Title: The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue & The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #1-4)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Purchase: The Raven Boys | The Dream Thieves | Blue Lily, Lily Blue | The Raven King
❝ From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.❞
Recently I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, where nothing seemed appealing or interesting enough. For someone who usually reads so avidly, these slumps are incredibly frustrating and sometimes hard to get out of. Mine ended the moment I finally decided to pick up The Raven Boys and hasn’t returned since. I’ve finished all four books in the Raven Cycle series in a couple of weeks, they’re that amazing.
There are so many aspects that make this book series appealing, but for the sake of this review I’ll pick out a few things that really stand out. First and foremost, its appeal lies in the plot and setting. Fantasy is perhaps one of my favorite genres and its wonderful to read about new worlds that differ so greatly from the world we know. However, The Raven Cycle is interesting because it takes place in a world we do know, while at the same time being more. One the one hand it features your average small town, while on the other hand the story also contains just the right amount of magic and otherworldliness, with mentions of not quite dead people, psychics, dreamers and magicians. And though the amount of magic does increase over the course of the books, the connection with our world is always present and I love that.
The plot is enhanced greatly by Stiefvater’s writing. Her writing really flows and she describes things so detailed and beautifully, that you’re instantly transported in your mind to the town of Henrietta. The world building is great and the books contain an endless amount of interesting and beautiful quotes worth remembering.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this series are the characters though. The books switch between multiple point of views. Despite the fact that this might not be for everyone and is always subject to personal taste, I think it works really well here. This is mainly because the characters are all different and interesting in their own right and all have stories to tell. They are not at all like one another, which is something that sometimes happens especially in the Young Adult genre. While I started reading the first book, I merely thought that the characters were interesting, but I did not feel much for them. However, over the course of the books they got so fleshed out that I fell in love with each and every character. The main characters especially are multidimensional individuals with life stories, virtues and flaws, but in my opinion all secondary characters were interesting too. In addition, the different kinds of relationships between characters were also explored, which make these books so much more than a simple telling of a plot.
If all of this hasn’t convinced you that these books are great, here are some extra reasons to read them: plot twists, fast cars (which is cool even if you’re not really a big fan of cars like myself), funny moments, use of Latin, feminism and LBQT representation, amongst other things.
Coming from someone who doubted the appeal of these books for years, pick up the first book and give it a go! I’ll be patiently waiting for the Ronan-centered book series and the tv adaptation of The Raven Cycle, which I pray they do justice because these books deserve it!