“Heroes are more than just stories, they’re people. And people are complicated; people are strange. Nobody is a hero through and through, there’s always something in them that’ll turn sour… you’ll learn it one day. There are no heroes, only villains who win.”
― Joel Cornah, The Sea-Stone Sword
“Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her. His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents 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.
– review Amazon.com
I absolutely love this book! The first time I tried to read The Raven Boys, however, I had a hard time getting through the first couple of chapters. To be fair, I waited a few days and tried again. That time something clicked and I couldn’t put the book down. The characters are so crisp and well-rounded that suspension of disbelief is easy. Like CS Lewis in The Narnia Series and Susan Cooper in the Dark is Rising Series, Ms Steifvater has created a real world effortlessly connected to another, ancient, world of myth and magic.
Richard Gansey is searching for an ancient Welsh king, positive he is destined to awaken the king from his ancient slumber. At the same time, he and his friends are simply boys at school, Gansey walking a fine line to keep Ronin from being expelled, Adam from being abused and Noah from fading away. The contrast between the real world and the fantasy world deepens and expands as the story unfolds.
This book is a keeper, one that will forever have a place on my bookshelf. The plot was so well-written that I never quite knew what was coming next. Many questions are not answered in Book I so I am eager to start Book II, The Dream Thieves. This is the kind of book that makes me fall in love with a writer and her world. Before the end, I was a little in love with Gansey myself.
“In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys
“I dialed it now, and the machine picked up. I listened to a dead man’s voice. I hung up, wondering how long it would be before someone unplugged the machine, how long before the telephone company cut off the phone service. You don’t die all at once. Not anymore. These days you die a little at a time.”
Upon starting the latest book in the Mat Scrudder series, The Night and The Music, I settled into a night with an old friend, a friend with whom I’d lived some of the worst trials of his life. If you’ve never read a Lawrence Block mystery, you don’t know what you are missing. I’ve gotten rid of perhaps 75% – 80% of my books in the last few years, but this is one series I will always keep on my shelf. As with all of Mr Block’s characters, Matt has his own distinctive voice which I would recognize anywhere, even if there was no title or hints of any kind.
If you watched the movie, A Walk Among The Tombstones, based on the book of the same name, I’m afraid you didn’t get the full impact of Mr. Scrudder. I know, the movie did get some good reviews. For me, however, Liam Neeson, as good an actor as he is, is not Matt. After living so many years with the character, it would be impossible to find the right actor for the part. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, but more as a good mystery than one based on a well-loved book.
During the length of the series, Matt turns from alcoholic cop to an alcoholic ex-cop, attempting to cope with the guilt of a stray bullet killing a child during a robbery. Eventually, he come to terms with sobriety. During this time, he works as an unlicensed private investigator following his own odd brand of justice instead of the judicial system.
This book, the 18th in the series, is a chronological list of short stories taken from different years of Matt’s life. I particularly enjoyed the forward written by Brian Koppelman. His words reminded me of my first meeting with Matt Scrudder and how I knew, at that time, I would be reading the series for a very long time.
To see a list of all the books in the series, go here:
“I thought, My name is Matt and I’m an alcoholic. A woman I know got killed last night. She hired me to keep her from getting killed and I wound up assuring her that she was safe and she believed me. And her killer conned me and I believed him, and she’s dead now, and there’s nothing I can do about it. And it eats at me and I don’t know what to do about that, and there’s a bar on every corner and a liquor store on every block, and drinking won’t bring her back to life but neither will staying sober, and why the hell do I have to go through this? Why?”
“Something I learned long ago. It is not necessary to know what a person is afraid of. It is enough to know the person is afraid.”
“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver 5 minutes longer.”
― Ronald Reagan
“You learn eventually that, while there are no villains, there are no heroes either. And until you make the final discovery that there are only human beings, who are therefore all the more fascinating, you are liable to miss something.”
― Paul Gallico
“No one just starts giggling and wearing black and signs up to become a villainous monster. How the hell do you think it happens? It happens to people. Just people. They make questionable choices, for what might be very good reasons. They make choice after choice, and none of them is slaughtering roomfuls of saints, or murdering hundreds of baby seals, or rubber-room irrational. But it adds up. And then one day they look around and realized that they’re so far over the line that they can’t remember where it was.”
― Jim Butcher, Cold Days
“Reality depresses me. I need to find fantasy worlds and escape in them.”
― Noel Fielding
“Everyone thinks that courage is about facing death without flinching. But almost anyone can do that. Almost anyone can hold their breath and not scream for as long as it takes to die.
True courage is about facing life without flinching. I don’t mean the times when the right path is hard, but glorious at the end. I’m talking about enduring the boredom, the messiness, and the inconvenience of doing what is right.
“If you want to write a fantasy story with Norse gods, sentient robots, and telepathic dinosaurs, you can do just that. Want to throw in a vampire and a lesbian unicorn while you’re at it? Go ahead. Nothing’s off limits. But the endless possibility of the genre is a trap. It’s easy to get distracted by the glittering props available to you and forget what you’re supposed to be doing: telling a good story. Don’t get me wrong, magic is cool. But a nervous mother singing to her child at night while something moves quietly through the dark outside her house? That’s a story. Handled properly, it’s more dramatic than any apocalypse or goblin army could ever be.”
― Patrick Rothfuss