What would you do if you were destined to kill your true love? Blue Sargent, the only non-psychic girl in her family, has been warned of this her whole life. And when she meets a strange group of boys with an incredible secret, she knows this is the year in which it will happen.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is a young adult fiction story set in Henrietta, Virginia. The protagonist, Blue Sargent, becomes involved in the search for an ancient king along with four boys from a prestigious private school, resulting in a complicated mystery while she avoids becoming too close to the raven boys. Although the description implies romance, and lots of it, the story is nowhere near sappy, focusing mainly on the supernatural themes that guide the plot. In my opinion, this book and the ones that follow it are Stiefvater’s best works so far.
One of the virtues of The Raven Boys is that it's beautifully atmospheric. Stiefvater’s attention to detail creates an intricate setting that almost blossoms out of the pages. For example, she writes: “Ferns sprang from rocks and verdant moss grew up the sides of tree trunks. The air itself was scented with green and growing and water. The light was golden through the leaves. Everything was alive, alive.” (Stiefvater, 219) The nuanced mood brings the story to life and pulls the reader in.
Another of the book’s strengths is the characterization. All the characters are described in detail, in such a way that you can almost see them as real people. For example, one of the boys, Ronan, is described here: “As Adam stared at his lap, penitent, he mused that there was something musical about Ronan when he swore, a careful and loving precision to the way he fit the words together, a black-painted poetry.” (Stiefvater, 238) The complex characters interact realistically and undergo changes as the book progresses, revealing themselves bit by bit.
The Raven Boys is one of the most intriguing and complex books that I have read, and I was hooked from the first few paragraphs. Readers should be aware that it does contain strong language and some content that may not be suited for younger children, so read at your discretion. But if you enjoyed it as much as I did, this enchanting mystery will draw you in. Will you dare to walk the corpse roads?