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