Review: The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater | Books 1 & 2

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Happy Wednesday y’all! I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of book series this year. Anyways the last month, I finally got around to starting the Raven Cycle series which I’ve been meaning to read for a long time now. Let me start with an overall summary of the plot before I go into first impressions and each book individually.

The plot revolves around four boys who go to the Aglionby Academy (a private school for rich kids) and a girl, Blue who is the daughter of a psychic but has no psychic powers herself. One of the boys, Gansey went through something incredibly impossible in his past which irrevocably connects him with Glendower, a dead Welsh king who is said to be buried in Virginia, where the story is set. The story follows Gansey and his entourage Ronan, Adam, Noah and Blue as they try to find the ley lines (high energy straight lines along which a dead person can be carried to the grave to be buried and can be resurrected later if desired) and the dead king. There are also several subplots going on; A subplot for Blue where every psychic she comes across predicts that if she kisses her true love, he will die; Ronan can take things out of dreams and Adam is a broke, whiny bitch, etc.

So coming to my thoughts about the two books. Book 1, The Raven Boys introduces the characters, sets the friendship between them and the main plot. My first thought was that the book was a little hard to read because even though everything seems perfect, it was very hard for me to care about the characters. All the characters in this book are overly eccentric and extremely one-dimensional to the point where their entire character revolves around one particular trait. In the first book, Gansey was simply a geek with no layers whatsoever; Blue was a hippie who had so many opinions that even someone breathing pisses her off; Adam was a broke scholarship guy trying to fit into a rich-kids school and Ronan was the bad, violent guy who gave no shits about anything. Apart from these traits, we get no layers to the characters which made it impossible for me to give a shit about the story and why the characters were doing what they were doing. Also, Maggie spends way too much time describing mundane things in a weird, disturbing way which made the book very painful to read at times.

For example: “… Rubbing his smooth chin with its recently assassinated chin hairs…”


Another thing that felt lacking was the fact there is no explanation as to why Gansey’s entourage puts up with his constant talk about ley lines and dead kings; why they should even stick with him through this crazy expedition. Granted they see for themselves that all this is not some pipe dream later in the book but for me, it made no sense for any of them to entertain Gansey’s latest obsession from the beginning. If there had been a few more solid reasons for why they were in this wild-goose chase together, the book might have made a little more sense.

Despite the poor character development and the superfluous writing, I was very invested in the plot. One thing I loved about the series was how it was so refreshing when compared with other YA fantasy novels I have read before. There is no drama regarding the whole true-love subplot and it is very subtle. There are no love triangles and main characters releasing breaths they didn’t know they were holding. The friendship between the main characters is in fact very sweet and funny.

Book two, The Dream Thieves is almost completely focused around Ronan, his family, his past and his ability to pull things out of his dreams. I liked this book better than the first one because the characters did develop albeit minor, some more compared to the first book (for instance we learn Gansey wears unconventionally bright colours of polo shirts and cargo pants. Gasphowexciting.) Sadly, Adam Parrish still exudes major broke-bitch energy in this book as well despite him being a major part of the plot development in the first book. This book was more fast paced with more interesting occurrences and mysterious elements peppered all over the book.

I have concluded that I now like all the characters except Adam because Maggie has managed to keep them consistently eccentric and focused around their small set of character traits which is pretty impressive among other books out there that randomly change the traits of their characters to keep up with the plot development.

I’m reading the third book currently and it has been good so far. Crossing my fingers hoping that I love the next two books despite the rocky start that was book 1.

Thanks for sticking around till the end guys! Hope you all have a good rest of the week!

Did you guys read this series? What are your thoughts?


4 thoughts on “Review: The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater | Books 1 & 2

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