THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater Book Review
Series: The Raven Cycle, #1
Publication Date: September 18th 2012 by Scholastic Press
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
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.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Book Review Overview:
- Unlike any other mythology-based YA book out there
- Fascinating three-dimensional characters; I can’t pick a favorite one
- Promising start of a new series
Let’s face it: mythology-based young adult novels have flooded the market. Some are obviously not well done as the others. THE RAVEN BOYS blew my expectations to a whole new level. The combination of the supernatural, paranormal, and mythology based on Glendower, a Welsh ruler, worked effortlessly in another unique and fascinating novel by Maggie Stiefvater.
What made THE RAVEN BOYS so successful in its execution is Maggie Stiefvater’s ability to craft such-three dimensional characters. The raven boys, Blue, Blue’s mother, and the psychics living at 300 Fox Way had so much depth to them. Maggie Stiefvater is able to craft such intricate backstories for each character so that you feel as if you know them personally. It is hard to pick just one character that I loved because I just felt like I got to know all of them at a personal level, but there is still definitely a lot more that I can learn about the characters in the subsequent novels.
Stiefvater does continue to write in alternating third-person perspectives like her previous novels, but the focus leans most towards Blue and Gansey. Blue Sargent, our main protagonist, has lived with her mother in a house full of psychics since the day she was born. Though her mother and her aunts were all born with the gift, Blue does not have the gift of sight. She is only able to amplify the energy of others, but no one knows why. Since she was little, Blue had been told that if she kissed her true love, he would die. This was the hook that initially propelled me to read THE RAVEN BOYS. Blue is fated to meet her true love, but she doesn’t know who he is and exactly under what circumstances will lead to his death. I found it fascinating to see her struggle between living her life the way she wants to and living her life controlled by her fate.
Like any other Stiefvater novel, there is a hint of romance in THE RAVEN BOYS. THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater is not centered around an epic love story like her previous Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but more about this epic quest to find Glendower and to learn how these people are all interconnected through fate. I sense an epic love triangle in the future books, but surprisingly, I’m not quite bothered by it. I think it will be interesting to see how Maggie Stiefvater pulls it off. It will definitely be a question of fate: who is truly Blue’s soul mate? While off to a good start, I can’t wait to see how Stiefvater will continue to develop the relationships between the characters in the future books.
It amazes me that Maggie Stiefvater is able to pull off a novel with a combination of ghosts, psychics, Welsh mythology, and I guess a little bit of witchcraft. It works. Honestly, I was most fascinated with the psychics at 300 Fox Way and I loved the scenes in which we got to see the women use their powers. The tarot card readings were my favorite part, and like the characters, I loved to compare the predictions to what actually happened in the novel. I think what Maggie Stiefater had set out to do was quite ambitious, but she manages to pull it off successfully in THE RAVEN BOYS.
After 400-something pages, it is a bit disappointing that THE RAVEN BOYS is only the first of a series. Lots of questions were left unanswered and the search for Glendower has only just begun. However, I was left with a sense of satisfaction after finishing the book and I honestly cannot wait to read more. THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater does not end on an epic cliffhanger – thankfully – but it does end with a surprising statement that will only entice your desire for the next book.
I may be just a tiny bit biased, but at the end of the day, Maggie Stiefvater still continues to be one of the most brilliant writers in the young adult genre today. Stiefvater has a magical way with words and THE RAVEN BOYS is a promising start of a new series.
About the Author
All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.
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GODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimée Carter Book Review
Series: The Goddess Test, #2
Publication Date: March 27th 2012 by HarlequinTeen
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: Kate Winters has won immortality.
But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.
Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.
As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.
Henry’s first wife, Persephone.
Book Review Overview:
- I was sucked into this book by the awesome Kate/Henry romance
- The novel starts taking the mythology a little bit too seriously but I can’t wrap my head around it yet
- I read the book more for the romance and I couldn’t care less for the plot.
I seriously have a love/hate relationship series with the Goddess Test series by Aimée Carter. GODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimée Carter is the sequel to the first book, The Goddess Test. After spending the spring and summer on the surface of the earth, it’s time for Kate Winters to head back to the Underworld. Upon her arrival, all hell breaks loose unfortunately. The King of the Titans wants out, and Kate has no idea what’s going on with her relationship with Henry. On one hand, Aimée Carter seriously knows how to write gut-wrenching romance, but on the other hand, I still can’t quite wrap my head around the mythology in GODDESS INTERRUPTED.
Love: I absolutely love the Kate/Henry romance in GODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimée Carter. I seriously had my doubts about this book, but one thing that made it worth the read for me is the relationship between Kate and Henry. I guess I’m just a sucker for unrequited romance – despite the fact that Kate is told by just about everyone that even if Henry doesn’t show his affections as much as she would like, he loves her very much. Still, Aimée Carter can make you feel like an emotional wreck just as much as Kate. True, Kate is a little crazy sometimes, but I was able to relate to her in that aspect.
Hate: Despite the fact that I can relate (sort of) to Kate’s longing and endless pining for Henry, I did not like the fact on how stubborn she is. This girl can’t take directions. I know she wants to be helpful and all, but I don’t know how many times the others can tell her, let your powers develop. You’re a newbie. It was just really frustrating to see the main character in GODDESS INTERRUPTED continually run straight into trouble when she really didn’t know what she was doing.
Hate: When the second book in a series starts to take itself a little too seriously, it honestly makes me start attacking the foundation of the story: the world-building. Okay, I know that Aimée Carter explains many times why the gods and goddesses have changed their names but honestly I still don’t buy it. The mythology is what really didn’t work for me in GODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimée Carter. On the bright side, Carter takes the original Greek myths and spins it to fit her world, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. I have said before that The Goddess Test is the best retelling of the Persephone myth in the young adult genre that I’ve read. However, Carter starts taking the mythology way too seriously in the sequel and it is hard to make the switch from a low-fantasy first novel to a more high-fantasy sequel.
Now, will I continue on with the rest of the series? Honestly, at this point it’s hard to say. There is a massive cliffhanger at the end of the book and it definitely makes me want to read more. At the same time, I don’t know if I can take all this craziness of gods warring. It makes me question: Am I reading the books for the right reason?
Honestly, GODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimée Carter felt more like a guilty pleasure than anything else. I read it strictly for the romance and less and less about the plot. I don’t really care what happens to the Titans and the other gods. I just want to know how this Kate/Henry thing plays out. I would love to see a contemporary romance from Aimée Carter, but for now I may have to pass on the rest of the Goddess Test series.
Pick up the Goddess Test series if you like Meg Cabot’s Abandon series or if you were a fan of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
About the Author
Aimée Carter was born and raised in Michigan, where she currently resides. Her first novel for young adults, THE GODDESS TEST, will be published by Harlequin Teen on April 19th, 2011. The sequel, GODDESS INTERRUPTED, will follow in January 2012.
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Summary: “Could you kill the one you love?”
Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi—pure-bloods—have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals—well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:
Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.
Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
- To be honest, the similarities to Vampire Academy made me suspicious.
- Aiden is so freaking hot; love the tension and build up between Aiden and Alex
- Finally, a YA Greek mythology-based series that can be held in the same light as Percy Jackson
There’s more than a handful of positive reviews for Jennifer L. Armentrout’s HALF-BLOOD and I didn’t believe they hype until I read this book for myself. The reviews don’t lie; this book is made of awesome. Finally, there’s a fantastic Greek mythology series for young adults that’s at the same level of greatness as Percy Jackson. Yes, I said it – and I can’t believe it myself.
While HALF-BLOOD really entertained me, it’s far from perfect. I guess I can’t help but find some faults in a book and nitpick. I felt like the climax of the book was really rushed. What was hours for Alex only translated to a couple of paragraphs and it made me feel disconnected from her as a reader. Because her struggles were written in a matter of paragraphs, the intensity of her pain and suffering were diluted to me as a reader.
However, I loved that this book had a beginning, middle, and an end – despite the fact that it is a first in a series. The ending was enough to leave me satisfied as a reader, but there were also enough loose ends to make me crave the next book. Yes, I can’t wait!
I think what kept me from fully enjoying HALF-BLOOD is the fact that now I really can’t help but compare it to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. When I heard that HALF-BLOOD was Vampire Academy meets Percy Jackson, I didn’t believe it until I actually started reading. There are just so many elements in the book that reminded me of Vampire Academy, and at first, it wasn’t a good thing. I’d hate to say the P-word so I’d rather not, but the fact that the beginning of HALF-BLOOD was so similar to the beginning of Vampire Academy bothered me. I was even tempted to pull out a copy of Vampire Academy and do a line-by-line analysis. (Okay, I didn’t end up actually doing this, and I’m not making any accusations. But yes, the beginning of HALF-BLOOD felt like ad lib.)
But of course I can’t forget the fact that this is a different magic system altogether. What makes HALF-BLOOD stand out against the recent surge of popular Greek mythology-based YA novels is the fact that this novel isn’t based on one certain myth. Armentrout takes the idea of demi-gods and their offspring and creates a fascinating world complete with a caste system. While I wish that it could have actually incorporated a bit more mythology into the novel, it was also refreshing that the storyline wasn’t following one of the Greek myths. In the end, I love that Armentrout did something different with Greek mythology than all the others in the market.
I have to keep reminding myself that is a different book altogether, and I should stop thinking that Rose or Dimitri wouldn’t act a certain way in Scene A or B because they don’t exist in HALF-BLOOD. Alex and Aiden are both kick-ass characters that deserve my respect and admiration.
But, oh my gods, this is a four-star review, so what is up with all the complaining? Okay, I can’t help but point out the obvious similarities with Vampire Academy but I should not let this stop my from actually praising Half-Blood. From the very beginning, I knew I would love this.
Aiden really is swoon-worthy and Alex is so so lucky. I’m a sucker for forbidden love – done right, mind you – and Armentrout really knew how to build up the tension between Alex and Aiden. Aiden had been easily inducted into my Epic List of Hot Book Boyfriends (a mental list – this doesn’t really exist anywhere else but my head). Silver eyes are a definite plus, and I love that he’s all broody and mysterious. And super hot and muscular. Okay, he reminds me a lot of Dimitri Belikov, minus the Russian part. I wish that the romantic tension would have been drawn out even more. Even though it was great seeing some progress between Aiden and Alex, I felt that it would have been more satisfying if less had happened between the two of them and the tension was left unresolved until the sequel.
I love the world building in HALF-BLOOD. I really learned about the different caste systems of the pures and halfs, and I love the dynamics between them all. They create some interesting conflicts in the novel, so the focus just isn’t on romance. Thank gods.
I feel like I complained more than praised in this review, but don’t get me wrong: this is a must-read. Don’t discriminate HALF-BLOOD because it’s published by an indie. This is a gem and Spencer Hill Press is so lucky to have found it.
About the Author
Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. Well, mostly. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.
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