Friday, January 4, 2013

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

I am a huge, huge, HUGE fan of Maggie Stiefvater.  And really, I need to just go read all of her books whether they sound like something I'd like right off the bat or not.  This book is proof that whatever the synopsis might say, her stories are way more than what they say they are about.  The same thing happened with The Scorpio Races.  It just didn't sound like "my kind of story".  But it was sooooooo good!  And this one was really good too.  One I couldn't put down.  It was really involved though, and there were times I was a bit puzzled, or went back to refresh my memory about something.  Part of that was probably because I was in my read as fast as I can because I need to know what happens mode.
I was really excited to read this book because a year or so ago, the author put a tweet out asking for different last names.  She said she wanted one for a small character in a  new book.  I didn't see many people responding, so even though I'm not the biggest fan of my last name, I tweeted it to her.  She asked me the origin of it, and then asked if she could use it.  I was like, OF COURSE!!!!!  I checked back with her a few months later to see if the character had still survived, and she said yes.  Here is a picture of those tweets:

But then, sadly, when I got to see her at BEA this past summer, she had some sad news for me, the character had been cut.  She told me what part it would have been with, and I found it as I read.  But it was sad.  Here is how she autographed my book that day at BEA after giving me the bad news:

She did say that Brenna Yovanoff, another awesome author that she is friends with, had fought to keep the character in the book, and Brenna was there and even confirmed it.

Okay, on with the book review!  There are a few main characters.  Really, Blue, a girl from a family of psychics is the main character.  She has been told by her psychic family and their friends for as long as she can remember, that the first boy she kisses will die.  Now, Blue hasn't really found a boy to love enough to kiss yet, but in this book, she will meet & find a boyfriend, that she must keep from kissing.  The other main characters are boys from the private boys school in Blue's town.  Their names are Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah.  Gansey of course is not his first name, but the name he prefers to go by.  All of the boys except Adam are rich, or come from rich families anyway.  Gansey owns an old factory building that he has set up apartments in.  And all but Adam live there.  Adam is poor, lives in a trailer home with his parents, of which we find out that his father is a physically abusive alcoholic.  Gansey wants Adam to come live with him, but Adam wants to move out on his own, not from someone giving him charity.  Every year Blue and her mother go to the ghost road, where a line of people who are not yet dead, walk and say their names.  They write them down and then know who will die.  This year Blue goes with her aunt who has recently moved in, Neeve.  And she sees Gansey's ghost.  Turns out that Gansey is looking for the ghost road, which is what he calls a ley line.  He is looking to find an ancient king, that if found, will grant one wish?  Gansey just really wants to find it.  Adam is hoping to get the wish.  Noah is a bit odd, and we find out later on just why.  Ronan has a feud with his older brother having something to do with when their father died.  We're not quite given the exact reason, at least I didn't really find it.  And they aren't the only ones looking for this ley line, and the king, Glendower.  There is one of the teachers at the boys' school, Aglionby.  He used to be an Aglionby student himself, until his father lost their fortune.  And now he is back teaching there, and is very bitter.
There are so many twists and turns, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The characters are all really well developed so that you get to know them very well.  I'm so glad it is part of a series, because not everything is wrapped up at the end, and I need to know where this goes!
If you liked other Maggie Stiefvater books, you're going to enjoy The Raven Boys as well.  And to finish out my review, here is my picture with Maggie at BEA 2012.