Reviews for Raven Boys
Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1
*Starred Review* The latest from Stiefvater, author of the Printz Honor Book The Scorpio Races (2011), defies easy synopsis. Consider that it is the story of 16-year-old Blue, from a family of psychics though she herself is not one. However, she does have the gift of amplifying others' psychic experiences. Oh, and she has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Then there are wealthy, handsome Gansey and his three friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, all of whom are "Raven Boys," students at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. Gansey is obsessed with finding the body of the legendary sleeping king of Wales, Owen Glendower, using ley lines, invisible lines of energy that connect spiritual places. That a sinister someone else is also searching for the sleeping king adds chill-inducing danger to the complex and artful plot. Indeed, reading this novel is like walking through a tangled thicket and coming across one unexpected and wonderful surprise after another. In that respect, the book is marvelous, for not only is it filled with marvels but it is also a marvel of imagination and, more prosaically, structure. Rich, too, in characterization, this fantasy-mystery rises to the level of serious literature, leaving readers hungering for more. And more there will be, for this is the first volume of a planned quartet. Waiting for the next book in the Raven Cycle will indeed be a test of readers' patience. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Stiefvater's readership grows with each book she puts out, and the 150,000-copy first printing hints that this might be her biggest splash yet. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
According to legend, a medieval Welsh nobleman named Glendower vanished to avoid capture after the English defeated his army. Fast-forward to present-day Virginia, where four boys believe that Glendower is eternally sleeping and was brought over to the New World along "mystical energy roads." Stiefvater's prose falls flat in places, but the fast pace and intriguing concept make up for any flaws.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #1
According to legend, a medieval Welsh nobleman named Glendower vanished to avoid capture after the English defeated his army. Fast-forward to present-day Henrietta, Virginia, where four boys at exclusive private school Aglionby believe that Glendower is eternally sleeping and was brought over to the New World centuries ago along ley lines, "mystical energy roads that connect spiritual places." Friends Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah have been searching for Henrietta's ley line, hoping it will lead them to Glendower. Local sixteen-year-old Blue Sargent also knows about ley lines because her mother is a psychic who channels their energy. When the four "Raven Boys" befriend Blue, her knowledge and unusual ability to heighten energy help them awaken the Henrietta ley line. What that action may mean for future installments is left unknown, except that as fate intertwines lives in a town where everyone is keeping secrets, there will be plenty of mysteries to solve and dangers to overcome. This first book alternates between several voices, initially difficult to follow, but as Stiefvater reveals more information about the characters, their motives, and the fantasy aspects of the novel, the narration technique becomes effective. However, Stiefvater's prose style falls flat in several noticeable places, and there are numerous typos that regrettably disengage the reader from the narrative. Still, the overall fast pace, intriguing concept, and plot filled with psychics and ghosts -- plus the unanswered questions at book's end -- will leave readers forgiving of flaws as they await book two. cynthia k. ritter
Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
An ancient Welsh king may be buried in the Virginia countryside; three privileged boys hope to disinter him. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Blue Sargent, daughter of a small-town psychic, has lived her whole life under a prophecy: If she kisses her true love, he will die. Not that she plans on kissing anyone. Blue isn't psychic, but she enhances the extrasensory power of anyone she's near; while helping her aunt visualize the souls of people soon to die, she sees a vision of a dying Raven boy named Gansey. The Raven Boys--students at Aglionby, a nearby prep school, so-called because of the ravens on their school crest--soon encounter Blue in person. From then on, the point of view shifts among Blue; Gansey, a trust-fund kid obsessed with finding King Glendower buried on a ley-line in Virginia; and Adam, a scholarship student obsessed with his own self-sufficiency. Add Ronan, whose violent insouciance comes from seeing his father die, and Noah, whose first words in the book are, "I've been dead for seven years," and you've got a story very few writers could dream up and only Stiefvater could make so palpably real. Simultaneously complex and simple, compulsively readable, marvelously wrought. The only flaw is that this is Book 1; it may be months yet before Book 2 comes out. The magic is entirely pragmatic; the impossible, extraordinarily true. (Fantasy. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told that her fate is to kiss her true love and cause him to die. Her family of psychics takes these warnings seriously, and for this reason, among others, she avoids the arrogant Raven Boys of Aglionby, an exclusive all-male private school in her small Virginia town that sports the dark bird on its crest and tailored uniforms. Then on St. Mark's Eve (when the shades of those who will die in the next year reveal themselves), Blue sees an apparition in the tell-tale Aglionby uniform who identifies himself only as Gansey. Later she meets the ill-fated Gansey and his crew‚ brooding Ronan, affable Adam, and rumpled Noah‚ and, despite her misgivings, decides to help them on a project of supernatural scope. They wish to wake an ancient power beneath the land. Unbeknownst to our teenaged paranormal explorers, some devious adults are on the same trail and will stop at nothing to harness the power for themselves. Blue's mixed feelings are easy to understand. It would be hard to resist kissing even one of these endearing fellows, let alone four. Alas, Stiefvater leaves her ultimate fate hanging in the balance. The book is the first in a series starring these Raven Boys. Fresh from the success of her award-winning The Scorpio Races,¬†Stiefvater again proves that she does, indeed, rock. -- "35 Going on 13" LJ Reviews 7/19/12 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 May/June
Part fantasy, part magic, part mystery, part teenage drama, Stiefvater fans will enjoy this delight. Other readers are in for a wild ride of a different kind while the story passes through various genres and subject matters. Readers will want to read to find out who Blue Sargent falls in love with and whether or not her kiss will kill her love, as was predicted by her psychic mother and aunt. Other plotlines piqued my curiosity, though there was not enough in this first book in The Raven Cycle for me. While Blue is the main character and her family plays an important role as well, male readers will be able to identify with the Raven Boys from Aglionby. Stacy Rosenthal, Ed.D., Librarian, Council Rock High School South, Holland, Pennsylvania. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #5
By grounding this new series in what might be called everyday weirdness--a rich teenager's obsession with legend and glory, a shabby household of female psychics with a pay-per-minute hotline--Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races) avoids the burden of building a seamless alternate world, instead saturating our reality with magic. Haunting, distinctly individual characters are at the forefront: Blue, an outsider in her own home because she isn't clairvoyant; Gansey and his posse of misfits, who lack any sense of home and seek meaning elsewhere; and Barrington Whelk, a Latin teacher with a secret. Gansey and his fellow "raven boys" attend exclusive Aglionby Academy--itself out of place in working-class Henrietta, Va.--and Blue's goal is to avoid them at any cost. She can't, of course, but Stiefvater doesn't rush this inevitability. Hopes, fears, quirks, and forebodings gather gradually, coalescing as living portraits. It's a tour de force of characterization, and while there is no lack of event or mystery, it is the way Stiefvater's people live in the reader's imagination that makes this such a memorable read. Ages 13-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October
Gr 8 Up--Blue was born into a psychic family with the misfortune of having no psychic ability of her own. However, her presence helps others "see" more clearly, which has led to every psychic she's ever met predicting that if Blue were to kiss her true love, he would die. Not interested in boys yet and especially repulsed by the snooty lot at Aglionby Academy, she decides to simply never kiss anyone. When she has her first clairvoyant experience, it's not as thrilling as she had hoped. She sees that Gansey, a boy from Aglionby, will die within the next year. She can't get him out of her mind, a task made impossible when she meets him and his three friends. The Raven Boys, as Aglionby students are called, rope her into helping them with their mission: to locate a ley line. The line of energy could possibly connect them to the past and to the legendary "sleeping" Welsh king, Glendower, who will grant the one who awakens him a reward. Their quest puts each of them in harm's way, made more imminent when Blue finally starts to feel as if her kiss of death is going to be a real problem. First in a planned quartet, The Raven Boys is an incredibly rich and unique tale, a supernatural thriller of a different flavor. The cinematic feel paces the novel well, and the many pieces of the story unfold with grace. The complicated relationships between the Raven boys and Blue are not of the standard main character/love interest variety and makes the curious plot all the more enthralling. Fans have been salivating for Stiefvater's next release and The Raven Boys delivers.--Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, NJ [Page 150]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.