Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review | The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - with Audiobook Notes

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by
Publish Date: January 1, 2012
Source: Book - Library, Audiobook - Bought
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 

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. (Goodreads) 
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My Thoughts:  I've read The Raven Boys once before, a couple of years ago. I read it while I was on a weekend trip to a nursing conference. It was an audiobook + print read and I FELL SO HARD for the story, for the boys from Aglionby Academy. I remember that when I was driving home, listening to those final few hours, I was gripping my steering wheel so hard and I had to pull over a few times to find the place in the print book and reread sections (love this, love this, love this). 

But after I reflected on the story and how much I loved it, I got scared to move ahead with the series. Petrified. I was so emotionally attached to the boys from Aglionby, and I was so fearful for what would happen in the future. I knew about the prediction that Blue would soon be falling in love, and I knew how she felt about those boys, and I knew that she would kill her true love if she kissed him. (This is not a spoiler - it is revealed early, early in the book.)

This is a recipe for the type of series that stops me in my tracks. Out of fear. I've thought about these characters often, fondly! But I've never pushed ahead...until now. Recently Daphne read the books and encouraged me to pick them up too. So I finally decided to move ahead. I'm still afraid because I've managed to remain spoiler-free and I don't know what happens. I've just completed a reread of The Raven Boys and I'm read to keep going. 


Four Things I Loved About The Raven Boys: (because everyone has already officially reviewed)

1. The Boys. MY GOSH, these characters. While I've somehow managed to remain spoiler-free, thankfully, I have still seen a few of my friends mention their favorite. I LOVE THEM ALL, I really do. They're all so fully developed and well-rounded. Even though they're all likeable (or less likable) in their own ways, I can't get enough of them. MY favorite is Adam, because at this point, I think I understand him the most. His background is different than the other boys, but he has been accepted into their fold, and while he appreciates this, he is unsure if he will ever feel like he is one of them. He is a fighter, not with his fists, but in life - everything requires extra work for him, it seems, and it makes him so tired. Money is an issue for him, always, and I understand this because money really is an issue if you've ever been without it. He is a scholarship student, he works long hours while in school - these are things he doesn't like to talk about with his friends but are necessities to continue the life he is scraping to maintain. Adam doesn't always make the best choices, but who the heck does? His motivations are different, and I assume he still has an interesting story to tell. I'm not sure where he is headed in the rest of the series, but at the end of the first book, I still love him fiercely. I LOVE HIM. 

Gansey seems to be the favorite of everyone else, and I think that were I not listening to the audiobook, he could potentially be my favorite as well. He has such a good heart, he is a natural leader, and I love most everything about him. His loyalty to the people he cares about is unwavering and inspiring and is almost a fault at times. He feels to me like an old, quiet soul. Noah is the quiet one, the one that seems to hover in the background much of the time, but the one that, along with Adam, first stole my heart. And then there is Ronan, who is the wild card. I love him for who he is, with his attitude and problem-child persona. 

Each of these boys from Aglionby are an enigma unto themselves, and I love that about their characters. Each of these boys is not the entire story, I get that, but I'm so excited to find out more about these characters as I dive further into this series. Full characters make my heart pitter patter and this author does a phenomenal job at making my heart trip over itself.

2. The Audiobook. Good gracious, this is an incredible audiobook. It's like a really great story that is being read to me -I don't even have to do the work . Imagine the most decadent dessert out there and YES, this is it. Not a cheap, regular dessert, but a complete splurge. That's what every word feels like. On audio. And it is entirely due to the narrator, Will Patton. He always has a great voice for reading, but his characterization is TOPS. He gives the book the speed it needs, and he gives the boys their own voice. Yes, he gives them a literal voice, but what I mean is that he becomes each of them so well. And Blue, too, and the women of her household. I love the way he characterized them all because they became visible in my mind through his reading. I find myself wondering if I feel so strongly about them because of the way they are read - I wonder if my feelings would be a little different if I had read this book in print-only. 

3. The Setting. The book takes place in Henrietta, Virginia, which is nice. But I really love Cabeswater, with the trees and the magic there. The ley lines and the dreaming tree make the place come alive in the story, and even though I've read this book twice now, I'm sure I will read it again because I want to experience the Cabeswater scenes -- especially the scenes in which there are voices in the trees, be still my heart

I like trees, okay?

4. The Friendship. I can't say enough about my love for these boys. Part of it is that I love the way they have become family to one another. They all have things in their own families that have caused them to rely on one another for support and such, and it is so clear how much they love one another. When they meet Blue and become friends with her, she is easily swept into their fold, and I love this too. Maggie Stiefvater writes relationships well - all types of relationships, but in this case, I love the friendships portrayed in this book so much


With all of the things that I love about this story - the four above and more that I didn't mention - I'm still a bit confused about the situation with Blue's family, meaning the women that blue lives with. I don't think other people find this part of the story difficult, because I haven't really heard other readers mention being confused by this part of the characterization. I think it is just me. There are just so man of them and they feel similar to me! I've had some discussion with Lauren, who is amazing with detail, and I'm excited to move ahead. I'm sure things will fall into place for me as I keep reading. 

I could truly sit and talk about this story here on the blog for a long time, but I would rather discuss it with people on social media or text or Goodreads or whatever BECAUSE there are so many layers to this story arc. I LOVE the way the first book ends because it isn't cliffhanger-y but there are certainly some open spaces. My heart beat wildly at several points throughout this story and I'm fully expecting it to continue throughout this series. I can't remember being so NERVOUS to continue with a subsequent installment! What will happen? Will the characters be safe? Will their friendships and relationships remain intact? I don't really know at all! And it is exhilarating and terrifying! This is the best type of reading, the best

I recommend The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater for fans of young adult fiction with supernatural components, fans of great friendships, and fans of the written word. I have learned that one can NEVER go wrong with Maggie's writing. Never ever. I have the next book ready to go and I'll be starting it as soon as I'm finished with this blog post. I'm nervous for myself and also excited, and I can't wait to discuss it with friends as I read. 

Audiobook Notes: The audiobook format of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is published by Scholastic Audio and is 11 hours and 8 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Will Patton, who is absolutely incredible in everything that he narrates, period. He is SO GOOD at giving personality and a voice to these boys from Aglionby Academy, it almost hurts. In particular, I love the way he gives Adam a voice, because of the way that Adam talks. I love all of the characters, really. I've discussed this above in my list. This is not an audiobook that you want to speed up, this is one that is meant to be savored not only because of Will Patton's charmed award-winning reading, but also because of the author's writing, which is lovely and captivating. I highly, highly recommend this audiobook for first reads and rereads, for purchase or library loan.


The Raven Boys will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Supernatural
Romance: Slow, sweet romance developing. 
Great setting. 
Great friendships. 
Great writing. 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 
is currently available for purchase.


The Raven Cycle: 

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to read this series once the final book comes out. My friend told me to do that or else I'd be jumping in. I don't mine waiting but I figure I'll binge read the series once it's finished!!! :)


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