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: 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.
Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys is hands down my favourite book of all time. So much so that if I could only ever read a single book for the rest of my life, this one would be it. Not any of the Harry Potter series or The Lord of the Rings, but The Raven Boys.
Why? Well, I’m a firm believer in that the best story cannot possibly work without great characters, and boy, do I love these characters to pieces. There’s Blue, the slightly odd, sensible daughter of a psychic, and of course her Raven boys – seemingly entitled rich kids that attend Aglionby Academy: Gansey, a drop-dead wealthy explorer, the less unfortunate Adam who tries to make it from rags to riches on his very own feet, there’s Ronan, the angry dreamer, and there’s Noah, the glum little creeper (and of course batches of brilliant supporting characters!) Each of these five protagonists are so real and raw, it’s quite impossible to not fall in love with each and every single one of them over the course of this magic carpet ride. And Henrietta, West Virgina, is a whole new world filled with magic, adventure and loyalty, with its eyes on exactly these fast five friends.
But the characters aren’t the only things lovable about The Raven Boys. Stiefvater has managed to find a quest so outrageously fascinating it’s hard to put the book down once you start reading. I used to be completely put off by the medieval studies classes I had to take at uni, but somehow, she managed to get me interested in this topic again, and I was excited to delve further into the history of Welsh prince Owain Glendower (a real Welsh ruler by the way) and the hunt for his corpse on the infamous ley line in town.
And this is also where Stiefvater manages to enthrall you with her writing (from different POVs) so much so that it is able to create a feeling so magical and of such utter peacefulness that it is a hauntingly beautiful reflection to her magical adventure quest of a story. Reading this book, you can’t help but feel completely at home in the setting.
Honestly, I can never stop fangirling over this book because it has everything I love about literature: amazing prose, beautiful characters, quick humour, so much magic that it transcends the pages, great twists and revelations that keep its seemingly slow pace interesting enough to never want to stop reading, a gorgeous 1973 Chevrolet Camaro (in orange!) and above all great friendship and a great undertaking for the something more.