Series Review – The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

***WARNING***
There may be spoilers in this post

Book One:

17675462Summary:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, 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 is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher 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 doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

 

Silver Stars 4

 

I started this series on the recommendation of a good friend. We usually like/dislike the same books, and she’d seen a lot of hype over the series so I thought “why not”?

I didn’t know anything about the series having not paid it any attention, but I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was engaging and sucked me in. The main attraction was the characters, especially those who live at 300 Fox Way. Blue, the main character, lives with psychics even though she herself doesn’t posses any of their abilities. The women who live in the house are wonderful to read and really come alive through Stiefvater’s words. I could imagine myself visiting that house and spending time with them, that’s how well written they were.

The Raven Boys – the other set of characters – were also well written, and the friendly banter between them was also well written and I could imagine hanging out with them. When the two worlds meet and begin to intermingle, that’s when I began to get confused.

Told from the POV of either Blue or Gansey – one of the Raven Boys – I often got a little confused. It isn’t really made clear who is ‘speaking’, yet their voices are very different. Once I got into the flow, it was much easier to dip in and out. The magic within the story at times was confusing, and a couple of times I had to reread sections.

The main reason I didn’t give this book a five star was simply that Stiefvater tied to be too clever with her writing. Yes these characters are very intelligent, but using words that most readers would have to look up in a dictionary distracted from my reading on occasion. That and the fact that the pace was a little slow in the first half of the book.

Book Two:

17347389Summary: 

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

Silver Stars 3

This book… It confused me so much. While everything I liked about book one was still there, the story seemed to lurch sideways. Was Stiefvater trying to sideswipe us? I still haven’t worked that out.

Told more from Ronan’s POV, The Dream Thief was a lot slower than book one, and I honestly put it down so many times to try and make sense of what the hell was happening and how it fit in with the overall story. I still haven’t fully worked it out. However, the fact that this book was so Ronan centric was both a blessing and a curse. I like Ronan’s character, his bitterness, his sarcasm, and the love he has for his friends are what make him so likeable, yet he’s arrogant, even for an Aglionby boy and that was made even clearer in this installment. It was like the author had given us all his plus point, now deal with why he’s such a shit. Coupled with the weird addition of Kavinsky – who felt a little pointless by the end -… yeah, not making Ronan a likeable guy.

The writing, whilst still attempting to be cleverer than the reader fell flat throughout this book. I can’t put my finger on it – maybe the reader was supposed to be in a dreamlike state in order to associate themselves with Ronan. Again, I don’t know. It just didn’t grab me the way book one did because all the intertwining story arcs that were introduced in the first book were kind of forgotten or put to the wayside in this one.

Having said all that, if you LOVED the first book, this is a must read.

Book Three:

17378508Summary:

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Silver Stars 4

 

This book was a step up from book two, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as book one. The Glendower story seems to fall by the wayside again, as it did in book two, and considering that is the reason all these characters are friends in the first place seems a little odd to me. The writing was much better and less flat than in book two, and because of that, the pace was much better.

We get more of an insight into Adam and how he’s dealing with his decisions, and I quite liked that. Other than ‘the guy who likes Blue’ and ‘the guys who gets beat up by his dad’, there’s not much to him. Yes, it’s been hammered home how hard he works to be able to attend Aglionby, but nothing really more. In this book, it was easy to get frustrated with his self pity, yet he does continue to grow, much more than any of the other characters. there are hints to his future and his capabilities that are left to tease the reader… I enjoyed those.

It was while I was reading this book that I realised the series isn’t plot driven, but character driven. The way Stiefvater drops the plot as and when she pleases proves this. It’s the character interaction and progress that keeps us reading, keeps us wanting more.

That cliffhanger tho…

Book Four:

17378527Summary:

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

 

 

 

Silver Stars 3

 

This was the most confusing book of the entire series. I honestly had no clue what the hell was going on. I remember texting my friend asking what the point of Henry Cheng was… I honestly didn’t get it. Was he, like Kavinsky, brought in just to explain something and then be forgotten about?

The character interaction was the best thing about this book. Blue/Ronan, Ronan/Adam, Gansey/Blue, Gansey/Henry – all brilliant and again, made me think I could be friends with them, but it wasn’t enough.

The Piper story arc – didn’t get it. The introduction of the three dudes with the same name – didn’t get it. The big reveal – pointless. The ending – felt rushed and as if the author had run out of steam.

Overall, a very disappointing end to what could have been an amazing series.

Honestly, it’s the lat time I’ll read a series based on hype.

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Filed under contemporary, Mystery, Paranormal, Review, Romance, Series, Supernatural, YA

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