In Praise of The Raven Cycle

I don’t normally do book reviews, but I might start. Nonetheless, I needed to get in some writing about one of my new favorite series: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

Yes, I am a bit of a teen fiction junky in spite of the fact that I am a literature student. You might notice there are posts on here about The Hunger Games and Divergent, so yes I like those too, though not anywhere to the same level. But hey, a bit of easy writing can be good for the soul.

Alright, for my sucky summary read below, for the nice Amazon one see here.

Blue Sargent lives with four psychics, one of whom is her mother. She is used to scrying and divination and more than anything the fact that the only thing she knows about her future is this: if she kisses her true love, he will die. Hence the reason she avoids kissing…or more importantly boys, especially the infamous raven boys.

The raven boys are a group of private school students mostly from very well to do families. These snobbish youngsters cause Blue trouble at work. What she is not prepared for is becoming twisted up in the fate of four such boys, all of whom are seeking the sleeping Welsh king, Glendower, in hopes of earning a favor.

Enter the rough and tough Ronan, sulky and shy Noah, sweet yet stubborn Adam, and the rich slightly arrogant yet ever charming Gansey, all determined to find this king, though each for their own different reasons.

Seeking psychic help with their quest, the group of boys end up tangled up in the lives of Blue and her psychic family. And from there the drama, magic, questing, and romance truly begin.

Anyhow, that’s my version of things. However, whether I’ve muddled that description up or not, I simply wish to offer my own analysis about these books.

A friend mentioned them briefly a year back. I ignored the recommendation, disinterested by the description. However, a month ago I ran across the first book on a teen’s choice shelf in my local library, and was determined to give it a try due to the fact it appeared to be gaining success.

Stiefvater writes her story cleverly, weaving a web of narrative that is very difficult to not become caught in almost immediately. I greatly enjoy her style with bits of dark humor interspersed with little contemplations on love and family and fate.

The books are unusual in their subject choices, they combine fantasy and myth and modernity, though rather neatly so. Some might find them a bit odd, though quirkiness is something that often appeals to me. I thoroughly enjoy a bit of unique fantasy from time to time, but that’s me.

As the cycle is not yet completed I cannot yet give a full verdict. I will say so far it does fall somewhat into the typical teen romance genre that is so popular now, even giving a somewhat dilapidated love triangle. As a person who has become increasingly anti-romantic (in the traditional not the literary sense), I have had trouble dealing with this convention lately. But thus far it has not been too overbearing on the plot, in spite of the emphasis in the blurbs and summaries. Still, it is too bad Stiefvater couldn’t have used her unique and fun ideas without creating a plot that hinged on romance.

I love Stiefvater’s characters from the wild Blue, to self-made-man Adam, to irritating yet clever Gansey, to quiet Noah, to angry yet somehow loveable Ronan. I love their uniqueness and have found it hard to disconnect myself from them in realizing the next book will not be out for a long while. Even minor characters hold their own unique characteristics that Stiefvater just manages to develop very well.

If you enjoy romance and fantasy and adventure, stories of quests, magic, psychics, funny characters, witty dark humor, and a dash of suspense, and a nice touch of emotional connection, I highly recommend The Raven Cycle. They read easily but are lengthy and complex enough to enjoy as a more mature reader. So please share in my latest obsession, so I’ll have a few more people to gab to about these.

Any book recommendations from you recently? Any Raven Cycle fans have any additional thoughts? Teen fiction thoughts? Etc etc etc.

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