The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review: Ley line adventure

January 2, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review: Ley line adventureThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. Australia on September 18, 2012
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
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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.

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 lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

The Raven Boys is a highly complex and unusual story with an intelligent cast of characters, ley lines, psychic powers and Welsh mythology. It took me ages to pick up this book, but now I can see why everyone loves it for it’s unique paranormal flair and lovable raven boys.

The story starts off with mystery and intrigue, sharing the two prophecies which Blue is bound by. If she kisses her true love, he will die, and she will fall in love this year. It doesn’t take long for Blue’s story to be intertwined with the raven boys, rich, powerful and intelligent private school boys and she’s soon wrapped up into a paranormal adventure hunting for ley lines, ghosts and mysteries.

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.”

Each of the raven boys are distinct and complex, from the sweet and friendly Adam, to Ronan’s mischievous nature, the quiet calming presence of Noah, and Gansey’s uppity nature. Gansey was such a fascinating character, with his formal speech containing four syllable words with everyone teased him about, and his obsession with ley lines and hunting for the Welsh legend Glendouwer. He is a complex character, coasting between confidence and insecurity and probably the one that is developed the most.

What surprises me about The Raven Boys is how it takes the formula of a quirky girl who gets mixed up with rich, powerful private school boys and translates it into a whole new story by adding paranormal elements and ley line hunting to the mix. Psychic prophecies, hallucinatory trees, ghosts and Blue’s power amplification are only some of the paranormal elements here. It was incredibly fascinating how it all intertwined with the ley line running through the town of Henrietta, which it will fully explore.

“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.”

As amazing as it was, The Raven Boys takes a lot of concentration to grasp everything due to its complexity and multiple character view points. Maggie Stiefvater painstakingly develops everything in this novel, and some of it went over my head. This intricacy is not a bad thing, but you have to have the patience for a slow and complex read.

Despite Blue’s prophecy, I was glad to see the minimal romance here and no doubt there’ll be a build up to that over the course of the next three books. I know it will be worth it, and I’m glad Maggie Stiefvater took a different turn from her Wolves of Mercy Falls series.


The Raven Boys is a book that deserves to be savoured. It’s a unique story exploring the magic of ley lines as well as the consequences of their power. Although it’s a rather slow and complex story, Maggie Stiefvater’s beautiful and lyrical writing will carry you through its amazing adventure filled with paranormal fare and a vibrant cast of characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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60 responses to “The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review: Ley line adventure

  1. This is a book I have been seeing everywhere I have gone! So many people seem to have read it and loved it, and I am definitely feeling left out xD I can't find it at any shops I go to, and will probably have to buy it online because it seems to good to miss! Great review, it was good to see your opinion on it.
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  2. I get that it's complex, and indeed I had to read it a few times before I realised that I wasn't reading the series right. I needed to explore every sentence and discover the book and pick up hints and mystery and read it very carefully to thoroughly enjoy it. I don't think it can be a quick, light read!
    So glad you loved it! YAY ANOTHER FAN ADDED TO THE LIST!!! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!
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  3. I love this series! I'm so glad that you're picking it up Jeann! I have to agree that it does take a lot of effort to piece together what is going on, and understand it. At this point, I've just decided to accept everything that was happening, because a lot of weird things do happen haha.
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    • I know, there is definitely a lot of love for this series and I can see why now! Haha yeah, it is pretty weird, but I like it.

  4. Jennifer @Boricuan Bookworms

    Wow, this review got me to read this one now! I've had the audiobook for a while but the narrator's voice made it difficult to understand, plus boring. But after reading Shiver, I am up for reading anything and everything Maggie Stiefvater, and nothing is better than a good paranormal like this one. Great review! 🙂

    • Yay, I\’m so glad you\’re going to pick it up, this one is a really great and unique paranormal. Thanks Jennifer!

  5. Francoise

    This book has been on my TBR list for ages and I should actually make the effort to read it this year. The premise sounds really interesting and judging from your review, the characters are interesting. Complex plots can be a turn off but that's never really been a problem for me. It just means I become more absorbed in the novel.

    Thanks for the review lovely xx
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    • There were so many interesting things in this novel, I can\’t wait to see what\’s next. I hope you do get the chance to read it Francoise, would love to hear what you think!

  6. Bec

    I'm so so so happy you finally picked this up! Maggie's stories get better with every book! The complexity is one of the things I love most and AAAAAAHHHHH. I am so very close to completely fangirling. I'll leave now so I don't overwhelm you.
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    • Haha +1 to your book recommending ability Bec! So glad to hear they get better and better, although I did DNF Scorpio Races. I think I need to give it another shot. Haha trust me I've gotten lots of fangirling on this post!

  7. If I'm being honest, I'm more than a bit scared to pick up The Raven Boys, because it's been hit so hard by the hype train. And the last time that happened (Daughter of Smoke & Bone), it went down pretty badly for me.

    I do like the concept, and the sound of the characters, so I know one day I WILL get around to reading this, but I'll be a bit scared of it failing to meet expectations >.<
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    • I totally know what you mean about books that have been hyped up so much we're afraid that we don't love it as much! And I saw your thoughts on Throne of Glass too, and we all know how big the hype is for that series.

  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Jeann, I tried to read it recently and just couldn't get through it. I really wasn't too keen on the mythology in this one and the characters all blended in and I was just confused. I'll eventually try again when I'm in the mood for a darker read, especially seeing how much you enjoyed it.

    Thanks for the wonderful review Jeann <3
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    • I totally know what Kelly, it's a pain stakingly slow read isn't it? But I'm just glad I did enjoy it. No probs Kelly!