I came across The Raven Boys many times and in many places: local libraries, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and amazon.com, which did everything in its power to add the book to my shopping cart, but I resisted because….I have a confession to make…..I judged a book by its cover.
I know, I know. It’s one of the biggest sins a book fanatic can make, but hear me out. I took one look at that huge raven on the cover and thought, “Oh great, another book that somehow connects to, resurrects, or explains the life of Edgar Allan Poe. No thanks!” I could not have been more wrong, but in my defense, this is Baltimore, Maryland where Poe once lived, where Poe is buried, and where Poe fans from all over the world flock to see his one-time home and his permanent resting place. I mean, we have the only professional sports team actually named in honor of a literary work. I myself have volunteered at countless Poe events and, frankly, have grown just a tad tired of Mr. Poe and all his ravens, so using what, at the time, I thought my was better judgment, I avoided the book.
But sometimes fate intervenes. I was walking the aisles of my local library, trolling for books as I often do when there it was again, that damn raven. Fine, I thought, I’ll pick it up and as soon as I read Poe or The Raven in the blurb, it is going right back on the shelf.
Well, readers, I am sure you reached the same conclusion I did: I’m an idiot! Not only is this book not about Poe, it doesn’t even mention him and, more importantly, it is a fast, fresh read, and I loved it. In the end, I was absolutely kicking myself for not reading this book sooner, all because of some stupid, misleading aversion to ravens, which I naturally blame on old Eddie Poe and the City of Baltimore!
Stiefvater’s book revolves around Blue, a non-psychic living in a family of clairvoyants, Gansey, an elite teen obsessed with finding the resting place of Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr, Ronan, an angry teen reeling from his father’s murder, Adam, a guy who lives in a trailer park but works his way through the most expensive, elite prep school he can find, and Noah, the quiet friend who rarely says a word. Together, the five search for a way to awaken the ley lines and find the sleeping Glyndwr in the hopes of earning fame and the favor that legend holds Glyndwr will grant to the one who awakens him.
As soon as I read the name Owain Glyndwr, I was hooked. If I could be anywhere in the world, it would be at a castle ruin in Wales. I love that nation. I love its people, its history, its culture. I have visited many places that Owain Glyndwr was said to have fought at or passed through, so knowing that he was the sleeping king Gansey hoped to find made my fingers turn those pages at a speed-reading pace, but it isn’t just references to Wales that made this book such a good read. I loved Stiefvater’s characters and the style in which she revealed information about their pasts and what had shaped them into the individuals they were. It was like slowly being let in on big secrets as I read. She didn’t dwell on big reveals, but moved on quickly to the next clue in the search or the next problem that would arise. I also liked how the last line of the book produced an out loud “Wait. WHAT?” from me. I’m not sure you can imagine my relief that book two had already been released and was a mere “click” away thanks to Amazon!
The Raven Boys was my first Stiefvater read, but I am remedying that with The Dream Thieves and will be picking up The Scorpio Races ASAP. The Raven Boys is an excellent read even if you don’t love Wales but do love Poe. Either way, grab a copy and fall in love with Blue and the boys of Aglionby Academy.