I’ll admit it, I was skeptical when I picked up The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. There has just been so much paranormal romance in YA lately that I didn’t think I could stand another same-old-same-old story of forbidden romance amid spooky stuff. And when I read the publisher description, that’s exactly what I thought it would be: “Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.” It’s true that romance comes into play since it has been prophesied that when Blue kisses her true love, he will die. But the real story is all about friendship. Gansey and his fellow Raven Boys Adam, Ronan, and Noah are on a quest to find the long-lost king Glendower and obtain one wish for uncovering his location. After Blue sees Gansey’s spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, revealing to her that Gansey will die within the next year, Blue joins the quest and comes to find out that Raven Boys aren’t as bad as she thought.
So no, this book isn’t really a “paranormal romance”, it’s an exciting adventure story with twists and turns that will keep you from putting the book down even for a minute. It’s also impossible to not love the characters; each of the characters is complex and interesting all on their own, and their friendship is what really makes the story.
I’m cautious about books that are clearly meant to begin a series, since it seems like the second book in many YA series lately is just boring filler, but I think I enjoyed The Dream Thieves, the second book in the Raven Cycle, even more than the first. I won’t say too much since I don’t want to spoil the first book for you, but I think Ronan Lynch may have become my favorite character in the series. I stayed up way way WAY past my bedtime to finish these books, and I guarantee that you won’t be able to put them down either.