Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review: Raven Boys

Another schedule update, I was so busy with exams/my plans to see The Hobbit fell through this weekend so I actually don't have anything for Sunday. But on Monday I'm talking about Heartcatch Precure which does have a (really short) movie so I'm going to watch that and then talk about that briefly at the end of the review on Monday. Not ideal but I honestly have no ideas what to watch that also happens to be streaming on Netflix, this has just been a pretty bad year for movies for me.

But not for books weirdly enough, this year not only have there been a lot of YA books that I've been interested in but I've also been able to get a hold of them, huzzah! This one did require that I put in an interlibrary loan request (and then the library failed to notify me about it and I only figure that out since I was obsessively checking out the status of all my requests and realized one seemed to have already been checked out to me) but this is what you're supposed to use a college library for, right?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary: Blue's mother believed in not ordering children around so she's never told Blue to do anything in her life until now, stay away from Gansey she warns or something terrible will happen. Blue has already realized that on her own, when she was young her mother and her other fortune telling aunts predicted that she would cause the death of the man who fell in love with her and Blue has seen Gansey stumbling in the parade of the dead-to-come with her own eyes. But when she eventually runs into Gansey and his group of fellow students she's intrigued by their quest for a dead Welsh king and finds herself drawn in regardless and how could she fight her fate anyway?

The Good: Really quick since it's basically the same thing I said about Lament/Ballad, I like how Stiefvater sets her stories in The South (Virginia again in this case) and yet it's never made stereotypical or exaggerated (heck, there are multiple times when a character's accent is mentioned and it's clear that she lives in Virginia since she understands the different between the old, gentry country accents and the small town/out in the country accents, really small details but I like the small details). I like how the magic is worked into the setting, it's so subtle that it feels realistic but you don't doubt for a second that it's not real (the setting is too small-town for it to really be called an urban fantasy but it has the same causal approach to magical things that an urban fantasy does). Gansey and Adam grew on me more than I expected and, for a final little detail (I just love her detail work apparently), I love the thought that went into the names of the characters. Blue comes from a bit of an eccentric mother so she has an odd name, Gansey is short for his full name which works considering his background (old money, actually I only started thinking about this after I saw his sister was named Helen and went "hey that's a name that hasn't been popular for about a hundred years, wait a minute that would actually make sense here), Adam is a common name but there have been many great people named that, and Ronan is as Irish and wild as you can get. And now I want to go back through Stiefvater's other books and analyze all the names in there to see if they match up as perfectly....  

The Bad: I found Blue to be the most interesting viewpoint character and everyone else to be, well, varying from merely less interesting to one or two who I wish had been cut completely. I understand why the characters were viewpoint characters, I can't think of any other natural way to convey the information they had, but that understanding didn't make me any less bored. I am also a little curious about what the next book in this series will cover which is a bit funny since, while there a lot of open ends, the book feels like it ended rather neatly and I'd almost be okay if this was a stand alone book. I guess the best way to put it is that you expect that a sequel expands upon the first book and this book worked so well I'm really not sure where the story can go from here.

So 3.5 out of 5 stars to this book and I'm interested in reading the next book (no idea how long this series is supposed to be). It still hasn't ousted Ballad as my favorite Stiefvater book but I like it a bit more than The Scorpio Races, I guess the trick for me is that her books have to have romance as a secondary genre instead of it being the primary one for me to like them.  

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