Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Raven Boys

I was really torn on Raven Boys.

Our protagonist, Blue, lives in a house full of psychics and gets dragged into a shaky friendship with the boys from the local boarding school, as they search for the ley line, a place where the dead walk. Each has their own reason for wanting to locate the line, and while she doesn't want to spend time with the Raven Boys (a prediction that you will cause the death of your first true love will do that), Blue can't help falling into their plans.

On one hand, Maggie Stiefvater is the author of some amazing YA novels, like Shiver and The Scorpio Races. I adore her writing style and some of the phrases in her latest novel blew me away, like, "What it did was make him look more fragile and dirty, somehow, like a teacup unearthed from the soil..." I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of the titular Raven Boys, privileged students from a local boarding school. I feel like I am right in the room with the characters when I read, "They filled the hallway to overflowing, somehow, the three of them, loud and male and so comfortable with one another that they allowed no one else to be comfortable with them. They were a pack of sleek animals armored with their watches and their Top-Siders and the expensive cut of their uniforms." Despite the engrossing writing, I didn't connect completely with The Raven Boys.

I understand that the first book in the series must set up those that follow, but I found some of the plot decisions really bizarre. A tree that characters stand in to tell them the future? Check. An unexplained pet raven and a tattoo that changes shape? Check. An increasingly psychotic teacher? Double check. The Raven Boys gave me the strange experience of wanting to savor all the writing, without having to process the plot.

I'm in the minority in not adoring this book; Goodreads.com is blowing up with excitement. Still, it wasn't the right fit for me and I look forward to other books from Stiefvater that aren't part of this series.

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