The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Synopsis for the first book, from Goodreads
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.
Series rating: ★★★★★
The Raven Boys (4.5 stars, rounded to five)
Honestly all I can say about this book is that it was everything I wanted that I didn’t know I needed.
I loved everything about this book and I’m having a hard time reviewing it other than saying that about everything.
I loved the characters. I mean, I have not cared for a group of characters more than I care for this group in a long time. If I was in the business of having bookish boyfriends, Richard Gansey would be #1. Stiefvater is just so talented at writing good, well-developed characters who continue to develop throughout the series. I also love all the adult women in this book, and love how we get an array of women. Yay for developed female characters!
I also loved the plot. I love the psychic and magical realism elements of it and thought they were super interesting. The bit about Blue and her true love is much less important in this book than the synopsis might lead you to believe, so just know that going in. I will say, I think Rachel said in her review that this seemed like a prologue to a longer story, and I totally agree. There is a plot, but there’s also a lot of exposition and explaining that happens, so you’d definitely need to continue the series after this one.
I also loved the setting!! Small town Virginia is such a cool setting! And throughout the whole series, we get to see more of the town, and I really enjoyed that.
If you’re thinking of reading this book, I would highly recommend the audiobook! They’re on Spotify, and the narrator does such a great job bringing each character to life.
But overall, I have nothing else to say about this book except that I loved it sososo much.
The Dream Thieves (4.5 stars, rounded to five)
Wowowow I loved this book!!!! It might be a tie between the first two books of the series for which is my favourite.
Once again, the characters are so good. I especially loved how we got to learn more about Ronan in this book. This is very much a book about Ronan, and I was not mad about it. He’s such a great and interesting character, and I love him with my whole heart and will protect him.
My thoughts on the rest of the characters:
- Adam in this book! Breaks my heart.
- Helen Gansey is the love of my life, so jot that down.
- I would die for Blue/Gansey.
- Listen, Maura falling in love with a hit man? we love that for her.
- The part where Mrs. Gansey discreetly reads about Adam’s amnesia on her phone? That was the most relatable part of this book because that’s 110% something my mom would do
I think I liked the plot of this book more than the first one. Ronan’s ability is just,,,,, so good and interesting? I loved exploring it and would happily read about it (or listen to it, since I’m listening to the audiobooks) for 1,000 pages. I also felt like the overall plot advanced more in this book, which was good, too.
Once again, the audiobook narrator did such a great job, and I cannot recommend them enough.
I don’t really have any criticisms of this book. All I can say is that I loved it and will happily reread it in the future.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (4 stars)
This was probably my least favourite book in the series, but take “least favourite” with a grain of salt because I still loved it!
I think it was my least favourite because the plot didn’t really seem to move anywhere at any pace. It seemed like a lot of random, unimportant scenes thrown together. Which I’m not complaining about, but it did disrupt the flow a bit.
But we got so many good scenes! So many Blue x Gansey scenes that just make my heart melt! So many scenes of Blue with other characters that made my heart melt. Scenes of Ronan and Adam, or Ronan and Declan. I just loved it.
Jesse Dittley is my new favourite side character, too. ALSO, about Piper. Listen, I know she’s the worst, but I can’t help but love her. I mean, the very first scene we meet her, she’s in a pink bra and cutting a mango. She’s iconic and I love her and will defend her.
My one criticism of this book is that I think Mallory was unnecessary. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually do anything that pushed the plot forward, and if he was removed, nothing would change.
The Raven King (4.5 stars, rounded to four)
Depending on where you began the story, it was about…
I loved this ending! I don’t want it to end but I loved it!
I thought this one was a bit slow to start and took forever to get to where it was going. I didn’t necessarily mind it and I don’t want anything to be taken out, but it was slow.
I loved Adam in this book. I loved Cabeswater in this book too, which might seem weird if you haven’t read the book but I feel like you’d understand if you have. It was just so good. I loved Ronan and Adam in this book. I love Blue and Gansey, and when everyone finds out about them. I love the psychics.
I will say, I’m not the biggest Henry fan, BUT he grew on me. I love and appreciate him as a character, it just seemed like he was replacing Noah. Like, Noah was the fourth boy in the first two books, and then Stiefvater needed to get rid of him, so she wrote Henry to replace him. So I liked Henry, just not as a Noah replacement.
I loved the ending. I had to lie in bed and cry while listening to the last couple of chapters because my roommate was home.
Final bulleted thoughts on the series
- I haven’t loved a cast of characters like this in a while. There literally is not a character I didn’t like.
- The plot, while slow, is fantastic and intriguing and full of magic.
- The audiobook is amazing and I highly recommend it.
- Found family? Check.
- Slow burn, mutual pining, forbidden love? Check.
- Bitchy yet lovable characters? Check.
- Interesting magic? Check.
- Good setting? Check.
I know I didn’t give any of the books five stars, but the whole series gets five stars.
In conclusion, please read this series if you haven’t yet. If you’re hesitant about it, I’d highly recommend the audiobooks, they’re amazing. If you like found families and slow burn romance and slight touches of magical realism, this one is for you!
I will 100% be rereading these books in the future (I’m buying my sister the first one for Christmas).
But those are just my thoughts! What about you? Have you read this book? Do you plan on it? Let me know!