After I finished this book I was going to give it four stars and claim my own half star rating and give it a 4.5 since I believe no book is ever trulyAfter I finished this book I was going to give it four stars and claim my own half star rating and give it a 4.5 since I believe no book is ever truly perfect. But you know when the timing of when you read a book is just right, the recommendations top notch, and you get the characters and the plot and it's one great ride. So by the end I thought WHY NOT JUST GIVE IT THE WHOLE FIVE STARS BECAUSE DANG!! And also, I had a design instructor who would never give full points on a project even if it was the bomb.com because 01) there was always room for improvement in his eyes and 02) he wasn't the one who made it, so he'd circle back to option 01. Whatever, Mr. Larsson - no one listened to your graphic design lectures by the end of the year anyway. So anyway, sorry, off topic.
Let me just hop-skip into things:
I loved: The descriptions; the relationships between the boys; relationships between Blue and her family; plot line; the humor; and metaphors.
Didn't love: Wished it focused more on Blue's family members; the somewhat one-sidedness of Whelk's character and his random introduction; and the cheesy near-love-triangle romantic aspect and trope of forbidden love (HOWEVER it wasn't that bad).
01) I think a lot of people are on Maggie's case about the typical artistic, loner girl and rich boy falling relationship and it being a forbidden love and there being almost a love triangle between Blue, Adam, and Gansey but you know what? Maggie handles all of this really well. It only dominates the plot a bit at the beginning, but when the characters find out more and more about some of these things, it doesn't take over, and the Everyone. Gets. Shit. Done. And. The. Plot. MOVES. There are a few cheesy moments but Maggie's portrayal of magic, the humor, the good plot, and the characters more than make up for said moments of cheesiness. AND that cheese - may I add - is a 3 oz. fresh mozzarella slice and nothing compared to the stinky limburger barrel cheese appearing in most YA novels that roll over all the great plot opportunities and crush the side characters!
02) There's another thing: side characters. Maggie has them, and they're pretty great. They're not pushed to the background like most sides, and feel almost on par with some of the main characters.
03) And characters in general: I love how she describes them! In just the second chapter I already had a good sense of Gansey and his friends.
"Leaving the door hanging open, Gansey crashed onto the driver's seat." p. 27
I love that it's not just “Gansey SAT in the drivers seat” but "crashed". Even a single word can create a powerful message. That sentence alone helped add some depth to his character. Not only that, but facts about them are easily and fluidly revealed throughout the second chapter: what kind of burger Gansey likes and the fact that he tries to keep tidy but is careless by accident; the fact that Adam's polite (I quickly realized that he was the newer friend and from a humbler upbringing); Ronan doesn't get along with his older brother (*ding ding ding* I smell family issues) and despises his wealth by the ill treatment of his clothing and disinterest in gadgets. In my opinion Maggie's a natural when it comes to revealing information about her characters' personality and appearance. Even when she does it through another character's observation, it's casual and comfortable.
04) The humor in this was witty and had me genuinely cracking a smile and snort-laughing. Things like:
"Listen to you, sounding all badass. I bet you're just listening to a CD called 'The Sounds of Crime' while you cruise for chicks outside the Old Navy in your Camaro." p. 129
When talking about a pet:
"'We have to be back in two hours,' Ronan said, 'I just fed Chainsaw but she'll need it again.' 'This,' Gansey replied, 'is precisely why I didn't want to have a baby with you.'" p. 239
I mean, what a bunch of lovable nerds!
05) Another thing I see people commenting negatively about is their inability to sympathize with "poor rich boy" Gansey. I mean, most of us can't - who here was born into extreme wealth? But there are multiple sides and factors to why he is the way he is ("That's Gansy."). Gansey's upset at Adam for looking at him and seeing his money. That's what a lot of the readers do, too. While he has more to him than just the typical wealthy teenaged boy, his character is a bit too good when compared to his friends. BUT it is insinuated by Blue several times that she sees different sides to Gansey, and the self-assured, smart, pompous one seems like a facade. I think the main issue is that the other boys are so much more messed up than Gansey. I think he just hides it better, and out of the raven boys he's the one with a more supportive family base. But he does have his faults: jumping to conclusions; appearing pompous by not relating very well to others; being a bossy pants. Also though, the kid really tries: more than once his affection and devotion to his friends is shown, he's dealing with some trauma by himself, and he feels responsible for everyone. Add on top of that a school schedule, family and friends' expectations and you're bound to get a pretty frazzled and desperate dude. But the thing is, Gansey doesn't resort to desperation. Instead, he decides to play it safe to keep his friends out of danger.
06) Blue's home life and relationships with her mother, family friends, and aunts add some great depth to her character. While I think the story did justice for the family members that were focused upon, I still wish that more of them could have been introduced. I mean, this girl has a huge family - It would of been cool to see her interact with one of her cousins or anyone her own age that wasn't a raven boy. I realized that in this whole book Blue only ever interacted once with a girl her own age. But who knows what books two and three have in store?
07) The major "itch" I have with this book is Mr. Whelk's character. I felt he was bordering on static, and seeing as he's a teacher to the raven boys, I think his introduction was so random and a wasted opportunity. (view spoiler)[Was he following Gansey later in the book? What are the chances he'd come upon the boy and his broken down car TWICE? I know he had motive but some of it just felt so...shallow? Maybe it's cause I can't relate to a dude who used to be a millionaire, lost it all, and then decided to take it out on a teenaged boy. Oh and also murdered his best friend. Idk, I think if more sides and motives were revealed for his character then I would of liked him more. (hide spoiler)] I think I'm a little off put by Neeve's character as well. But seeing as her character is mysterious and off putting in general, I guess that's not a bad thing. (Plus, I'm sure more will be revealed about her later.)
08) I LOVED the descriptions. JUST: Blue seeing Gansey's journal for the first time and how she observes the information and the way it lays flat cause there's so much paper is glued into it; Gansey's realization that she's watching him as he handles it and feeling like the journal's a part of him. The author's descriptions for the psychics' hands for what they're doing/about to do; the intricate detail of Ronan's tattoo; everyone's appearance and demeanor towards certain situations. Blue talking about how each of her aunt's have different kinds of tarot decks and ways of speaking/raising or not raising their voices. In short, I found the writing kind of beautiful.
IN CONCLUSION: I think I had another point to make but I forgot and I'm running out of time and my bladder's almost full. I also wanted to include more direct quotes from the book but I'm afraid I'd be giving too much away. The Raven Boys was a fun adventure with some use of well handled tropes in a well-thought out, original plot with lovable characters and just the right amount of cheese. It doesn't answer everything by the end and I wouldn't have it any other way; I've read somewhere that a book should never reveal all it's secret. (Plus, I already have the second book on hold.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
DISCLAIMER OF SORTS: As a graphic designer and bibliophile, I admittedly loved this book!! But, I mean, of course I had a few qualms. Back to those laDISCLAIMER OF SORTS: As a graphic designer and bibliophile, I admittedly loved this book!! But, I mean, of course I had a few qualms. Back to those later. My best friend recommended this book to me several times, saying, "I think you'll really like it." while giving me a squinty-eyed knowing look. She's heard me rant endlessly about printing techniques, fonts, and rebranding. The main character, Clay, complains about printing techniques, fonts, and rebranding almost endlessly as well. For someone else it might get a bit tedious and annoying, but I was legit giggling with glee because that's what people do when they feel like their profession is cooler than it really is and they get an extra sense of validation.
Ok, so, QUALMS. My biggest disappointments with this book is the lack of characterization, the somewhat rushed ending (I always hate epilogues), and the fact that Gerritszoon is a fictional font. And ok, yeah, the plot line was predictable and the writing style's a little simple - but whatever, it works. However I was REEEALLLY hoping that this book itself was set in said font. I know it's asking too much for an author to fully create a fictional typeface for the sake of just one book, but man it would of been so cool.
1) Clay was a bit boring as a character. If it weren't for our kindred designer spirits, idk what I woulda done with this dude. Who's his family? Does he have any family? How did he end up living in San Fransisco? What are his interests outside of typefaces, re-reading the Dragon Song Chronicles (also fictional) from his childhood, and collecting a genius, artistic posse that's more interesting than him?
2) Clay's best friend, Neel, is as dorky as he is...though he's a person of color and more fit and attractive, as well as a self-made millionaire through creation of his own human body simulation program. But that's ok, he won't steal the spotlight from the main character because said program started out with simulating the most realistic breasts in show biz. So naturally anywhere Neel goes he has to talk about boobs. I MEAN COME ON...
"...he immediately proposes a Cal Knit exhibit that will have, as its focus, the way boobs look in sweaters." p. 267
3) Clay's awkwardness around a single, cute girl; he and Neel's preference for using each others LARPing usernames as part of their ultimate broship; and Neel's obsession with boobs all makes their characters feel like pubescent teenage boys rather than men in their mid twenties. Also a lot of the older characters felt similar, and the characters overall were pretty one dimensional. For once could one of Clay's friends have an issue with assisting him on wild goose chases? Like "Nah man I can't help you steal that book next week, I have a dentist appointment." Do these people even have real lives? JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BRILLIANT THAT DOESN'T EXEMPT YOU FROM SOCIETAL NORMS!! And put down the kale drink for once.
4) Which brings me to Kat. She works at google. She's conveniently placed so that she can offer amazing resources for Clay's gain. She's the ultimate cool, smart, pretty dream girl of Clay's dreams yet she's completely one dimensional.
5) Speaking of Google, I'm pretty sure Sloan is in love with it.
6) You know I was in San Fransisco for the first time this year. Visited pier 22, the Golden Gate bridge, the Fullhouse house. Had some of the best bubble tea IN MY LIFE, and some good thai food for lunch. Checked out the amazing art museum and some cool parks. But the way Sloan writes it, you'd think all there was to do in San Fran was hit up rock climbing gyms.
7) I thought this sentence was funny...
"If fidgets were Wikipedia edits, I would have completely revamped the entry on guilt right now, and translated it into five new languages." p. 80
8) At first I was like "All these books point to a source that holds this man's complete thoughts so that they can 'install' them into another man and he can live forever!" I guess I'm still thinking about the recording man from Angelmaker (creepy, cool, totally unrealistic...but so cool). The ending became predictable pretty early on, but, like...(view spoiler)[it's been 500 years and no one could crack that? It was clever but not that clever...ya'll trippin' if it took you that long to realize it. (hide spoiler)]
IN CONCLUSION: Once again, I'm biased. As a designer; as a bibliophile; as a complete and utter sucker for stories about old libraries, secret societies, and over-the-top schemes. The exploration between the old world and new was kind of fun and cheeky, and I get what Sloan's pointing at with his conclusion. Overall it was an easy, quick read that hit the spot, though the characters made that spot sore at times. Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore has now made me set my expectations as a graphic designer really high. I won't be satisfied until I can use my skills for a secret organization dealing with extreme cryptic autobiographies. (I'm half serious). Personally, it was the perfect easy and fun story to get me out of a slight reading slump. In the end, Sloan's message is clear: we live on in the things we leave behind. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Much of it was obvious and it got boring after a while. I kind of liked it at some parts but only because I expected it to be worse. The author obviouMuch of it was obvious and it got boring after a while. I kind of liked it at some parts but only because I expected it to be worse. The author obviously hadn't done her homework on space travel, the ending was ridiculous and, as usual, Elder's and Amy's relationship was sped up, which leads me to believe they're only together because Amy has no one else to turn to. I actually think she would have been better with Elder's painter best friend. It was a little freaky and interesting how the whole population was being controlled, but you'd think more people would slip through the cracks and figure out what's going on. You can't control people to that degree and not have repercussions. Either they'd start having brain damage or they'd eventually figure out what's going on and start a revolt.
Little thing: I don't understand why Amy calls her father "daddy" when, at the beginning of the book, she speculates on how she hadn't called her mother "mama" in years, ever since she was young. It's just weird and makes me feel like she's more oddly attached to her father than her mother, though she's constantly upset over the fact that she can't be with both of them and says she needs them both. It's a minor thing, but I just don't understand why the author decided to do that. Amy being upset when she was first woken up makes sense, but after a while her thoughts and actions got a bit annoying. She kept yo-yo-ing back and forth and she didn't really have any character development. And Elder frustrated me at times, especially the end. People are right when they say he's thinking more with his pants than his head....more
*sigh* The relationship between Solo and Eve is moved along too fast; Adam is so ridiculously hot that everyone in a room stops to stare at him (in a*sigh* The relationship between Solo and Eve is moved along too fast; Adam is so ridiculously hot that everyone in a room stops to stare at him (in a hospital, really?!); Eve's BFF is there only to move the plot along and involve everyone into the dangers and troubles of her loser drug dealing boyfriend's life, Solo knows how to beat up gang member bad guys but apparently he only "sometimes" leaves the "Spiker prison" so it's beyond me how he could be so smooth and put together after a situation like that. His character was really, really odd to me. He's obviously alone, only having online friends. Yet he seems to live a pretty comfortable life at Spiker pharmaceuticals, but he hates Eve's mother with a passion and apparently has been planning for years to take her down. He switches between being lonely and scared and just when you start feeling pity for him, then he's smooth and badass and going "undercover" and kicking people's butts. Whatever. And Eve is not at all curious as to why her leg is doing so fine, and her mother is a HBIC who isn't even a tad bit afraid when a gun's pointed at her (I'm all for strong female characters but this one isn't strong - instead, she's flat and lacks characteristics). Also, the book switches between Solo's and Eve's POVs, but they don't sound different. They have the same type of humor and same thought processes. Though Solo is supposed to be the wronged good guy, I just don't understand why he thinks Eve's checking him out while they're in the ambulance together, her having just had her leg reattached and on morphine. Who sees that as an ok thing to think about at a time like that? Seriously? She didn't even know who he was; she wanted him gone, she wasn't checking him out. Ugh. ...more