The Raven Boys: Talk about a misleading synopsis! // Rave Book Review

“We have to be back in three hours,” Ronan said. “I just fed Chainsaw but she’ll need it again.”

“This,” Gansey replied “is precisely why I didn’t want to have a baby with you.”

Summary:

This book revolves around Blue, a girl from a psychic family who meets Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, four boys from a local private school who are in search of ley lines in the town. They enlist Blue’s special talents in their hunt, and this book revolves around their efforts to find ley lines and how they come to bond along the way.

***Genre: Young adult, Paranormal

***Note: If you have not read this book, I highly discourage you from reading the synopsis on Goodreads and the back of this book. It’s highly inaccurate of this book’s contents as it is most definitely is not a romance, and that may likely throw you off.

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My thoughts: Ye gods, the writing is incredible.

I’m going to start off this review by saying that I have issues with how this book was presented, but can I take a moment to just appreciate how scrumptious the writing is? I’ve read plenty of YA authors whose prose is clean, beautiful and flowery, but in my opinion, Stiefvater’s prose blows them all out of the water.

Because for one, her word choices are astonishingly precise. This might be a rather strange thing to note, but for how atmospheric her writing is, there is not a single phrase or term that feels superfluous: every last word in this book is deliberately placed, and such level of love and care dissuaded me from simply barreling through the story with my brain turned off, just because I wanted to slowly appreciate the prose for once.

Furthermore, talk about intriguing characters. Adam by far is one of the most complex characters I’ve read in my entire life as he is not characterized by a single personality trait nor just his struggles, but is rather a complex amalgamation of the two. There are instances when he is sweet and vulnerable, yet he also demonstrates severe personality flaws (like temper or pride) that makes him a most perplexing enigma.

In that, this book slayed two out of three elements. The prose skyrocketed to the top of my most well-written YA books list, and the characters (even beyond Adam) were among the most interesting and self-aware protagonists I’ve read.

Unfortunately, the plot did not do justice to these characters. Perhaps it’s my fault for blindly believing that this story was to revolve around a romance, but even disregarding the misleading synopsis, this book slinks its way into the plot without ever paying toll as to why characters are so hell-bent on finding these ley lines, and this lack of motivation made me impatient and even desperate for a true conflict to kick in.

Furthermore, there are extensive chapters dedicated to the villain’s mindset, yet this book discards him almost unceremoniously once his tie to another character is divulged. This made me quite frustrated as I felt there was potential for this character to serve as a great point of conflict or at the very least be redeemed as emotional payout, yet he simply becomes a fleeting roadblock, a nothing character in the end.

In that, although this book presents beautifully flawed characters, there is no true conflict for them to flourish in. Many of their struggles are self-propagated (as they literally go looking for trouble themselves), and the way this story was kick-started ultimately felt random and directionless as a result.

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


Recommended? For sure!

Truly, the writing in this series brings me to tears with just how precise it is. I mean, nothing was a throwaway line! The author has a loving intention behind every single word or phrase in this book, and the distinct way that she crafted her sentences was beyond any other author’s attempt to convey meaning in a flowery manner.

In that, I’d recommend this book for ages 14 and up. There’s quite a bit profanity thrown about the series, but the characters behave very much like adults, so I feel this book could appeal to any fan of the YA, paranormal, or even literary fiction genre.


Bottom line: Stellar characters, lethargic plot

As a first installment in a series, this book seems much too loose and casual to be an ideal setup as characters do things for almost no compelling reason, and the plot flounders as a result of having no true driving conflict behind it.

However, the prose in this book is exquisite, the characters are top-notch, and the ambience is electrical, so I absolutely recommend giving this book a go. The flaws will eventually be mitigated once you read the entire series, so for that, I give this book 3.5 stars (2 stars for aimless plot, 5 for amazing characters).

My rating: 3.5/5 frogs

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***Note: I read this series last fall, but it took me a while to write this review because I wanted to re-read the entire series a few times before delivering judgment. My thoughts aren’t drastically different from back then, but I will be doing a series overview just so I can talk about the overall flow of the entire series, which I feel will be more positive.

***Reading update: I’ve been reading a lot of standalones lately, so I’ve finally decided to tackling the Mistborn trilogy. I didn’t manage to get all the way through last time, but it apparently has a great conclusion, so I shall get to it starting tomorrow.

***And lastly, I’m really craving oranges right now. Just saying. Oh, and this blog apparently officially has 100 followers as of last night. What the heck.

39 Comments

  1. Congrats on hitting 100 followers! You deserve them 💛
    And oh lord, this book sounds so interesting!! I’ve kept seeing it around and my friends have been yelling at me to read it but I’ve never actually known what it’s about, you know? Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so very much!! 😀 ❤
      Yes, this series is quite interesting! It's definitely more about an exploration of characters' growth as individuals, and it's not as action-packed as one might think. However it does continually get better with each book, so hopefully you feel compelled to check it out one day. Thanks again! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You review describes my feelings perfectly! I hated this book at first because the synopsis at the back of the book threw me off (and as you say, there’s no plot), but it gets so much better after reading the entire series. Amazing review!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yay congrats on hitting 100 followers! You definitely deserve it! ❤️And I really love this review. I actually picked up the Raven Boys a couple years back, but put it down since I wasn’t really in the mood to read it. But yes, I completely agree with you, the synopsis is definitely misleading. I was expecting one thing, but something completely different occurred. Looking forward to reading your post about the series as a whole! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe thank you so much! (The number definitely was weird to see on my screen, so…)

      And yes, the synopsis was pretty misleading! The marketing tactic of “girl meets boy” was just so lame because the contents are so much more mature and cerebral; kind of a shame because that’s partly what dragged the plot for me. Oh, and thank you again! I’m so glad you enjoyed this review. Cheers! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh congrats! I adore The Raven Cycle, although things do get weird sometimes. Also, I’ve been meaning to read the Mistborn series for the longest time, but the length of the books are so intimidating ahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Haha yeah, the length isn’t something you can tackle if you’re not in the right mood for it (thus why it took me so long lol). Hopefully you get to it! I’ve heard they’re really great. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on 100 followers ❤
    I wanted to read this series for a long time but the racism Stiefvater exercises put me off.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yup! I do remember a specific instance where a character made fun of Henry’s ethnicity…I agree it might’ve been insensitive, but I don’t remember a blatant case of racism. I’ll have to read it again. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats with 100 followers! And it was so good to know that the synopsis of this book doesn’t really match it, I’ve been thinking about reading it but the synopsis kinda threw me off.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah I really agree about the writing! It’s so atmospheric and just gorgeous. Completely agree- Adam is so complex and well drawn. And yeah the characters are the main centrepiece for this book and are really unbelievable 😀 I do hear you about the conflict and plotting though- the series is a bit meandering in that regard. Really fair and thorough review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, the characters are amazing! I would’ve dropped the series in a heartbeat if they hadn’t been so compelling. And I’m glad you agree about the meandering! (great way to describe it btw) I wasn’t sure if I was just projecting my own opinion in this review lol. Thank you so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very interesting review. I alwayssssssssssssss see this book around, and I’ve been holding out because the hype scared me on it. I’m so so glad to hear that the prose lived up to the hype around it and that the characters were super well done. Although I had gotten that kind of feel from the summary and am still kind of confused by it, so I’m not too excited about the issues that it seems to have with it. I think I’m going to take your recommendation to read it…but maybe hold off on it for a while?? D: Wonderful review!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree! You should take up this series only when you’re in the mood. It’s more of an exploration of characters’ inner struggles, and the paranormal is the side stuff that complements it I’d say. 😉 I hope you enjoy this in the future! And thanks! ❤

      Like

  9. LOVE THIS REVIEW!!!! i’m currently reading the series and it’s already my favorite ever!!!! ADAM. he is so complex and I want to force him to accept love and help and live with gansey????? but also I understand his emotional trauma and why he is the way he is???? that BOY!!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on hitting 100 followers! Yay you!

    So I recently attempted this book when the audio became available on my Overdrive. And it didn’t go well. I DNF’d at barely 5%.

    I originally blamed the narrator, but after reading your review I’m thinking maybe the slow pace was responsible as well. Obviously, not something I can really comment on after DNFing so early but…

    I need to try again with a physical copy in the future, but already I am with you about the character-heavy story and the gorgeous, typically Stiefvater writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!! ❤ And yes, the characters are stunning, but I do feel like the writing might need to be seen rather than heard to be appreciated, if you know what I mean? And yeah, the slow plotting is a bit of a problem, but it gets better once you give in to it. 😉 Hope you give the series another try! Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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