The Raven Boys Book Review

Ah, The Raven Cycle, a series I’ve visited quite a few times. To date, I’ve never been able to finish this pesky series, and I’ve never really known why. In an effort to find out, let’s take a look back to the very first time I picked up Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

This is one of those series that delivered itself, in a neatly wrapped package topped with a bow, to the top of my TBR list, courtesy of social media and stellar reviews. I was starting to feel that in order to keep my reputation of being a bibliophile intact, I had to read this series.

Around a year ago, I started to read the Raven Cycle series. This first book did not disappoint, and I have never once faltered in this opinion during my re-read. However, the second book posed more of a challenge. I could not get into it for the life of me and over time, I gradually came to except that it was never going to happen. We were syrup and waffles, reader and book. Two things many firmly believe ought to be together, but I just couldn’t stomach.

Time passed, and somehow, the mysterious and mystic Raven Cycle series was yet again in my hands, waiting to be read. I gritted my teeth, this time determined to finish this series and know, once and for all, if it really was worth all the hype. This time, fueled by determination and, I’ll admit, more than a little love for Maggie Stiefvater’s writing, I made it through the first two books. Unfortunately, this is where I came to a halting stop; I was unable to get into the third book. The last half of the second had taken too much energy and I was ready to go back to a more enjoyable read. I’m hoping this isn’t where it ends for me, halfway through the adventure that encompasses the raven boys. I loved the first book so much, a part of me sincerely hopes the Raven Boys will prevail. Here’s to just about the longest intro ever, so without further ado, my review on book #1 in the Raven Cycle Series.

First off, the descriptions in this book blew me away. I actually started looking for elite boarding schools I could join, or googling pictures of  Henrietta, Virginia just to see if I could experience even a crumb of its beauty through the computer screen. Maggie Stiefvater picked me up and took me to a world I never wanted to leave. It was full of magic and mystery, freedom and friends. Her world building was phenomenal and intricate, more tightly woven than… whatever the weaver wove from all her human hair.

It wasn’t an all-at-once information dump, but instead falling into Stiefvater’s version of Henrietta was slow and sweet, filled with excellently timed elements she used to introduce her characters.  My love for the cast was strong and determined from the beginning. The raven boys were simply irresistible with their unorthodox spirits and character arcs. Gansey is the embodiment of every teenage dream: smooth, sweet, and swoon-worthy. Blue is the true essence of confidence in oneself and following one’s intuition. Adam is a workaholic with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Ronan is, well, sharp. Noah is a pumpkin, sweet, but not always around. These characters make up the heart and soul of the book. Their character development is so exquisitely detailed, it’s hard not to fall in love with them all. The only character who I feel needs more representation in this department is Noah. Out of the entire group of friends I felt like I knew Noah the least. Additionally, I felt like the pages were lacking some quality Orla time as well. Even though she is only a supporting character, she should have a  more solid foundation than a paper thin (haha) personality and background. The POV switches were done tastefully and were artfully incorporated into the overall plot, adding depth to the story instead of length to the page count. The book was, by the way, a very enjoyable length, an easy read for a few days.

What differentiates this book from most YA novels, in my opinion, is the romance. It doesn’t strangle the plot but instead adds a realistic flare as Blue negotiates the rollercoaster most teenagers face in their adolescence. Her relationship is not overpowering in a way that deters the course of the book or portrays young girls as desperate and obsessive. Instead, we see her enter and exit a myriad of emotions as she juggles her pre-held accusations, surprising desires, and the fear that comes with her own giddy innocence. not to mention the prophecy that predicts her lover’s death, all while withholding her own values and goals. It’s truly an impressively balanced book, romance-wise. With that said, I would’ve liked to have seen a deeper emotional understanding of the relationship. The events that Blue and her troupe faced were monumental and very intense for such young characters. In response, it would’ve been more realistic if we had seen how these actions and decisions truly affected the thought processes of them. Every action has an effect, no matter how small, and I would’ve loved to have seen how that played into the decisions and anxiety Blue feels later on.

One thing I did find unrealistic, however, was the amount of freedom the main characters had to tramps around with. Adult supervision is almost nonexistent, which may be appropriate in some cases due to the fact that Gansey, Ronan, and Noah live on their own. Still, the overall lack of guidance is extremely underdone.


All in all, TheRaven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is a thrilling, mystical tale with a wise and witty tone behind it. I definitely recommend giving the series a try! And if you’ve already read the book… does anyone else really want to know a real-life Persephone, too? She seems like such a neat and eccentric person I’d love to have a conversation with! Nope? Just me? Okay. Anywho, 5 out of  5 stars!!

Throne of Glass

Hey guys! I thought I’d make my magical reappearance today, which just happens to be the day after my birthday! I’m sorry for the absence, I’ve just been settling into a new town, a new school, and a new home. I hope you all are well!

Recently I read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas for the first time. I know, I know. You may be thinking: “How have you not read that yet?” Well, the answer is simple: I don’t know. Months ago, Ky and I were in a bookstore in Phoenix and she made me buy this book. It took me forever to get to it. I was going down my list of unread books and, since that was beginning another series, I waited a while. Then, since my creative writing teacher makes us read a book every month and my friends kept screaming at me, I finally started the book about a month ago. Sadly, due to my busy schedule and my recent reading slump, I only finished it the day before my book review was due. Honestly, I wish I had more time to enjoy it.

As most Sarah J. Maas books are, Throne of Glass was absolutely amazing. It follows a girl named Calaena Sardothien, a trained assassin who has spent the last year in a prison camp called Endovier. One day, the Crown Prince, Dorian, sends for her to compete to be the King’s Champion. She accepts the offer and heads to the palace to go up against other famous criminals, all looking for freedom after serving the King for four years. However, shortly after she arrives, her competitors slowly begin to die off, being found half-eaten by a mysterious animal. Now she must not only compete to become Champion, but also avoid being killed by this odd creature she knows nothing about.

Now, let’s get started.

Storyline: I love this book because of how creative it is. It is obvious that Sarah likes faeries, which is something I’ve dabbled in writing myself. She is way better at it than I am, by the way. Anyway. The whole point of being an assassin seemed kind of mainstream to me, but adding in the whole King-of-assassins thing was a very good move. The small peeks into Calaena’s backstory showed enough to explain some things, but were still reserved enough to maintain a sense of mystery. I’m excited to learn more about my favorite assassin’s past.

Characters: These characters are easy to fall in love with, but they still have many flaws.. Let’s start with Dorian. His snarky attitude and scandalous reputation are pretty basic, I’ll be honest. But Maas definitely made it work. The young prince of Adalarn is charming, feisty, and flirtatious, all qualities you’d think would lead to his character falling under the basic bad-boy archetype; but fear not, there is more depth to our beloved Dorian. I think that watching him fall in love made me look past his stereotypical rebellious outside and into his sweet and kind-hearted inside. But I must say, when he gives Celaena a puppy, that is very cliche and annoying.

Now, onto Chaol. The Captain of the Guard is seemingly rock-hard and emotionless at first glance. Yet when you get to know him better, he is really just a softie who gives pretty girls rings in the middle of the night while trying not to blush. He’s embarrassingly adorable. He’s protective and smart and encouraging, all things I look for in a partner of my own. But he’s missing one critical detail: a sense of humor. I hear that he gets better later in the series, but in this book, he doesn’t even laugh. It’s almost like he’s inhuman. I don’t know why, but I just find his lack of happiness and closed-mindedness unrealistic.

Alright, now it’s time for our lead lady: Celaena. She’s hot, she’s closed off, she’s badass. Yeah. The stereotypical female protagonist. She’s got the tragic backstory. She’s got the strict yet caring mentor. She’s got the near-death experiences. Okay, what else? Well, I’ll tell you what else: she is basically inhuman. How in the world does anyone go from a year in a legit death camp to happily bouncing around, adorned in frivolous gowns, not a mental scar to show? What the heck? Are you emotionless? Have you blocked out every memory of getting whipped? I’m pretty sure I’d be traumatized for at least a month after that. It might just be me, but that transition was unnatural. That was nagging at me the whole time I read the book. Frankly, her motivations were kind of annoying. Would you not want revenge against the person who put you through all of this pain? I would, but Celaena’s motivation is to work for him. Yes, I understand the freedom-after-four-years thing, but still: to work for your enemy. To kill his enemies, who may be on her side. The King is a cruel man, and I wouldn’t want anything to do with him, even if I did get free after a few years. Celaena is hard to relate to, but I’m sure her decisions will make sense in the end.

Storytelling: Sarah J. Maas has a way with words. I admire her thorough descriptions; it’s almost like I’m witnessing everything the characters are. Her imagery is incredible. When she explained the palace, I was in love. I was somewhat thrown off by the gaps in the time frame, like between tests, but it really wasn’t a big deal. I would’ve enjoyed more suspense and foreshadowing, but all in all, she had a lot of literary elements that I love.

Voice and Point of View: Sarah J. Maas uses what I describe as a formal voice. She is not conversing with her readers, nor does she use a more casual language. That is my favorite voice to both read and write, and it really worked well with this story. Also, her way of writing in the third person is astonishing. I’m writing my first third-person story currently, and I will definitely be taking a few tips from her. I adore how even though we aren’t seeing the story from the characters’ eyes, we can still understand them and know what they are thinking. Her style changes with each character, and to do that is impressive.
Alright, my friends. I suppose that’s all I have to say, for now. In total, this book is a great read and I can’t wait to get the rest of the series. I give Throne of Glass four out of five stars. Have a great day!