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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous new series!
4.5 stars

There's something about a book by Maggie Stiefvater... like dark chocolate, I don't need a lot of it to find myself deeply satisfied. Her writing is really a cut above, and I simply can't blast through one of her books in a day in the same way as I can't eat a whole bar of dark chocolate in one go. I like to put it down, wander off, have a think and...
Published 23 months ago by Jen @ Reading Lark

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
What can I really say about The Raven Boys? For the most part I actually hated it. Now I know that is a strong word but I did. I found it boring and slow and I wanted to kill the characters. But something kept me reading. I actually couldn't put the book down. And I have no idea why.

The Raven Boys is by Maggie Stiefvator and if you know me, you know I have a...
Published 18 months ago by Wee Shubba


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous new series!, 19 Sep 2012
By 
Jen @ Reading Lark (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
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4.5 stars

There's something about a book by Maggie Stiefvater... like dark chocolate, I don't need a lot of it to find myself deeply satisfied. Her writing is really a cut above, and I simply can't blast through one of her books in a day in the same way as I can't eat a whole bar of dark chocolate in one go. I like to put it down, wander off, have a think and then come back later. Every book by Maggie seems to get better and better too, and The Raven Boys is no exception to this rule.

I particularly liked The Raven Boys because this was the first time Maggie has written in the third person, as the narrator, and she is a brilliant one at that. Anyone who has been to one of her signings will know she tells fabulous stories, and this read out like sitting with her in person listening to her tell the story... at times I felt like I could really hear her as she used some of her simply delicious adjectives.

The book centers around Blue, a young girl who lives with an entire family of psychics. She is used to weird stuff happening, and she takes what they say seriously. So when she was told that she would kill her true love when she kisses him, she made a vow not to kiss any boy, just in case. I felt pretty sorry for her about this, because there were several boys distinctly worth kissing in this book! Blue falls in with a friendship group from the nearby private school, Aglionby. She has pretty much hated the Aglionby boys her whole life, but Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah are a little bit different than the usual suspects who wear the school raven covered crest. These particular raven boys are treasure hunters, who seek a mystical line of power which supposedly runs through her town.

Blue is able to help them on their quest using a special power of her own, and she finds it exciting to spend time with the boys. She is drawn to them because she can see the real people when the Aglionby masks slip. In their quest to uncover the ley line they discover some weird stuff and it all gets a little spooky! I particularly loved the inclusion of all the ravens... they are great birds, and Ronan's pet raven was too cute.

As far as the raven boys go, I thought they were interesting and slightly mysterious characters. Gansey is the lynch pin of the group and they all orbit around him; he is the obsessive ley line hunter, and the others are along for the ride. Speaking of rides, his orange Camaro was something that made me smile a lot. I know Maggie has one, and I pictured hers... her love for it certainly came across loud & clear! Ronan is a boy with serious issues, and there isn't a lot to like about him... yet. I think he will come into his own in the future; he is the sort of boy that you might instantly dismiss as a tool, but there are chinks in his armour, and he may yet turn out to be my favorite. Adam has a complete inability to accept how awful his home life is, and he won't let his friends help him due to an inferiority complex which at times was a little irritating. That said, he is a total sweetheart. Noah... well, he was kind of a lurker, but a nice one.

I really did enjoy this, and I thought there was a fabulous moment where they all discover a real humdinger of a plot twist. I didn't give this five stars because I didn't laugh or cry, and there was no kissing to suck me in... Blue didn't feel like risking any lives this time. But as The Raven Boys is written as part of The Raven Cycle series, I feel sure there will be some point when I do all of those things and I give a five star rating out. I loved this and I can't wait for the next instalment in the adventure!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, 10 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Raven Boys (Kindle Edition)
What can I really say about The Raven Boys? For the most part I actually hated it. Now I know that is a strong word but I did. I found it boring and slow and I wanted to kill the characters. But something kept me reading. I actually couldn't put the book down. And I have no idea why.

The Raven Boys is by Maggie Stiefvator and if you know me, you know I have a love/hate relationship with her books. I loved first 2 books in her Wolves of Mercy Falls series but hated Forever and I hated The Scorpio Races, so I was wary of this title. It started out fantastic. I hooked with the first chapter. I found it intriguing and different but I have no clue what happened. After the initial first few chapter the story was just going nowhere and I just found it mind numbingly boring. It had the potential to be truly amazing but instead I found it confusing and I skimmed a lot because there are scenes that are completely pointless. There was too many different stories going in within one book that it gave me a headache. The characters....argh drove me insane. To me they had no depth at all. Expect maybe Adam he is actually really likeable.

However!!!! At around 2/3 of the way through the story picks up and the story really comes together and started to get exciting. There are a few twists that I did not see coming and I loved that. I like a good surprise in stories. The characters still bugged me but not as much. I found myself completely transfixed on the story and how it would play out. And the ending, pretty damn awesome. And the last 50 or so pages saved this book for me. I am now really looking forward to the next book so see how the story goes and to see if the characters can make me like them. I doubt it but the story itself is intriguing enough that I will continue with the the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but a little uneven, 16 Jan 2013
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
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Blue Sargent is the child of a psychic, but not pyschic herself. In her little American home town of Henrietta Blue's mother Maura and extended family of aunts trade in predictions, keeping Blue close because she amplifies their powers. As she sits in a churchyard sited on the corpse road scribing the names of those who will die in the coming year for her mother's friend Neeve as they pass through the gates she reflects on the predictions made about her - that the boy she kisses will die - and for the first time she sees one of the soon-to-be dead.

Nearby at the exclusive Ivy League residential school Aglionby Gansey is searching. There are four so-called Raven boys: Gansey, his roomates Ronan and Noah and local half-scholarship boy Adam. Gansey is possessed by his search for Owen Glendower (Owain Glyn Dwr), a mythical Welsh king who he believes to be buried on the ley line that runs beneath Henrietta. The legend tells that the one who finds Glendower and raises him from his enchanted sleep will be greatly rewarded. But he is not the only one searching, and there is one prepared to do anything to find the sleeping king.

Privilege meets poverty, ordinary teenage concerns meet with magic and the spirit world, and past and present loop together in this well told fast paced story. The characters are well developed but although well written and gripping I did feel, however, that The Raven Boys petered out at the end and although I wanted to read the next one it didn't have a strong ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super book, 6 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
Fantastic book again by Maggie Stiefvater :) Couldn't put it down. I Really enjoyed it. Would recommend to others. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oddly unengaging YA paranormal romance from the usually reliable Stiefvater, 30 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
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Blue's always known that if she kisses her true love then he will die. Although raised by a psychic mother, she's never had a psychic experience until she meets the spirit of a boy called Gansey on the corpse road on St Mark's Eve and realises that she's going to kill him.

Gansey's attends the local and exclusive Aglionby school (whose students are nicknamed Raven Boys) with friends Adam (a scholarship boy who fears his abusive father), Ronan (an angry rebel who discovered his dad's suicide) and Noah (an unobtrusive and quiet boy). Gansey's on a quest to find a lost Welsh king who'll supposedly grant a wish to whoever finds his body and although Blue loathes the privileged and arrogant Raven Boys she agrees to help. But it soon becomes clear that others are also seeking the king and will do anything to be first while Blue will do anything to keep Gansey alive ...

Maggie Stiefvater's paranormal romance (the first in a new trilogy) is a beautifully written but oddly slow and un-engaging novel that draws on Welsh legend and has strong themes of loyalty and friendship.

Having enjoyed Stiefvater's other paranormal romance novels, I found this difficult to get into. Blue wasn't on the page long enough to make much of an impression and the inevitable love triangle with Gansey and Adam made me yawn. Gansey's casual attitude to his money and privilege (evidenced through his driving a battered Camaro) irritated me given that without it he couldn't indulge his quest. Adam's actually the most interesting character with his drive and determination to become a success his own way at his own pace - I understood Blue's attraction to him more than her attraction to the blander Gansey and Adam's arc is such that I'm interested in seeing what happens to him next. Ronan's like every other troubled bad boy in YA fiction while Noah is underdeveloped for reasons that didn't (for me) justify it.

The plot unfolds at a snail's pace, hampered by a lot of exposition early on and didn't really get going until the final quarter, by which point it's really all set-up for book 2 - a shame because Stiefvater's writing can be beautifully lyrical, especially her description of nature.

Although I'll probably read book 2, I won't rush to do so as this didn't match Stiefvater's other work for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious blend of 'real life' and fantasy with an Arthurian theme, 21 Dec 2012
By 
Meerkat (Dereham, Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
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This is a teen story with a very intriguing strapline - if the main character, Blue, kisses her true love, he will die. Well that theme runs through the book as Blue gets involved with an odd quartet of boys from the near-by private boys' school and suspects that one of them might be her true love - she's drawn to one of them but has seen another in a 'night of the dead' vision she shared with her aunt. Blue lives in a house full of psychic women but isn't particularly psychic herself - her power is to enhance the psychic abilities of those around her - she's a sort of psychic amplifier. The boys are looking for Glendower the legendary Welsh King - their version of the English King Arthur - along a ley-line that runs near the small American town where they live. One of the boys is particularly obsessed with finding Glendower who (for some reason) travelled to America to be buried on this ley-line. I think this is intended to be the first of a series as it ends in a rather muddly way with some shocks and a lot left unresolved. I found the whole book rather muddly and the combination of small town America and British mythology with some genuinely talented psychics, absurdly rich school-boys and women with daft names (Blue for example) thrown in rather an uncomfortable one - the author hasn't managed to blend the mundane and the supernatural as seamlessly as I've read in other fantasy books. There is a lot of emphasis on things that I didn't understand to do with the American rich class and accents and places meaning certain things about characters - that didn't help.
Anyway, if you enjoy mystery/fantasy/real life/mythological kings type books, you'll probably get on fine with this and I would be interested to see if I'm right and the author does intend to continue and resolve the issues left unresolved at the end of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio/book review of The Raven Boys, 12 Dec 2012
Caroline for [...]

It's not easy growing up the only non-psychic in a house of seers. While she isn't envious of her family's ability to predict peoples futures, including their deaths, Blue can't help but wish that her ability was more interesting than magnifying the gifts of others, that for once she could experience something "other", or discover something no one else has before.

All too soon, Blue gets her wish. For the first time, Blue sees a spirit on the corpse road. This can mean only one thing, that the boy will die within twelve months, and that the young man is her true love. It appears that the prophecy Blue has heard all her life is about to come to fruition. If Blue kisses her true love, he will die.

If the concepts of true love seemed almost abstract to Blue before, it seems impossible now. Impossible that she would fall in love with a Raven Boy, a student of the elitist private school, Aglionby Academy. Her first impressions of Gansey certainly don't contradict her long held belief that Raven Boys are Bastards. Two things conspire against Blue and her perceptions. The first is her attraction to Gansey's friend Adam who, with his frayed sweater and matching Henrietta accent, is like no other Raven boy she has met before. The second is Gansey's, much loved journal, it's leather cover softened with use and the collage like content of cuttings, notes and doodles, charting Gansey's extraordinary search for Glendower. It inspires feelings of adventure and discovery and calls to an innate desire within Blue.

Blue decides to use the knowledge she has gained from her unusual background and help Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah with their search. It becomes obvious that the search for Glendower is as much her quest as theirs and very quickly she is established as part of the group, that instead of being a fifth wheel, she is the missing point in their pentacle. ,

Although The Raven Boy's is paranormal mystery and adventure, I never felt as though I was chasing the ending, racing to the end to get to the big reveal, the "who dun It" like with mysteries I've read in the past. It's not that I wasn't compulsively turning pages (or in this case listening to just one more chapter!), to reach the conclusion and uncover the mystery, but rather like Gansey's painstaking scrapbooking, I was simply savoring each new development and delighting in each step along the journey and before I knew it we'd reached the destination.

Like Blue's mother Stiefvater was the master tarot reader, laying her cards down in a very precise and intricate formation, allowing you to absorb the meaning of each card before, placing the next. Stiefvater's plotting was so precisely and subtly done that when a plot twist was revealed, a totally unexpected one at that, instead of reacting with surprise or disbelief, I found myself thinking, "why of course, that makes complete sense".

While reading Stiefvater's previous novels, I have often felt compelled to re-read sections aloud, savouring the sound of her beautiful dialog and stunning descriptive narrative. When the time came to select my next audiobook, The Raven Boys was a natural choice. I could think of no better treat than having Maggie's words read aloud to me. I thoroughly enjoyed Will Patton's performance. His slightly accented, laid back voice suited the book perfectly.

It's no secret that I have adored all of Maggie's work to date. Each book has surprised me, surpassing it's predecessor with its inventiveness and originality while still maintaining a distinctly Maggie style. With her ability to speculate on fantastical worlds, create and maintain tension, craft beautifully tender emotive scenes and her deliciously poetic prose. Maggie is one of my favorite authors and one of the few authors who's work I happily preorder (in hardback), before the synopsis has even been released.

Verdict: Reaching the end of The Raven Boys, and what has got to be the best final line in a book (trust Ronan to have the parting shot), I found myself smiling gleefully with the anticipation for not only book two but for the entire Raven Cycle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical - A must-read series!, 10 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
Originally published at Winged Reviews.

There are some books that I rate highly because of a great plot or fantastic characters or wonderful world-building. It's very, very rare that one book will have all of those things or more in spades and even rarer that that book's words flow like poetry. Magical prose, is only one of the many highlights of The Raven Boys, the first book in what I'm sure will be an absolute must-read series. It's one of the most original, enjoyable and well-written books I've read in a very long time.

Blue Sargent is a young girl from a family of seers, but she doesn't have the same talent. On every eve of St. Mark's day, she goes to the local graveyard to take note of the souls her clairvoyant mother sees--people who will die within the next twelve months. Unexpectedly, this year Blue sees a soul herself and talks to it--a boy named Gansey. "There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve, Blue. Either you're his true love...or you killed him."

Despite all the romantic sentiments the synopsis promises, at its heart this book is a mystery. What starts out as an introduction to a fantastic cast of characters in small town Henrietta, Virginia, becomes a modern day quest to find the long-lost, legendary Welsh king, Owen Glendower.

The quest is Gansey's dream. Gansey is a Raven Boy, a nickname given to the rich students at Aglionby private school. Apathetic to his privileged life, Gansey has made it his mission to find the hidden resting place of the legendary king. His meticulous research on old myths and ley lines has led him to Henrietta and he enlists the help of his close circle of friends. Sweet, stubborn Adam, who resents privilege but strives for it; fierce, bad boy Ronan; quiet, mysterious Noah--all the Raven Boys are well-characterised and grow considerably throughout the book. I'm also a big fan of their friendship, which holds strong despite the odds. If I had to pick a favourite, I would definitely say Gansey. I'm drawn to his focus, leadership, but mostly just him <em>being</em> him, his way and attitude of someone who is completely at ease with himself, his life purpose, and his place in the world.

The beauty of the story is all in the crafting of the detail. From Blue's unorthodox all-female family, to Ronan's pet raven, to the Raven Boys' converted factory apartment, to the outstandingly named Barrington Whelk. Little hints of information and development are all carefully weaved in, and I found myself uncovering something new and wonderful with each turn of the page.

There were many twists to the story that surprised me, despite all the little breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout. Just when I thought it was slowing down, it always managed to pull me back in with one amazing revelation after another. This book is as stubborn as Adam. It just wouldn't let me give it any less than a top rating. I would highly recommend this to anyone that loves reading for the sheer pleasure of it. It's a wonderfully crafted story with wonderfully crafted characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating tale with layer upon layer of surprises!, 16 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
Maggie's back!! For those who love Maggie as much as I do, she does not disappoint in this wholly original tale. As usual, she manages to captivate and enthrall and she left me begging for the sequel! If you're new to Maggie, she is an author whose books you can love and cherish. She has a gift for making characters come to life and tempting you with storylines that will keep you from putting the book down! If you're not new to Maggie, be prepared for something a little different, but something that still captures Maggie's brilliance.

Set in Virginia, Raven Boys starts with a tragic prophecy that if Blue kisses her true love she will die. But don't let that fool you into thinking this is a love story. Instead what you'll discover is a set of fascinating characters, so lifelike they practically breathe on their own, all of whom have secrets they hide, some of which come to light in this book and others that are yet to be revealed, but all build to the deep layers of these characters.

Our main character is Blue, the non-psychic daughter of a psychic. Given that she isn't psychic, she's surprised when she sees the spirit of Gansey, a boy she has yet to meet. This, she learns, means two things: 1. Gansey will die this year, and 2. that either Blue will kill him or he is her true love. Meanwhile, Gansey himself, a local private school boy, has a rather strange interest of his own: he is obsessed with finding a long-dead Welsh king, and as Blue joins him and his friends on the search, they realise there is much magic and darkness surrounding their search, including someone else who has been following their search.

This may sound like a strange idea for a story, and it is definitely unconventional and original! But don't worry if you don't believe in psychics or magic or leylines. Maggie writes so well she can make you believe anything! I didn't find myself worrying about the reality of it all, but I found myself believing what the characters believed. I loved watching Gansey, who is so passionate both in his search and keeping his friends in one piece that you can't help but want him to succeed; I felt for Adam, the "scholarship kid" who wouldn't fit in if not for Gansey, and who carries a tragic secret with him; I found Noah, the quiet, shy one, to be intriguing; I generally despised (and secretly loved) Ronan, the antagonistic fireball who carries the weight of his father's death; and I loved Blue, proud to be different, and irritated by Gansey's ignorance to the effect of his wealth on his life. And I haven't even mentioned Blue's psychic mother, Maura, her psychic best friends, and her psychic sister who has suddenly mysteriously come to town. I loved them all, especially because they were all so quirky and individual. Maggie is a master of characterisation!

This is a story driven by legends. It is a story with characters you want to keep returning to. It is also a story full of secrets and with an amazing twist at the end. It's not an easy read and it's not typical Maggie, but if you're looking for something to sink your teeth into, something that's a little different from every other book you've read, you will adore Raven Boys. There wasn't as much romance as I was hoping for, but this isn't a drawback; it works well and draws the focus to the plot and the characters by themselves. But there is the hint of more romance later in the series, and we have yet to find out who Blue's true love is. I thoroughly loved this book and couldn't fault it (which is rare for me!). I can't wait for the next book!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There was no being ready - there was just this, 24 Sep 2012
By 
Doha (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I want to say The Raven Boys is a puzzle, but that's not quite right. It's more...like a tapestry. It doesn't make sense at first - just a loosely-connected collection of glittering vignettes. You go along with it because by now, you trust her. Maggie. You know it'll be worth it. You know she'll take care of you. You keep reading. And again, she tells you she's telling you a story about one thing, but in fact the story she tells is much bigger - a story about EVERYTHING. A story that needs an omniscient third person narrative - different to Maggie's previous books.

If you want to know what the book's about, you can read the synopsis: ever since Blue was a kid, she's been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. On St Mark's Eve, as the soon-to-be-dead walk the corpse road, when she's not meant to be able to see anyone, Blue sees Gansey - either because he is her true love, or she will kill him. But the synopsis won't tell you what the book is ABOUT. I can tell you it's about Blue, the only non-psychic in a family full of psychics, or about Gansey, scholarly, distracted, rich, and obsessed with finding the vanished king Glendower. But that doesn't tell you the half of it. That tells you nothing about Adam, carving his way out of a dead-end of a life, or surly and unpleasant Ronan, or shadowy and quiet Noah. It tells you nothing about the bond between these four friends, and their attachment and loyalty to Gansey, or his to them. It tells you nothing about the intricacy of magic and legends woven into the fabric of the story, or the painful immediacy of lives without magic. And it tells you nothing of the artistry with which Maggie's storytelling is executed. Even when you think you know what's coming, you *don't*. Jaw-dropping happened.

Oh Maggie, even though I'm getting the feeling you're about to break my heart, you still make me titter out loud in the middle of the night.

At 3 am, I put the book down, only chapters from the end. You see by then I *knew* Maggie would break my heart, and so I wanted her to do it slowly and while I was fully awake to appreciate it. I wanted to watch the trailer another time or twelve. I stuck on 1.02 at the trailer and felt like that image summed up everything important about The Raven Boys.

I love love LOVE the earnestness of the friendship: the complexity and contrasts of the Aglionby boys, the way that parts of them seem to mismatch but somehow that becomes a symbiotic whole. I like Blue, who is both like Puck and not like Puck, like Isabel and not like Isabel: she's not as desperate and vulnerable as Puck, and she's not as damaged and driven as Isabel. She's a puzzle to herself, and she's tough and smart and not generic (which she's be pleased about, since she works so hard at eccentricity, to the point of artform and coolness).

Also, I love the...togetherness of Blue's family. Maggie's definitely not a preacher - if you've read any of her books, you know they're not full of exemplary parents/adults. But Blue's family leaves you with a warm sense of exactly what family ought to be: trust and love, care and service. And I love the way there is a drawing together of older and younger generations, an intertwining story that rejects the 'adults are useless' and 'only kids can save the world' tropes. Everyone needs everyone - perhaps I'm feeling it more because of my time of life, being caught somewhere between fully adult and sympathy for one's younger selves. We need it to be true, for there to be a middle ground where mother and daughter exist equally and wholly in each other's worlds.

And then I finished.

So sad. In that kind of aching, sharp-edged, dry-eyed way that Maggie is so good at inducing. But also, it ended on a good note, without that awful sense of incompletion. Maggie is good to her readers, not all self-indulgent at her book's expense - she's a reader, she understands. She wraps up with a kind of surgical precision: neither overdone and written into a corner, nor a frustrating confusion of loose ends. She knows we have to wait for a year(/three) for the next one(/three), and I can do so now with some equanimity.

I love this book without reserve. I want to talk about so much more (especially how fascinated I am by Gansey and his layers), but then this review will be endlessly long and impossible to read. Of course it's not perfect, but I think it comes pretty damn close. I stopped so many times - my book is bristling with post-its - to go back over a sentence, a few words, reading and rereading, to savour the way they were put together, appreciating the deliberation with which every word was chosen and arranged. But the best compliment you can really give Maggie about her book is this: when you've turned the last page, and breathed out your final sigh...you flip back to the beginning and start again.
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The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet) by Maggie Stiefvater (Paperback - 19 Sep 2012)
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