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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EVERY DAY by David Levithan Book Review
Publication Date: August 28th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
Every Day by David Levithan Book Review Overview:
- The genderless main character makes you redefine what love means
- Sweet romance with an undeniable connection between two characters
- Beautiful writing; you will want to mark up passages
Imagine if you woke up in a different body every day, but was in love with the same girl? How far would you go to make this love work? In David Levithan’s most unique novel yet, he explores this concept as A wakes up every day in a different body of a wide variety of teens.
What makes EVERY DAY by David Levithan so ground-breaking is the fact that the protagonist is not confined to a single gender. A is genderless; neither a boy nor a girl. A does not feel more comfortable or at home depending on the gender of the person. Admittedly, it is a tough habit to break not to refer to a character using pronouns but A stresses so many times in the novel that A does not categorize as one or the other. I think that this is important because of the message that David Levithan is trying to point out in regards to love: gender does not matter. Love should be between two people. That’s it.
At first, I worried that I would not be a fan of the romance in EVERY DAY. The protagonist meets Rhiannon from the very first chapter of EVERY DAY by David Levithan. There’s an instant spark; they have chemistry. My biggest fear was that this would turn out to be a meaningless insta-love match. I was wrong. David Levithan is a talented author and he evokes so much feeling through A. You are instantly able to feel the connection between A and Rhiannon and it feels like they’ve known each other for a lot longer.
I fell in love with the writing in EVERY DAY immediately. David Levithan has written a book that will make you want to mark a passage to read over and over in the future. The writing alone was a reminder as to why David Levithan book is one of my favorite authors ever.
EVERY DAY is easily one of my favorite David Levithan books right next to Boy Meets Boy and The Lover’s Dictionary. EVERY DAY by David Levithan is a book that I can see myself reading over and over again.
About the Author
David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.
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Summary: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
- Morgenstern is a gifted writer; her prose is like no other
- Fantastic, heart-wrenching love story
- Unforgettable world-building that will transport you to the turn of the 19th century
I debated whether or not to review this one. It’s not YA and it’s not a romance novel. But eventually, I realized that I do have a bit to say about it, so I might as well just write them out.
First of all, I don’t think it would be fair if I summarized the novel for you. I think part of the enjoyment that comes with reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS is experiencing the circus for yourself like the audience members attending the Night Circus for the very first time in the book. There’s fun and excitement opening up the first few pages of the novel, not knowing what quite to expect but knowing that something good has to lie between the covers.
What I will tell you is that THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a love story, and it is a fantastic one at that. I loved the chemistry and tension between Marco and Celia. I think it was very easy to put one’s self into Celia’s shoes. I easily empathized with Celia, and I definitely felt my heart breaking whenever hers did. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a rollercoaster of so many different emotions: passion, excitement, betrayal, and more. It’s hard to predict what will happen in the book, and that uncertainty was quite depressing. Would it end with a Happily Ever After? As a reader, I was uncertain until the very end.
Love the world-building. Morgenstern’s writing just transports you to the turn of the 19th century England and New York. Morgenstern is so descriptive and you can’t help but feel like you’re part of the story. Her descriptions of the circus are rich and vivid. It’s a circus like no other, but she explains every tent, nook, and cranny so beautifully.
This has little to do with the book, but more to reviewers and critics. I think it’s quite unfair to compare THE NIGHT CIRCUS to Harry Potter. While THE NIGHT CIRCUS was – no doubt – beautifully written, you can’t just compare it to Harry Potter. THE NIGHT CIRCUS isn’t even a children’s novel!!! Besides that, the only other similarities between the two is that David Heyman, producer of the Potter films, is in talks to produce the film adaptation of THE NIGHT CIRCUS. But before I digress even more….
Overall, THE NIGHT CIRCUS is one of the best books that I’ve read this year. Morgenstern crafted a beautiful novel. It exceeded my expectations, but I wouldn’t go out as far to say that it is the next Harry Potter. Nonetheless, I have pushed this book to several people already, and I can imagine continuing to encourage others to pick it up.
Why I’m Biased: I’m obviously biased against books that have been compared against Harry Potter. There was also a lot of hype around this book.
About the Author
Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist, who describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” She grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two very fluffy cats.
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