By LAUREN CHIPDEY, ANGELINA COLABELLA, ELLIE DeGEORGE & SARAH VERRASTRO
Angelina: I was in search of a book that would satisfy my desire for the spooky, eerie and mysterious. This period of warm hues, a cozy atmosphere, with flavorful drinks is well-loved.
However, this season’s dark shadow consists of ghosts, horror, and chilling temperatures that instead of comfort, makes your hairs rise and shivers travel through your bones.
I was pleased to read “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater, which checked every box on the list of dark magic perfection.
Four wealthy teenage boys, all with complicated lives, join a girl from a bloodline of witches, fortune tellers, and those who take part in the dark arts.
The young girl, Blue Sargent, is determined to evade males. In her eyes, boys are nothing but careless, nasty juveniles. Especially those from Aglionby, a school full of prima donnas.
All because, since birth, Blue has been told that if she kissed her truelove she would kill them. Since then, she has isolated herself from men.
After noticing the spirit of a Aglionby boy named Gansey, her interest in the rumor grows.
Blue is then intertwined in Gansey’s group of friends and their mission to study the ley lines of Henrietta, Virginia, to find the Welsh king, Glendower; who, when awakened, grants a favor to those who summoned him.
This book did not really amaze me, but it was something different that created a passion to experiment with more books like this one.
I enjoyed the author’s artistic writing, it left such descriptions that my mind enjoyed fantasizing about after reading page after page.
This novel is a great addition to late nights where the sound of pounding rain is like music that accompanies the author’s images of these creative characters and their interesting lives.
I am looking forward to continuing the series in the second book.
Sarah: Tis the season for spooks and mist covered forests. That’s the feeling this book evoked in me. I can smell the moss creeping over trees and feel the fingers of winter walking up my spine. This is a world of kings and psychics, where “arbores loqui latine” – “the trees speak Latin”.
The rustling leaves whisper in your ear and the dead appear before you, as the Pig’s engine stalls while cruising down an abandoned road.
We trail in the wake of four teenage boys, thrown together in an excess of personality; they are, as our dear co-writer Lauren likes to say, “angsty”.
Think “Dead Poets Society”, except their fifth member is a girl constantly rolling her eyes at the sheer magnitude of testosterone.
Good or bad, depending on your point of view, this book gave me a nostalgic, early 2000s feel; the time before technology consumed us, and the simple pleasures of driving alone on the road and walking to the woods were enough for kids to feel free.
The time when we scribbled in journals and researched paranormal books when we were bored of schoolwork.
While the overwhelming waves of nostalgia wash over you, there is also the complexity of both supernatural and human obstacles in life. Dealings with abuse, death, abandonment, and the incoming storm that is the future foretold.
These concepts are weaved together in such a way that makes them feel not so different from our own situations, despite the mystical implications.
This book also paints the complex situation of the rich and the poor in a realistic light. The rich are not always bad people, the poor can make a life for themselves and get into private schools. And they can be friends, too – like Adam and Gansey.
These characters take a stand against stereotypes of all kinds. The jerk can be kind, the social reject can be loving, the girl can wear dresses and be friends with guys.
Overall, this is not the greatest book I’ve ever read, however, it’s perfect for this time of year when school is fresh in session and high schoolers run rampant as the full moon washes over the grass.
It’s a fun read for crisp nights and warm afternoons and I look forward to continuing this journey with the characters.
Lauren: One girl, ordinary in a world of the extraordinary, fated to kill her true love with a deadly kiss. Four boys, one fated to die within the year.
Different lives from different worlds converge in the complex web of Henrietta, Virginia. Unlikely friendships are forged in the powerful fire that is a quest to uncover a long slumbering Welsh King, an endeavor that will take them much deeper than anticipated.
Stiefvater’s writing is able to perfectly embody a spirit of teenage wanderlust, as Blue and her Raven Boys tirelessly search for their elusive Glendower.
Layered is an insufficient word to describe this book, but layered it is. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a series or book with world building as intricate and developed as Raven Boys. Each character has their own unique niche in this magical world, with each fated to play a different role in their quest. As a reader, watching every piece of the puzzle fall into place was astounding, the ultimate “aha moment”.
Personally, what really drew me into the book were the captivating characters. Each character is endearing, but beyond that Stiefvater writes highly redeemable characters with relatable character flaws.
Blue is an eclectic teenage girl, with strong morals and an unconventional world view.
As her only psychic ability is to act as an energy amplifier, Blue often can’t help but feel as nothing more than a tool to other people’s greatness. She’s desperate to matter, to leave Henrietta and make a difference.
Gansey is outwardly charismatic, polite and effortlessly handsome, a poster boy rich kid and politician’s son, but also has a lot going on beneath the surface. He’s idealistic and eccentric, unwavering in his obsessive desire to find Glendower, an act that he hopes will complete him in a way nothing else could. Gansey puts on a happy, charming front while wishing desperately for someone to see past his money and understand the anxious and insecure insomniac underneath.
Adam is a poor kid in a school of the richest of the rich, and feels the constant urge to prove his worth despite his trailer park origins. He would sooner die than accept a handout, and is independent to a fault, valuing his autonomy above all else.
The characters’ deep friendships are tangible, as Stiefvater’s stunning writing fleshes out each character and their relationships, and paints a vivid image every step of the plot.
Follow these lovable friends into the unknown world of long lost Welsh kings, sacrifice, and the unfolding psychic predictions that chip away at the boundaries of true love.
Ellie: Want to read and listen to music at the same time? We crafted the perfect playlist to go with this book and listen to while reading your favorite fall reads! With a mix of autumnal songs and lyrics that flawlessly describe the book, it is an excellent listen while reading on a rainy night. Clink the link, grab the book and take a listen! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5jfZGIlgd8fW4yewV9p6n4?si=8a884222142a40e9