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The Raven Boys | [Maggie Stiefvater]

The Raven Boys

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is 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.
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Publisher's Summary

"There are only two reasons a nonseer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love... or you killed him."

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is 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 has it all - family money, good looks, devoted friends - but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, 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 never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the best-selling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we've never been before.

©2012 Maggie Stiefvater (P)2012 Scholastic Audio

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  •  
    C. ALLINGER Pennsylvania, USA 09-20-12
    C. ALLINGER Pennsylvania, USA 09-20-12 Member Since 2010

    YA literature addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stiefvater does it again!"

    Although The Raven Boys is quite different from Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and The Scorpio Races, it highlights her amazing characters, exciting suspense, and that intriguing sense that the words could almost be poetry.

    Each of the characters in this novel are both utterly deep and (despite the supernatural themes and plot) utterly real. For fans of Stiefvater's other works, this is expected. The bonus of this novel is that we get so many characters and yet can feel invested in all of them. Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronin, & Noah (the most central characters) were especially wonderful because they were neither wholly good nor wholly bad. Each had his/her own idiosyncrasies and failings as well as moments of heroism and compassion. I fell in love with all five!

    I'm not generally a fan of the supernatural genre, but this story had me mesmerized and on the edge of my seat. I would have listened straight through if it weren't for those pesky distractions of sleep and work. You can tell that this is the beginning of a series ("The Raven Boys Cycle," according to the audiobook), but it does not end in an annoying cliffhanger.

    The prose itself is captivating. I'm not even sure how to describe it, really, except that you can tell that Stiefvater's writing style is influenced by her love of music. I highly recommend reading/listening to any and all of her works.

    Note about narration: Will Patton did an excellent job; he really brought the text to life! I wasn't sure if I would like his narration because I expected the narrator to be about the same age as the characters (late teens) and Patton is definitely much older. However, the 3rd person point-of-view and his engaging narration really made it work and, I think, added to the whole experience.

    32 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FanB14 01-29-13
    FanB14 01-29-13

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictable Prep Boy Meets Witchy Girl"

    Local girl with psychic family townies mix with Ravenwood Prep boys to solve a mystery. Set up as first in a trilogy, much data missing to save for future books. Typical stereotypes make this book predictable and boring. You have the misunderstood, yet special girl who meets the ultra-cool and misunderstood rich boy, befriended by the intelligent and yes, misunderstood town boy on scholarship.

    I don't care for Will Patton's narration. He sounds 25 years older than character's age and has a creepy tone to his voice.

    The redeeming quality of this selection is Maggie Stiefvater's talent in writing. Her descriptions illuminate the characters and surroundings. Book would be better if characters weren't so darned anticipated, certain, and expected. Waiting for someone to break the formula. Anyone, anyone? Bueller?

    60 of 66 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wmaursta Argyle, MN, United States 09-26-12
    wmaursta Argyle, MN, United States 09-26-12 Member Since 2011

    workingmomof2. Lots of driving time = many Audio books

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    "Wow, so pleasantly surprised. Ready for more!!"

    I was expecting a mildly entertaining semi-supernatural thriller. Wow was I off the mark. This book was not only well written, but the story has complex and real characters - even those who aren't "real" - the quest is really very interesting and based upon existing mysteries. The chemistry between all characters is fantastic and lets you become involved with all of them and their friendships. The prose is rich without being bogged down and wordy - you can SEE the situations and almost smell the woods or dusty apartment. I also read Tarot and am always fascinated to read stories involving characters who wear that skin being portrayed with dignity and respect rather than the charlatans and grifters they are often painted as. Yep, really liked this one so much more than I thought I would and was so happy that there are more in the series - I want more of this group and their quest for the King. Will Patton is one of my FAVORITE narrators - he always imparts class and so much honeyed Southern charm to his narration - love to listen! Thumbs Up all around!!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan FREDERICK, MD, United States 10-01-12
    Susan FREDERICK, MD, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2008
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    "A very good listen"

    I wasn't quite sure if this was a young adult book or not. I tend to think it is. However, even adults can enjoy this one.
    If you like paranormal, ley lines and mystery, you should like this book.
    Each major character is fully fleshed out, which gave me a reason to keep listening and rooting for them through out the book.
    Will Patton does an excellent job of narrating and bringing the characters to life.

    Have fun listening......

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RabidReads QC, Canada 09-04-14
    RabidReads QC, Canada 09-04-14 Member Since 2011

    Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Book Review Blogger.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "We will meet again in THE DREAM THIEVES!"

    I’m a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s THE WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS trilogy, and I recently listened to SINNER in audio which is what prompted me to give this series a whirl. Well, that and the fact that I won a copy. The author’s lyrical writing style that I’ve come to know and love was out in full force, I connected remarkably well with all of the characters after only one installment, and I also really liked that this wasn’t your typical paranormal listen in that it doesn’t feature the usual supe suspects. However, I found that the lore was a lot to take in—I had to listen to several chapters more than once in order to grasp all of the intricate details—and, I wasn’t completely sold on the narrator’s delivery. But, I remember not having instantly clicked with SHIVER, so I’m more than willing to give THE DREAM THIEVES a chance, I just won’t be downloading a copy asap.

    The first few chapters were kind of meh because all of this series’ players were introduced, but Stiefvater didn’t connect the dots until three hours in which caused THE RAVEN BOYS to have a rather slow start. Then all of the symbology, Tarot aspects, and Welsh lore kicked in, and I was once again swept again by this author’s masterful world-building skills. Readers are left with way more questions than answers, however that’s to be expected from a debut installment, so even though it was frustrating, I was still pleased with the end result. I’m infinitely curious about the corpse road, ley lines, Cabeswater, Glendower, the dreaming tree, and what it all means because at the moment there seems to be many MANY pieces to this puzzle, and I don’t have two clues as to how they fit together.

    I took an immediate liking to all of the characters; from Adam the trailer park trash trying to make it on his own, to Gansey the wealthy adventurer that attempts to be middle-class but fails horribly, and Blue the only non-psychic among a family of fortune tellers who just wants to be special too. The prophecy surrounding Sargent’s true love added an extra layer to the intrigue, then there was Whelk & Neeve’s individual motivations, and the whole possibility vs reality angle. And, just when I thought that I was beginning to figure the story arc out, Stiefvater goes and drops the Noah bomb on me, followed by multiple visions of likely outcomes, and a semi cliff hanger ending about a ghost’s dreams and a raven named Chainsaw. Colour me thoroughly confused!

    I liked Will Patton’s narration, but I didn’t love it, and there were a few reasons why. The main one being that he whispered a lot, and although I found that it fit this novel’s darker tone, it also made him difficult to understand. The whole time I was listening, I thought that Cabeswater was actually caves water, and this happened for several words that I later had to look-up in order to write an accurate review. This also may have been what caused me to have to re-start several chapters rather than putting all of the blame solely on the author’s complex world-building. I really disliked the voice he used for Persephone, and for the most part, he felt too old for a Young Adult book. However, after eleven+ hours of him streaming through my earbuds, he did grow on me, so I’m not prepared to write him off just yet.

    THE RAVEN BOYS made me go WTF way too many times to count, as all good mysteries should, so mission accomplished Maggie Stiefvater. We will meet again in THE DREAM THIEVES!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Providence, UT, United States 01-29-13
    Amazon Customer Providence, UT, United States 01-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Definitely a Re-read..er..listen!"

    WOW. Talk about information overload!! My head is still reeling and trying to capture everything that happened! I will be listening to this book again, and soon.

    I was drawn into this immediately and I couldn't let go. Everything, every detail just kept coming and coming. A few times I went back and listened to a few parts when I had to quit listening, just to get my brain caught up again. Blue is such a weird name, I actually wrinkled my nose at it until I got to know her. That is when I felt it fit her. Most of the names of the Characters were so different and unique, which added so much more to their personalities. Of course we can't forget that Blue has "her Raven boys" whose personalities differ from night to day, but are all handsome and attractive in their own ways.

    Maggie's writing is amazing. She is a genius when it comes to putting a story together, especially how she plots out each character and makes them so unique and part of the whole picture. She takes the supernatural world and makes it seem so normal, such an every day occurrence that I didn't even seem to notice it really couldn't happen. There are so many twists and turns, mysteries, lies, and shocking truths that unfold. I really enjoyed it. I am excited for the next installment.

    Will Patton did a great job with the narration! I love it when famous actors take time to narrate books and Will did an excellent job, especially with the southern accents. I hope he narrates the next book as well!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug of Silver Lake Los Angeles, CA USA 10-09-12
    Doug of Silver Lake Los Angeles, CA USA 10-09-12 Member Since 2010

    I enjoy historical non-fiction, humorous books by the livid Sedaris and Tina Fey, I enjoy some science fiction, and I like self-help books focused on depression and anxiety. Oh, and I like the occasional business related books about online marketing.Additionally, I'm particularly fond of books read by Will Patton. He's really quite amazing.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "YA Novel + Will Patton + OA Reader= Fantastic Read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend The Raven Boys to most of my friends. I went into it with a preconceived notion that the book would be pretty much Harry Potter rehash. It is not. In fact, from what I can tell about The Raven Boys' characters, I would have to say the only thing that makes the book fall into that genre of Young Adult (YA) fiction is because most of the main characters are in high school. Apart from that, it reads like a really great book on the paranormal that is suitable to old guys like me (43). There's some rough language from time to time, violence, murder, child-abuse, and people literally falling out of their own skin. As an adult, I really loved the book and I can't wait for the next book if there is ever another sequel.OH, and most importantly, the narrator, Will Patton, once again brings his A-game to this recording. He definitely helps give the story a nice sense of depth without sounding forced. I think Will Patton is one of the best Audible narrators and I look forward to whenever he signs on to read another book


    What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

    His voice sounds natural when reading for characters from the South. He has that downhome sound that sounds like he's just sitting out on his back porch, drinking lemonade and reading the book me personal.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I wanted to listen all in one sitting, but it is so good, I forced myself to only listen to it while I was driving to or from work. Sort of a treat during a stressful drive on these Los Angeles highways.


    Any additional comments?

    More books read by Will Patton for sure. (His performance on Deliverance is a national treasure.) But I can me eager to read book 2 of the Raven Boys.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Booms Walsh Madison, WI, United States 12-29-12
    Holly Booms Walsh Madison, WI, United States 12-29-12 Member Since 2011

    audiobook addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Magical realism/boarding school coming of age"

    This book is kissing cousins to The Magicians series by Lev Grossman and The Secret History by Donna Tartt, both of which I particularly enjoy. It is a lovely mix of the isolation/coming of age story that boarding school stories often lend themselves to, and a sort of mythological, almost scientific magical realism. In The Raven Boys, the "magic" involves psychic premonition (Blue comes from an entire family of psychics), a very unusual ghost story, and the physical search for a lay line energy source which may conceal the resting place of an ancient Welsh king. This book is erudite, dense, and captivating. It's surprisingly emotional, tackling topics like the parent/child relationship and loyalty among friends. It has a quiet, almost grotesque or Gothic feel to it, yet it feels modern and uses clear prose rather than emotive, flowery language. It is similar to Stiefvater's other book The Scorpio Races in this spare, almost bleak, matter-of-fact style. Luckily, it does not repeat the faults of her Shiver series (which I found to be trite, cliched, and sappy) despite the somewhat tired "poor little rich boy" character trope that she indulges in here. I'm so happy this is the beginning of a series, and look very much forward to the next installment.

    I liked Will Patton's delivery. I wasn't sure since his voice is nothing like an 18 year old rich boy's but he provided a voice that sounds reasonable and sober even when fantastical magical events are occurring and helps you "believe" the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raquel 10-09-12
    Raquel 10-09-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Kept Me More Alert Than Coffee"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Raven Boys to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, but I did find this book very suitable for the audio environment.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Raven Boys?

    For me, one of the most memorable moments is when they discover that one of their own is a ghost. It was fascinating.


    What aspect of Will Patton’s performance would you have changed?

    His performance for Blue was a little off-putting. He did a great job with the guys, but whenever he acted Blue's part, I felt pulled out of the story for a moment. It may be due to the timid, wavering voice he assigned to her.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I had to stop at the end of Part 1 because I finished my drive and had to wait a week before starting Part 2. It was worth it though.


    Any additional comments?

    I cannot wait for the next part in the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Staaj Ballwin, MO, United States 10-27-12
    Staaj Ballwin, MO, United States 10-27-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stiefvater Writes Another one of my Favorites"

    Many of my readers already know that I adore Maggie Steifvater’s books. Her stories are unique and her writing is witty yet poetic. The Raven Boys is no exception. I loved it and I think this is one Steifvater’s best books. It’s slow at the beginning but I wouldn’t necessarily change that. It lays some important ground work for the intense ending and the books to come. What I liked most about The Raven Boys was the originality of the story. I’ve never read/listened to anything like this before and that is one of the main reasons I highly recommend it.

    I truly do not know how to summarize this story. Any attempt to describe this story does not do it justice. I will do my best with one sentence. There are some psychics, some ghosts, a murderer, a creepy mystical place, and teenagers on a supernatural quest. That’s all I can say.

    The Characters

    The characters in The Raven Boys are deep and complex. These are not your teenage angsty, love triangle entangled, young adult fiction characters. These guys are different. Blue Sargent is the daughter of a psychic and lives with 3 other psychic women. Blue is not psychic but she has the way of amplifying energy. Gansey is a wealthy teenage boy on a mission to find something supernatural. Joining him on his quest are his 3 friends, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. Ronan is a wealthy boy gone bad. He’s reckless, edgy, and unpredictable. Adam is the poor, nice boy who’s under a lot of pressure. He’s on a scholarship at Anglionby Academy and under extreme pressure from his parents.

    Each character feels real and as the reader, you feel for them. Like I said earlier, I’ve never encountered characters like these. I can’t say I loved them or related to them but I was definitely intrigued by them and I want to learn more about them.

    The Story

    As I said earlier, the story takes a little while to really get going. However, it lays important groundwork for the plot and develops all of the characters. Hang in there, things get really interesting about half way through and you want to stop after that. What pulled me in was the mysterious quest the group embarks on. I had never heard of lay lines or a sleeping ancient king named Glwendower and I was eager to find out more. I also felt Steifvater wrote wonderful side stories involving each of the characters. They added layers to the main plot and overall, made the story so much more substantial.

    Conclusion

    I loved it. I wish I could say more about The Raven Boys but I fear I would give away too much. The writing is beautiful. he characters are strong and well developed. The story is unlike anything else out there. The only downside to the story is it’s left very open. Something is resolved in this book but many things are not. Obviously they we will learn more in the next book but I really wanted to know more in this book. You can probably guess I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
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  • B. Dayne
    Wales
    10/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lovely prose amidst a cracking story"
    What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

    I really liked the way Will Patton narrated the various third-person Point of View chapters using the voices of individual characters. It was unusual to hear a characters voice read in third person, and it was very effective. There are a couple of jarring moments in the reading, though I think those were more the fault of the director, and not the reader. A couple of times Will's voice was layered in some of the areas where characters are speaking simultaneously. That was a largely unnecessary conceit though, admittedly, a minor quibble in an otherwise faultless reading.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many. Though I would hate to spoil the book for others by mentioning specifics.


    Any additional comments?

    I read the book before listening to the audio version, and I think I actually appreciated the audio version more as a result. The author's facility with language is a real joy to experience on the page, and is even more enjoyable as a listen. This is one of those rare novels where character, story and language add up to more than the sum of their parts. Couldn't wait to dive into book two after listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Aniqa
    United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "The best audio book i've heard this year"

    This was the first audio book I ever read. I was pretty hesitant as I didn't think I would enjoy books in this format. This was one of those rare times I was extremely glad to be wrong. The book was amazing, the characters, plot everything was linked wonderfully. The writing itself is beautiful. This for me is the best book heard/read this year. The characters voices are so distinguished, each and every personality comes through. I have already heard it enough times to be able to quote it easily. Its a pity Will Patton hasn't narrated anymore books in this genre as that alone would be enough for me to give it a try. This is for me Maggie Stiefvater best work so far. I've read the first book in her shiver trilogy and didn't bother to pick up the second and the same for her fairy books but I never found fault with her writing even then, those stories and characters weren't intresting to me. This one just blows you away, utterly orignal and compelling. Also this is something that really upsets the story for me when an author puts in an undying love despite there being nothing to back it up that was not the case here (its more an introduction to the idea of future love) yes the characters have met but 10 pages later they were not ready to die for each other. The (possiblity of love) takes the backseat to everthing else happening. The friendships and relationships along with the legend are realistic and believeable. I can't wait for book 2 to walk through Henrietta again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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