The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater -Review


“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.”

Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

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

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

JSW Prompt – 1-29-2015 Response


I apologize for taking so long with this JSW Prompt.  I sort of lost track there.  It’s not called Writer’s Block but rather Slip of the Writer’s Mind.

“This is my war and I don’t know which side I’m on.”

The words echoed around in my head.  How could I not know my chosen side?  How could I doubt the sharp edges butting one reality against another? Why do I understand both?

It’s not supposed to be this way.  One is supposed to support their god and country.  Hate the enemy god and nations.  So why can’t I hate?  I’ve tried to hate, believe me.  I want to hate.  I want to know that I am securely on the side of the right.  I want to know… I want to know…. what is right.

I have a hard time believing that anything about war is right.  We ought not hate the neighbors next door to us, or those a thousand miles away.  I want to believe that the world is a good place, a place where love and forgiveness are the virtues to which we all aspire. The reality is, however, that the world is a horrible place.  A spinning ball of hate and cruelty and viciousness far beyond anything my simple mind can comprehend.

So why do I send troops into a battle I do not believe is right?

Because I am the Prince and this is what I am expected to do.  Defend god and country against the enemy.  The enemy is dark and evil and somewhere out there….. somewhere beyond my limited vision.  Until, that is, he isn’t.  Until one stands face to face with the enemy and sees nothing more than humanity and fear in his eyes.

The dark truth of this world is that I must kill the human across the battlefield from me simply because that is how war is done.  If I don’t kill him, he will kill me and, in doing so, bring down all that I love and cherish.

It is a cruel choice I make, standing over my fallen foe……