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From very early on, one thing is prophesied about Blue’s future life: If she kisses her true love, this person will die. Not only her mother and her friends said so, but all the mediums they asked – it has always been the same. By now, Blue has got used to it and is not planning to kiss anybody.
However, she did not count in the Raven Boys, by name Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah. The four of them are connected by more than just their school; together they try to find what Gansey has been after for so long on his own: an old Welsh king. Finding his body means being granted a wish and all of them have reason enough to crave for something like this. They have not been very successful so far, but Blue has some special talents of her own which will be of great use.
It will not be easy, though. They might not know it, yet, but someone else is after the same thing. They have been willing to do anything to reach their goal in the past and that has not changed.
It is Maggie Stiefvater, so what should I say? We get a rather slow plot, lovely characters and beautiful language. Still, I will go into further detail – there are some things to say after all.
“It’s starting,” is sentence that is mentioned quite often in the book, and it is also a perfect description of it. “The Raven Boys” has its own story, but it is still only the start of something bigger, which already promises suspense and drama. We will have to see whether the author can keep her promise or not, but I cannot deny my interest.
The book is, basically, about ghosts. Not about poltergeists or demons who want to see the world crumble, but about the shadows left behind by the once-living, about mediums and séances and prophecies, short: about the supernatural and mystical that is presented without any pomp. It would have been easy to make fun of the matter, but you do not need to worry about that here. Maggie Stiefvater shows it to us and the belief in it with naturalness, so that even a notorious sceptic like me did not once roll my eyes.
One could say it is light fantasy, or realistic, depending on how you see it. It does not really matter in the end, as the author takes full advantage of the setting to confront us with the mysterious and sends her characters to a quiet, but nonetheless dangerous adventure.
Concerning the characters, she insisted on showing a whole range of them. It starts with Blue, who has a mind of her own and is never at a loss for words. (I laughed so hard I started to cry when she first met Gansey!) She more or less came to terms with being the only one in her family without any supernatural powers (though she makes those of others stronger). It is the same with the fate of her true love dying when kissed. She does not take it to her heart too much and so far, there was nothing to be concerned about.
But now she met the Raven Boys. Noah is very inconspicuous to begin with, and that has a very good reason. Besides, the other three boys make it more than up again. My favourite is Ronan, who seems to be made of edges and corners and is quite a danger for others, but also for himself. You will rarely find a smile on his face and if, then it is probably meant for Gansey – or Chainsaw, his pet raven he takes care of. Who knows?
Adam and Gansey seem to be rather the opposite of him, though even those two do not share too much; still, they are good friends. Adam comes from a difficult and poor background, so he has to work hard for every cent, which sometimes does create an uneasy relationship between them.
Gansey, on the other hand, has a rich family. He can more or less do what he wants and even though he never intents to do it, he often puts his foot to it when it comes to money and him having too much, while others do not have enough.
Together, they are a group full of tensions and opposites, which is why they are so awesome. Just think of various minor characters responsible for some of the laughs, and you can easily imagine that this book offers a lot of fun and also some suspense.
The story is told from multiple points of view that provide us with different information we would not have had with only one narrator. Maggie Stiefvater does not let herself in for stereotypes anyhow and goes her own way some might agree with and some might not. I personally enjoyed the change, even though it got a little bit confusing when magic entered the stage. However, we get a, for now, quiet and realistic romance. There might be time for that, but the characters still have more important things to deal with. So, Maggie Stiefvater may be excused for the little confusion as well as for the at first seemingly unsatisfying epilogue. She proved that she will do it right in the end, so have a little faith. She will do it!
In many aspects, “The Raven Boys” is a typical novel by Maggie Stiefvater: we get an interesting perspective on a known topic, a slow-going story and great characters. In this case, those are more responsible for fun than a romance, which I very much approve of, especially since there is still some romance – including some drama? We will have to wait and see, but this book convinced me with a story of its own and great entertainment.