Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult
Series: #1 in the Raven Boys series
Type: e-audiobook
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
First Published: September 2012
First Line: "Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love."

Book Description from GoodReads: 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.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My ReviewI listened to this e-audiobook while Brad and I were painting our basement last week. While he and I are a great painting team and love to banter back and forth, after a few days (it took 6 days to complete - big basement) we needed some time to ourselves.  Brad opted for his music and I plugged into this book.

This was a different book than I was expecting.  While it had some unique story lines featuring Welsh lore and a strong supernatural element a lot of the time was spent on the characters and yet there wasn't a whole lot of character development to be had.  

There were many characters introduced in this first book but Blue's family stood out for me the most. I loved their quirkiness. Blue herself was an okay main character but wasn't overly interesting and lacked some depth. The Raven boys - Gansey and his gang - were an odd assortment of guys. Gansey must have some major charisma to bring this gaggle of guys together and to have them fully back his quest to find Glendower.  No real reason (besides being friends with Gansey) is really given as to WHY these guys want to help out on this dangerous quest.  The boys kind of blended into each other with Ronan being the only one who really stood out but there was some cute and clever dialogue between the characters which I enjoyed.

I think what surprised me the most was the pace.  For a story that is filled with Welsh lore and an adventure you'd think that there would be more energy and tension in the writing.  The quest to find Glendower and the ley lines was on the verge of being interesting but I didn't feel like there was enough time devoted to explaining it to the reader or delving deeper into it.  I was also surprised that the prophecy, which is introduced in the beginning of the book, doesn't play a more pivotal role.  It felt like a waste.  

Then, just as the pace would pick up on the adventure front Stiefvater would throw some teen angst into the fray, the story would lose momentum and I'd have a hard time getting back into the main story line.  The pacing only picked up at the end but by that time it felt rushed and had an air of disjointed mess.

I have a big beef when authors don't do enough research with certain aspects of their book and this is one of those cases.  Anaphylaxis (severe, life-threatening allergy) is part of the story line and therefore features an Epi-pen.  My complaint as someone with anaphylaxis in her family is that the character keeps his Epi-pen in his glove box in his car.  Such a HUGE no-no due to the extreme heat build-up (or cold) in cars which is really bad for the epinephrine.  Giving misinformation about a serious issue ticks me off and feels irresponsible.

I'm going to chalk this book up to it being the first book in the series.  I've heard stellar reviews about this series as a whole so I can only imagine that things come together better in the future books.  Unfortunately for me, as I listened to this book I kept thinking 'what am I missing?'. For a first book in a series I found it rather weak and it didn't intrigue me enough with its characters or plot to have me pick up the rest of the books in the series.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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