The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is a four part series with three current instalments and a plot that makes you keep turning the pages until you realise you’ve read a lot more than you originally planned to. Time seems to scarcely exist in the story, and it also scarcely exists as you read it, forgetting more and more about the real world and getting sucked into this one.
The series is about a girl, Blue Sargent, a non-psychic in her psychic family and a girl who has been told her whole life: “If you kiss your true love, he will die.” She eventually meets four boys who quickly become her closet friends. Gansey, a rich boy searching for the lost king Glendower, and also the boy Blue was fated to fall for. Ronan Lynch, also rich, hard on the outside and a secret keeper; Adam Parrish, a poor but fiercely determined to be rich boy who wants to find Glendower as much as Gansey, and Noah Czerny, a mystery, but not for long.
The first book of four is named The Raven Boys. An alluring cover (a picture of a raven in which you can’t see the eyes and a small, wispy heart) drew me to it one afternoon in a rather warm WHSmith. The book starts out almost tentatively, but quickly pulls you in to a world completely different to your own. The life of Blue Sargent, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah is a tight knot which slowly frays and unravels before your eyes, each thread tracked carefully just in case.
The Raven Boys alone similar to a starter or appetizer meal in a restaurant. Since it’s the first book, it’s mainly dedicated to exploring the characters personalities and backgrounds, but in between, it becomes mostly about plot, all the while shuffling in facts about our main characters slyly.
The Dream Thieves is the second instalment in the series and is a book you could say is centred around characters who aren’t your usual main character/s, but neither are they background characters. The plot continues as does the unwinding coil of secrets, leaving the reader wanting more and more, and having them realise they’ve read over half the book in one sitting, instead of perhaps one chapter, like they had planned. (I speak from experience.).
Blue, Lily, Lily, Blue is the third book out of four in the series, and is the one where the plot immediately starts rolling from start to finish; from the opening sentence to the very, very last one. Its plot is enticing, but can also leave you suspicious as the character begin to feel things are happening too easily considering what their task is. You’re quickly drawn in, hoping that they can do what they must, but praying you’re not nearing the end of the book, even though you so desperately want to find out what happens at the end.
Maggie Stiefvater is an almost sassy author, seeing as in her books she seems to write as if she is there, talking to you personally through the page, in a way in which she uses speech and text not in a brisk, strict story-telling way, but almost as a friend telling you what happened.
As difficult as it is to choose favourites, I think my favourite character out of the series so far would have to be Gansey. Gansey has a number of different personalities to which he uses at different times for specific events. Seeing as he is from a rich family (and his mother is running for Congress in-plot) he has to go to many gatherings where other rich people clink their champagne glasses and talk about things that they probably aren’t really interested in. Here, he has a very formal and straight-forward but not intimidating attitude, however, around Blue Sargent and the rest of his friends, he swiftly relaxes and becomes more of a teenager that you would expect him to be, rather than a glass-clinking-rich-man. The switch can be so sudden and can immediately bring or dismiss tension from a situation which shows how much power he could have by standing up a little straighter and speaking a little tougher.
While it is hard to choose favourites, each character I have been introduced to in The Raven Cycle holds a special place in my heart. If you like sassy and almost spiritual reading material, I recommend this series to you. Maybe you like plain old romance-with-its-issues type of books, this book would still be a great read.
This is a series I will adore for a very long time, and if you read it, I’m sure you will, too.