The Raven Boys: a little bit of magic mixed with an unsculpted rawness

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. [Image: https://www.instagram.com/faerieofbooks/]

In my endless hopes of reading every exciting book that exists, I, often, find myself tackling the blurb on every book with a precision that lasts mere seconds. It’s always an instantaneous yes or a no pushing my hand from hovering over “Add To Cart” to the actual cart.

Yet, The Raven Boys was a book that I could not discern at first. Here’s a snippet from the blurb that left me with my indecision:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve. Either you’re his true love… or you killed him.”

Upon reading this, I could hear the echoes of many YA romance just spill out. A haters to lovers trope, perhaps? That’s what one would think if they’ve read a lot of books in a genre that is built on copying and tweaking. But this book is so much more.

The “non-seer,” and the “..or you killed him.” were enough of the strangeness that I wanted and so I picked up this book: ready to find out what becomes of this true love in a modern day magical world.

The pages turned slowly at first because of how lush the writing is. The book reads more like a ballad, ringing with sentences that capture emotions and feeling rather than filling the reader’s mind with dull descriptions. The pages, you see, will turn slowly because you will want to highlight and write out these words everywhere. Slowly because of Stiefvater is creating a rhythm that sucks you in as you tap your feet along to these characters.

On that note, if the writing unique enough, I could talk about these characters all day. Each of them is so raw that I found myself forgetting that this book had magic in it! They all have arcs that are so fitting for teenagers and yet there’s a sense of magic that tells you that these kids with pending homework and hard-hitting family issues (and the occasional private property trespassing) are suited quests fitting for kings and queens of old.

The main characters are so real that it feels as if you know them from tales heard in highschool corridors. Blue Sargent is eccentric because she chooses it to be so, and she embraces herself with a strange kind of love that’s hard to find in most books on YA shelves. Gansey is a vivid character who can’t help but become the heart of the story. He’s rich and posh but he breathes magic every time he talks and you understand why there is such a devoted friendship built atop his person. Adam Parrish is a reminder of waking up with resolve and living every moment with the pressing notions of right and wrong even when it’s hard to know the difference. Ronan Lynch is a mystery that the readers unravel only when his hard shell cracks for his friends. Noah, well, he’s the smudgy one.

The Raven Boys is a song that’s not thrumming with just romance or magic. It’s more than that and, in truth, the blurb cannot do this book justice. As of yet, it’s the best read of 2019 for me and I cannot wait to dive into the next book soon.

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