Book ReviewThe Raven Boys

Reviewer's Rating: 
I don't need my money back but I'm willing to prop a door open with this one.
Scholastic Press, 2012

BOOK ONE: RAVEN CYCLE. 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.

There is a vein of gothic/horror novels being published in the young adult area of reading.  I believe this is a branch out from the dystopia/apocalyptic popular books and after enjoying Sara Rees Brennan's Lynburne Legacy series, thought I'd give the goths another go, but a little goth goes a long way.

You all know my standpoint in general with my reading selections - life is deep enough so I like some levity in my personal time with books.  At first, this book reads like a gothic Juliet and Romeo.  Blue, our main gal, cannot kiss her true love or he will die - talk about a protective parent's dream!  Ahem.  Parents aside, Blue meets her Romeo but even by the end of the book is nowhere near kissing anybody's true love.  There is next to zero romance in this book but I assume book two will walk that path stronger.

As the book progressed, it sunk deeper into murky black for me.  Romeo, or Gansey, felt the pressure of leading his ragtag group of misfits.  I felt tired right alongside him.  In fact, every character felt tired to me, or depressed, or conflicted and there was nothing to balance any of this darkness.  There was no comic relief character or even the romance line to make me smile at the conclusion.

The writing itself was well done.  There is an intensity of drive in each of our characters, as though their wheels are spinning and they just don't know where to steer themselves.  The plot pulls them willingly or unwillingly as the case may be into places unknown and keeps the pages turning in a snappy fashion for us.

But overall, I was just plain glad when I finished this book and no, I don't think I'll be continuing in the series.  Too goth, or dark for my tastes.

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