People have been raving about THE RAVEN CYCLE series. I finally decided to pick it up and see what all the fuss was about. I am so lucky I got to read these back to back. I have included my honest thoughts on all the books in this series and some of my favorite video trailers for these books.
**Please note: My reviews for books 2-4 may contain spoilers for parts of this series.**
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on September 18th 2012
Length: 11 hours and 8 minutes
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Social Issues, Adolescence, Paranormal
Audiobook provided by My Wallet (purchased)
An all-new series from the masterful, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!
"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:
I started this book with hesitation simply because it got SO much love. I think this was a good start to the series. The author laid a great foundation of interesting characters. I grew to love Blue Sergent, the girl with the gift of amplification. Blue is from a psychic family, but she is not psychic. In this story she gets to be part of the group of privileged Raven Boys who go to a local boarding school. The boys include; Richard Campbell Gansey III (the leader), Adam Parrish (the boy earning his way through school), Ronan Lynch (the tough guy who is too good to go to school), and Noah (who is almost always present).
Blue helps her mother once a year see the dead of the coming year. Blue stands close to her mother to help amplify the signal. Blue usually never sees anything, but this year she sees a boy and he speaks to her. Blue has been told by her psychic mother never to kiss her true love because then he will die. Blue’s family situation makes her an outsider. She is gifted, but not in a way that seems useful to her. Blue is really outspoken and not afraid to tell people what she really thinks. She doesn’t set out to become friendly with the Raven boys, but it happens anyways because of the mission of the group.
The writing is well done and sucked me in almost right away. The writing is lyrical, which usually annoys me. Somehow in this series the writing was able to take me right there. I could smell, feel, see and hear all the elements. The audiobook narrator definitely added much to the experience. I had no problem figuring out who was speaking in a conversation or following the story.
Honestly, about half way through I had already made up my mind to continue the series, but I didn’t quite understand all the rave reviews. This story contains an adventure, but it kinda paled in comparison to later books in the series. The setting of Henrietta was pure brilliance as we get local accents, big money, and old southern rolled into this story, making it feel really genuine.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
September 5th 2013
Length: 12 hours and 45 minutes
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic
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 picks right up where THE RAVEN BOYS leaves off. At the end of book one, we learn a secret about Ronan. Ronan is taking things out of his dreams! This secret carries the story into dream territory.
In this story, Gansey is focused as ever to find a legendary King. There is much to love about Gansey as the leader of this group. Adam is facing demons at home and solidifying himself as a heartbreaking character. Adam is probably in most unloved situation, and his personality flaws are starting to show. We also learn a shocking fact about Noah that changes everything. There are new places to explore and dream things that manifest. There are also some mysterious bad guys that appear and a new maybe friend in this story. And Blue! Oh Blue is revealing things about herself to certain boys. She is also learning that her feelings for one Raven boy are more complex then she realized.
“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”
At this point in reading, I figured out what all the fuss was about. In this installment we get so much more adventure. This books brings the story to another level. The story seems to be moving at a snail’s pace, but we are getting so much into how these characters affect the ley line and why finding Glendower is more important then ever. This adventure in this story is really unpredictable, but I still felt right at home reading about these beloved characters.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater. 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. In a starred review, THE BULLETIN called THE DREAM THIEVES, the previous book in The Raven Cycle, "a complex web of magical intrigue and heart-stopping action." Now, with BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, the web becomes even more complex, snaring readers at every turn.
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
October 21st 2014
Length: 10 hours and 3 minutes
Genres: Young Adult, Other, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural
The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater. 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. In a starred review, THE BULLETIN called THE DREAM THIEVES, the previous book in The Raven Cycle, "a complex web of magical intrigue and heart-stopping action." Now, with BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, the web becomes even more complex, snaring readers at every turn.
“Queens and kings
Kings and queens
Blue lily, lily blue
Crowns and birds
Swords and things
Blue lily, lily blue.”
Now that summer is over and the gang is entering their senior year, their lives take a dramatic turn. They find themselves pulled in different directions here with school, work, family (or lack thereof), and the ever present need to solve the mystery of Glendower.
This story find the gang still trying to find Glendower, the Raven King. They have a new urgency in this book because Maura, Blue’s mother, is missing. Ronan takes the lead in this story with his unique ability and no nonsense personality. Ronan and Adam begin to form an alliance. Adam is promised to the ley line. His ability to speak to the ley line, along with Ronan’s ability to draw from it makes these two necessary allies. Ronan and Adam come up with a brilliant scheme to remove their enemy, Greenmantle, from the situation. Unfortunately for them, Greenmantle’s wife Piper is going to take his place as enemy number one.
Gansey and Blue begin to explore their feelings for each other. Their late night phone calls gave me all the feels of an adolescent romance worth shipping. Blue and the boys find a creature named Gwenllian who may or may not have an important part to play. As Glendower’s daughter, she is an important find.
I will say that the addition of Mr. Malory, Gansey’s mentor, didn’t make much sense to me. He showed up in this story, but didn’t add much too it. Even after reading this whole series, I still have no idea what his purpose was. I had to deduct a star for this.
Everything in this installment seems to happen fast. I was so ready after reading this to find out what happens next.
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
April 7th 2016
Length: 11 hours and 51 minutes
Genres: Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
The fourth and final instalment in the spellbinding series from bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure any more.
How, how can I possible review this book?
“Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”
“He was a king. This was the year he was going to die.”
The reveal in this installment left me breathless. First, I have to say how much I loved all the books up to this point. I really enjoyed listening to all of these as they made my hour long trek to and from work something to look forward to. One of my major rules was broken, but I am making an exception for this series because #fangirl.
In terms of flow, everything came to nice conclusion. All the major loose ends were tied up. Most of the secondary characters purpose was revealed and justified (except in the case of Mr.Malory, still no answer for that one). To be honest, I was so entranced in the adventure of this story that I forgot this was suppose to be a wrap up. Major things actually happened. This story was emotional and terrifying. There is a main character that become possessed, but then this character is redeemed. Then gone. Just gone! A major thing I was thinking would climax the story didn’t happen. How could a thing just not exist! I went from “Don’t let Gansey die!” to “Wait, what?”
There were a least two kisses in this story and they both made my heart sail. I just can’t even explain how much soaring my heart did (and still does) for them. Also PYNCH. This pairing…..swoon. Romance wasn’t the only thing that happened in this story, but it was so much of this story that I can’t not mention it.
This was a great ending to a fantastic series. I feel like I just want to re-read these books so I can go back to this world. I am so excited to hear that there will be a Ronan trilogy spin off. I need more of Henrietta and these characters.
I feel like all the hype is justified for this series. I feel like I just want to re-read these books so I can go back to this world.