reader to feel as well, but Neeve's character has not proven to be a reliable voice through the book, so there is entirely the possibility that she's just full of crap. Neeve is an enigma and frustrating and like ten balls just for her.

Whatever, moving on.

So there's Gansey who's obsessed with finding the ley line that will lead him to Glendower; a sleeping king from ancient times. Gansey has thought to himself once in the book about his knack of being able to find things that he wants to find and wants to find Glendower. He believes that in order to find Glendower, he must find a ley line that will lead him to it.

A ley line is a line of energy that cannot be seen but there are peculiarities that happen upon the ley line that hints at it's existence. Any sort of magic is more amplified on the ley line, and when Blue treks upon it, well things get a little interesting.

It is said that Glendower will grant a favor to whoever wakes him and sometimes the characters wonder about what favor they would ask. It doesn't seem to be that big of a deal as the adventure lies in finding Glendower.

I'm getting a little disjointed and rambly, so I'm going to stop here.

I did like the book, I found it very infuriating, and I know this is the first one in the series, but I truly wonder what's going to happen in the second given all that was alluded to in the first book.

Five SPOILER things before I leave this. More like musings on the book.
-I wasn't surprised Noah was a ghost. I just wasn't. There were too many peculiar oddities about his character that made me suspicious about his true nature.
-I'm unnerved about Neeve's comment about when seeking a god there are always devils. I think this has to do a lot with the second/third book and probably a wrap up in the fourth. This is the Raven Boy cycle, and I believe cycle implies four.
-What is up with Ronan making a baby Raven? I should repharse, he took the raven out of his dreams. Is this the implication of a wizard as Neeve was implied to be a witch? Or is Ronan Glendower waking up? The Raven is a sign of Glendower, and Ronan is already set up like a king, so I'm not ruling out that Ronan could be Glendower somehow.
-Neeve implied that Blue should learn how to use her other talents, yet Neeve vanished on the ley line at the end of the book. What talents does Blue have to learn how to use? We know she is an amplifier and can make Noah more solid when he appears, but what else could she do? Side note, I really hope she doesn't turn into some weird sort of goddess thing as was slightly hinted at it with the little origin we got about her father.
-Adam became the eyes and hands of who? Adam also is altered somehow, someway. We do not know HOW or HOW this will affect anything. Adam states that the ley line is awake, and Ronan reveals that the trees know a rumor about a king being buried on the spirit road (the spirit road is also known as the ley line, however it's usually referred to as a particular part near an old church where Noah's bones are buried so Noah can be a ghost around them with more ease again, yeah this book is a little trippy) the trees also believe the rumored king could be Gansey's king. BUT WHO IS ADAM NOW THE EYES AND HANDS OF? This could mean that someone (maybe a demon???) is seeing through Adam and Adam is serving as a spy. This could mean that someone (maybe Glendower???) could possess the use of Adam's hands at any time. I DON'T KNOW. WAY TO BE VAGUE AND MYSTERIOUS BOOK. ALL THESE FREAKING BALLS. It's like a ball pit just waiting to erupt. The real story will be revealed in the later books I hope. As long as it doesn't pull a LOST (TV series where the plot doesn't make sense and the characters don't seem to matter, and there is youtube video that sums it up quite nicely) and introduce a lot of things in the first season (book in this case) and then never references the weird things in later seasons (books).

A lot of 'hmm's and skeptical 'aah's indeed. I did like the book though, even if only for the confounding mystery bits.

Happy reading!

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