The Raven Cycle (#1-3) by Maggie Stiefvater | Series Mini-Reviews

I love this series. It focuses on a group of high school kids in Henrietta, VA: four boys from the local private school and Blue, the psychic's daughter. One of the boys from Aglionby, Richard Campbell Gansey III, is on the search for a Welsh king and first crosses paths with Blue . . . as a ghost. On St. Mark's Eve, Blue sees the ghost of Gansey--which, when not a psychic yourself, means that the person you saw is either your true love or you kill them.

This is the best YA series I have ever read, and I can't believe I only read it this year.

Also, beware, that there might be subtle spoilers for the first book in the series in the synopsis and review of the second, etc.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Published: 18 September 2012 by Scholastic Press
Format - Length: Audiobook - 11 hours and 8 minutes
Source: Library's Overdrive
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
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“There are only two reasons a non-seer 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 bestselling 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.

Blue is sensible, and she would like you to know that.

Honestly, though, this book is amazing mostly because of the characters. Gansey is for-sure swoon worthy, but I'm trying (and failing) to not get too attached (for obvious reasons). Ronan is mysterious, but definitely intriguing. Blue is sensible and not your "typical YA heroine" because of it. I hold grudges against people named Adam, but I am hoping for some character growth within the later books. Noah is funny, and I love learning about him in this book.

I do love how much of this book is focused on friendship. It's very refreshing within the YA genre, and definitely not something we see a lot. Also there's a present family in this book which makes me really happy. The family at 300 Fox Way is in no way conventional, but it's a family and they are there for Blue. 

I felt like because I listened to the audiobook, I missed part of the ending--where Maggie Stiefvater likes to throw new bits and pieces of information to the reader--that I know I wouldn't have missed otherwise. But that wasn't the book's fault, that was mine. Also, this narrator isn't for everyone, but Will Patton sounds like someone that I know personally that tells crazy stories so I got along well with the narrator.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Published: 17 September 2013 by Scholastic Press
Format - Length: Audiobook/Hardcover - 12 hours 45 minutes/439 pages
Source: Library/Overdrive
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
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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.

This book follows mainly on Ronan, and I was absolutely okay with that. After reading this, he is by far my new favorite character in this series, if not of this year. I love the depth given to him. We see his family, his struggles, his enemies, and his backstory. Oh his backstory. We also see more of Blue and the boys and her family. But we don't just see Ronan, we also get to know much more about Adam (who, at this point, I have begun to sympathize with) and his relationship with his family as well as with Gansey. Also between Gansey and his family. Just family, guys, I love it.

I love the ever-growing themes of friendship and family that this series has, but I also love the romantic element that this book holds. I live off of any moment with Blue and Gansey.

We are also introduced to a new character: the Gray Man, Mr. Gray. I won't say much about him (because spoilers) except that I love how Stiefvater takes his seemingly unrelated storyline and weaves it in with that of our Raven Boys and the ladies at 300 Fox Way.

While we don't get as much plot development in this installment of the series, the character development that we see is amazing.

This book is, by far, my favorite of the series so far.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Published: 21 October 2014 by Scholastic Press
Format - Length: Hardcover/Audiobook - 391 pages/10 hours 3 minutes
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Goodreads - My Goodreads Rating
Buy it! - Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble
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.

Second favorite of the series simply because of where the plot takes us in this. We didn't get quite as much character-driven-ness in this one, but we did get lots of plot-driven-ness.

Things I learned while reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue:
  1. Maggie Stiefvater isn't afraid to mess with our emotions.
  2. I don't want Gansey to die because he and Blue and perfect for each other.
  3. Pynch needs to happen.
  4. I love how Maggie Stiefvater focuses on characters, but not so much where she does a horrible job at plot development and world building.
  5. This could be all about the romance, but it isn't. Gold star for you, Maggie.
  6. Malory (?--I mostly listened to the audio for this one) was really kind of annoying and maybe not even necessary. 
  7. MORE CHARACTERS. -- They are all kind of crazy and I love it.
HAVE YOU READ THE RAVEN CYCLE? No? Go pick it up now before the fourth book comes out! Then come back here and tell me what you thought!


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