The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater | Book Review


BLURB: “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. (Goodreads)
She wasn't interested in telling other people's futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) 
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Magical realism, Fantasy, Young Adult
Goodreads rating: 4.05
Pages: 409
Publication: 18th September 2012 by Scholastic Press
Source: Book Depository | Amazon | BookXcess | Google Books
Reading format: Hardback
Review type: Non-spoilery

DISCLAIMER: I edited this book review in 2021, after re-reading the series. Not much of my opinion had changed, so I just added some things I did not notice from my first read in this review.

"If Blue was to kiss her true love, he would die. For a long time, this bothered Blue. The warning was specific, certainly, but in the way of a fairy tale. It didn't say how her true love would die. It didn't say how long after the kiss he would survive. Did it have to be a kiss on the lips? Would a chaste peck on the back of his palm prove as deadly?" (Chapter 1, The Raven Boys)
The whole idea of the book intrigued me. It involves a lot of paranormal stuff that isn't included in the books/shows/movies I consumed in the past. This book genre was very much new to me, it is classified as magical realism (you can read more about it here) and it sounds like something that I will love very much! I was hooked from the very first page, the very first sentence. Even the first chapter, as I included above, already shows so much promise.

The main premise is simple: there's a girl, and if she kisses her true love, that person will die. But there's more to it. It is not just about that. In this book, we get to learn about the girl's family, how she became friends with boys that seem unlikely to be her friends, each of these boys' personalities and a magical quest one of these boys is on. And as much as it sounds like 'just another teenage fantasy story', Stiefvater wrote the characters in a very special way, engraving them into my heart.

First of all, let me say that I freaking love Blue's family. Her family consists of only women, her mom, her cousin, her aunt and her mom's best friend (which already sounds like a dream to me because I live with 4 boys). Except for Blue, all of them are clairvoyant and each of them specializes in different kinds of clairvoyance. These women are so lively and each of them has personalities of their own and I JUST WANT TO LIVE WITH THEM. Imagine how much magic you can see every day in their house AND THE CHAOS.

They were written in a whimsical way but their personalities are very real if that makes sense. In the previous books I've read, fantasy characters ESPECIALLY the ones who can do magic, are written in a way that emphasizes their magical-ness, making it seem impossible that they can ever be real. But the characters in The Raven Boys are written in a way that makes me believe that they can actually exist, which I think is the whole point of the magical realism genre. And this also extends to the four Raven Boys, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah.

Photo from here.

It is almost impossible to not fall in love with all of the Raven Boys. For me, it was like falling in love with 5 Seconds of Summer all over again. I want everything from The Raven Boys, I want live shows, I want interactions on social media, I want to see fan edits of them (which is basically what fan art is) and most of all, I want them to be real.

Adam wasn't certain what came first with Blue--her treating the boys as friends, or them all becoming friends. It seemed to Adam that this circular way to build relationships required a healthy amount of self-confidence to undertake. And it was a strange sort of magic that it felt like she'd always been hunting for Glendower with them.

Gansey is the Dad of the group. He cares about his friends, will do everything for them and I have no doubt he will kill for them if he must. He is said to be oblivious and out of touch because he comes from a rich family, yes, he's not perfect, he sometimes unconsciously hurt the people around him, but the way he cares for his friends make up for it, in my opinion. The way he is passionate about his quest is also very adorable (how I wish I'm THAT passionate about anything in my life).

Then, we have Adam, the precious, precious boy I just want to protect. During my first read, he annoyed me so much. Only after my second read and four years of maturing did I understand him. He did not like receiving help and reacted so badly when someone did help him because he was not used to it. My take from it is that it is not easy to get used to receiving love when for your whole life, the people who should be giving you love and cherish you turn out to be the ones who hurt you all the time. My heart goes for him, and all of the Adams in the world. 

Ronan is the mysterious guy of the group. More about his story and his background is told in the second book. Although he is introduced as the rude brat who secretly cares for his friends as much as they do him without showing that he cares, he is more complex than just that. And lastly, another precious soft boy that needs protection, Noah. I think that Stiefvater crafted his story so nicely! And what I mean by that is for me to know and for you to find out 😉

My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.

Stiefvater's storytelling is otherworldly. It is beautiful and poetic at times but not too intoxicating that the beautiful words become the one that grips the reader into the story and not the story itself. As someone with a short attention span, beautiful words usually intoxicate me (I call it reader's high) and if I read it for long, I will end up daydreaming instead of reading the story. In Stiefvater's narrative, the storytelling and the poetry of the words are balanced, so while the beautiful words tug at my heart, I can also be focused on the story at the same time. And that is why even after 4 years and hundreds of books read, I still gave this book a 5-star rating.

Recommended for people who love: magical realism, found family trope, friendship goals, lovable characters.


  1. I'm not a book lover but still something read some book ( more to general genre book ). Hopefully someday, i has chance to read English novel, :)

    1. I hope so :) J.K. Rowling said: "If you don't like reading, you haven't found the right book." I believe in this words. Maybe someday you'll find a book that you'll love.

  2. Argh now this seems interesting although how far I've been ignoring this book but your review m ake my heart itch a bit to read the book. Seems like this book is what I really need right now. :D 5/5 ahhh. Hahaha. I hope my heart does not breaks into pieces.

    Thanks pypa for the review. :D

    1. Read it! I would love to know your thought about the book :) I ignored it for so long too, and I don't know lah why it took me so long to read it. I can't promise that you'll like it since it has a mixed reviews, but if you enjoy reading about friendship growth and paranormal adventure, you might love it like I do.


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