Warning: If you have not read “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater, do not read this review if you want to avoid spoilers.
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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.”
To be entirely honest, I found this book to be rather confusing, from the motivations of the characters to the overall plotline. I understood that the main plotline was Gansey attempting to find Glendower, which somehow ends up in this strange ritual close to the end of the book meant to sacrifice people, and that people die halfway through and at the end of the book. However, there were many subplots that were not written as clearly, or felt thrown into the book out of nowhere, such as Adam’s troubles regarding his abusive father and Ronan’s troubles at school.
If there was supposed to be any romantic chemistry between Blue and Gansey happening in this book, I did not really feel any real chemistry between them. Given that this is the first book in a series, it could be because their relationship is meant to develop over the next few books, but at the very least I expected a spark of them being interested in each other in the romantic sense, or at least some hint of friendship-turns-to-romantic-interest. Maura, Blue’s mother, as well as Calla and Persephone seem to be hung over Blue’s supposed romance with Gansey, but I saw little-to-no trace of romance between Blue and Gansey in this book.
Characters such as Whelk and Neeve felt very unclear to me regarding their motivations regarding why they wanted to do the ritual that happened at the end of the book, other than trying to kill each other in order to do it for seemingly no reason at all.
When it comes to the friendships between the main characters, none of them really had any interesting chemistry with each other. If anything, everyone was so tense towards each other the whole time that I find it a miracle that they all stay together throughout the book and don’t break off from each other.
Overall, I would rate this book 1.5 out of 5 stars for the lack of chemistry between characters, confusing subplots, and lack of character motivations.