Monday, September 24, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Finally, a teen book that has a different story--one that I would have gobbled up as a teen myself, and found myself reading with building excitement the past few days.

The Raven Boys is the kind of book that I love, and brings out the nerdy, geeky mythology/psychic/otherworldly kid in me.  Blue is a young teen who lives with her mother and a whole houseful of eccentric psychics.  Blue herself doesn't have one drop of any psychic gifts, but what she does have makes her valuable:  she can amplify the psychic abilities of those around her.  She's like a battery with extra zip.  All her life she's been told by countless psychics (and her mother) that the true love of her life will die if she kisses him.  Not interested in boys, Blue hasn't really thought too much about it.

Until she meets Adam and Gansey, two of the Raven Boys.  They both attend the local boys school Aglionby Academy--a well do to school located in the tiny town of Henrietta.  What makes this story take a turn is that Blue has seen the spirit of Gansey on St. Mark's Eve, the night when the spirits of people who will die that year walk the dead road.  He's the only spirit Blue has ever seen, and she's told it's because he is either the love of her life, or she'll be the death of him.  Oops.

Blue soon finds herself befriending Adam, who's one of Gansey's close friends.  Blue likes Adam, and to keep things safe, won't let him kiss her just in case she got it wrong and he's the love of her life.  There's no kissing happening in this book, which was refreshing!  The "romance" was not the center of this story.  It is an integral part of the story, but this is by no means a paranormal romance like most teen novels in that sub-genre.

What I so enjoyed was the obsession Gansey has with finding Glendower, an Welsh King who is rumored to be buried somewhere along a ley line that runs through Henrietta.  He's quietly slumbering, waiting for someone to find him.  That someone is Gansey--he's filled a journal with his research, spends all his time outside of school looking for the ley line, and has drawn his small circle of friends into the search.  It's his life mission.  Gansey and his friends are all very complex characters that Maggie  Stiefvater has drawn very well--she leaves you with lots of questions, but enough hints about the boys' backgrounds that you're not frustrated.

This is a good thing, since this is the first in a series.  I loved the moody atmosphere, the legend of Glendower, the mystical forest, and the ancient magic that's involved.  The characters are all well drawn, and Blue is a great female lead.

Rating:  4/5 for an intriguing story, great characters, and a well written novel.  Can't wait for the sequel!

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