The Raven Boys // A strange & intriguing YA fantasy

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

What I Liked

  • I liked the relationships between Gansey, Ronan, and Adam. It was interesting to see the characters respond to the events in the book, and to see how the events impacted their relationships.
  • The plot kept me guessing. To be absolutely honest, I had no idea what was happening for about 75% if the book… but I was always curious about what was going to happen next.
  • Related to that, several major plot twists took me by surprise.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I wish I had a deeper understanding of the supernatural and the fantastical elements of the story. The plot revolved around finding the ley line and reviving Glendower which was supposed to grant a wish, but how would this happen? How did it work? There wasn’t much explanation around this. It all seemed vague and fuzzy.
  • I didn’t really get a sense of Blue’s personality nor the chemistry in her relationships with the Raven Boys.
  • I couldn’t get used to the writing style. The dialogues seemed forced.

The Bottom Line: 3/5 stars

Overall, the Raven Boys was an enjoyable read that kept me intrigued. However, I wish there was more explanations about the mechanics of the ley line, and the writing style was just not right for me.

Have you read The Raven Cycle? What did you think? What are signs of great world building in a fantasy book?

31 Replies to “The Raven Boys // A strange & intriguing YA fantasy”

  1. This is definitely one of the stranger series I have ever read 😂 For me this series grew on me as it went on– I think the last two are my favourites.
    I can see why it isn’t for everyone and why you would want more explanations of the mechanics of it all. It was definitely a character driven story for me. Interesting to hear your thoughts on it 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes strange is how I would describe it! I did hear from another blogger that the series gets better, and it’s great to hear that you feel the same way and that it grew on you over time. I wasn’t going to continue reading the series but I could be convinced 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes haha!! 😂 Yeah it definitely grew on me especially the characters!! Maybe– I know I am glad I continued reading it but obviously it’s up to you. Maybe when your in the mood for a stranger read you could try the next one haha!! 💛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So far I have been hearing encouraging things about the rest of the series so I am leaning towards continuing it 🙂 I am a mood reader, so I’ll wait to see when I am in the mood for the second book!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review, Sophie! I understand the confused feeling about this book overall and how everything actually… works, haha. to be honest, even if I read all of the series, I couldn’t quite explain the technicalities of it all, it all feels quite, abstract, I guess. I personally fell in love with the writing style and the overall atmosphere anyway, but I get that this can be frustrating at times :/ Do you think you’ll go on with the series? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Marie!!
      Wow I’m glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t completely understand the ley line and how everything works haha. Yes! Abstract is the word I would use as well!
      I wasn’t going to continue the series but I’m thinking about giving it another chance 🙂 although there are things I disliked about this first book, it did keep me intrigued 🙂
      Thanks Marie!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed this book Sophie, though it’s a shame you struggled to connect to either Blue’s character or her relationship with the Raven Boys. I feel like the books do get better as the series goes on. I was a little so-so about the first book, I enjoyed it but didn’t really get all the hype surrounding the series, until I read the second book. There’s more of the supernatural element in The Dream Thieves.
    Do you plan on reading the rest of the series? Hopefully if you do you’ll enjoy it more. 🙂
    Great review, 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Beth! That’s good to hear that the series gets better. I think it’s really the writing style that I wasn’t used to. I also couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of the ley line and how it works. Glad to hear that it gets better as the series goes on. I wasn’t planning on reading the rest of the series but maybe now I might? 🙂
      Thanks Beth ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hopefully if you do decide to pick up the second book one day (yeah I’d recommend carrying on with the series, it was only really with book two I fell completely in love with the story and the characters) you’ll be able to get into the writing style and world building properly.
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Awh, I read this series in high school; it’s a little nostalgic to find it pop up on my feed! I think I read the first and second book. I always meant to finish the series but college and whatnot happened, haha.

    I may have to pick the series back up and find out how it ended!

    I do remember reading another book series by Maggie Stiefvater, I think it was, The Wolves of Mercy Falls. I liked reading this series at the time, it was a bit interesting to read as well if you stumble across them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Stephanie 🙂
      Yes I love the nostalgic feeling of hearing or reading about a book from a while ago. I haven’t gotten to the end of the series yet, but still I hope that you will enjoy the rest of the series 🙂
      I haven’t heard of The Wolves of Mercy Falls before but I will keep an eye out for that one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Stefanie 🙂 Yes I’ve definitely heard a lot of hype about this series which is why I decided to read it. So far I am with you in that this doesn’t make it on my re-read list 🙂


  5. I’ve heard about The Raven Boys since… well, it seems like forever. Judging from your review & what I’ve heard of the book, it seems like something I would have adored when I was in middle school, but with my reading tastes now, I’m not sure. I guess the only way to find out would be to read the series myself 😊 Thank you for this review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Zoie 🙂
      I’m with you there! If I was younger, I might enjoy this book more. Right now it is just a bit too strange for me haha.
      Our reading tastes change over time and I think it makes sense to read whatever we feel like at the moment 🙂 The important thing is to enjoy what we’re reading, right?
      Thank you Zoie ❤


  6. I love this series! I totally understand your dislikes, though, and I still can’t quite get a read on Blue (I never connected to her as other readers seem to). I love magical realism and read a lot of it, so I guess that I’m use to the confusion. Sorry that the book wasn’t for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just finished the fist book in this series and I loved it, but like you I have way too many questions unanswered. I actually had to google the meaning of the last sentence because I didn’t get it, haha. But I can’t wait to read the second book to understand the whole thing better; I just hope the author won’t leave me guessing until the last book XD. It was really different from anything I’d read in this genre.

    Yeah, Blue was just kind of living in the shadow of her mother and aunts. What she wants is never really clear haha. I much prefer characters that make things happen! That’s why Gansey and Ronan were my faves! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that you loved the first book! I haven’t decided whether or not to continue this series however I know there are many fans of the series, so hope that you’ll enjoy the other books as well 🙂
      Yes I am a fan of characters who are motivated and driven as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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