Tag Archives: Maggie Stiefvater

Once upon a midnight dreary…

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’s been told that she would kill her true love.”

Raven BoysMy only experience with Maggie Steifvater’s work was with Shiverwhich I thought was a well done teenage werewolf romance, but not really my cup of tea. However, I had heard really great things about her most recent book, The Raven Boys (Scholastic 2012), so I decided to check it out. From the killer first line quoted above, I was hooked.

Blue Sargent is the only non-psychic in a family of psychics, though she does have the talent of enhancing other people’s psychic abilities when she’s around them, which has to suck because you’re constantly being taunted with the power you don’t have.  Blue takes it pretty much in stride even though every psychic she meets tells her that she’s going to kill her true love the first time she kisses him. So like any sensible person who doesn’t want to kill someone, she resolves not to kiss a boy.  Ever. This is easier than you would think until an incident in the graveyard sets in motion the plot of the whole series.  See as the town psychic, one of the ways that Blue’s mother makes money by letting people know if they’re going to die that year. In other stories this would probably be a big no-no, but here it’s a valuable service.  Anyway, she finds out this information because every year the spirits of everyone who’s going to die walk the corpse road (cheery!) and disappears into a church.  Blue tags along every year to do her supernatural battery thing, but has never actually seen a spirit.  Until this year. She spies a teenage boy named Gansey wearing a sweater from the local snooty boarding school and stumbling along the path. Blue is told that the only way a non-psychic could see a spirit is if she’s his true love or the one who kills him.  It’s all very dramatic.

Enter The Raven Boys, so called because of the bird associated with the aforementioned local snooty boarding school.  First you have the supposedly doomed Gansey. Gansey is the charismatic and generous leader of the group who, because of his immense wealth and privilege, doesn’t really understand how most people live and can sometimes come off as condescending, despite his good intentions. After a childhood trauma, Gansey is obsessed with finding the burial place of the lost Welsh king, Glendower who, legend tells it, is merely sleeping and will grant a wish to the first person who finds him. Because he is super loaded, Gansey is considered eccentric not crazy, and his permissive parents indulge him in his little search.  He’s at the snooty boarding school because Glendower is rumored to be buried on a supernatural ley line and one supposedly runs through the town.  If you’re thinking that a ley line sounds an awful lot like that corpse road thing, then you’ve been paying attention.

Along for the ride are Ronan, Adam, and Noah.  Ronan is another Richie Rich who hasn’t been the same since he found his father’s dead body under mysterious circumstances. Gansey is pretty much the only thing that Ronan cares about and Gansey spends a lot of time trying to save Ronan from himself. Adam is the kid from the wrong side of the tracks obsessed with earning the kind of status that Gansey was born in to.  He has multiple jobs, attends snotty boarding school on a scholarship  and thinks that it’s not worth anything unless he does it all himself.  And Noah quietly flits in and out of their lives, yet seems to know everything.

treebeard

Treebeard: another famous talking tree

So Gansey is in a different graveyard on that fateful St. Mark’s Eve and somehow records the conversation between Blue and spirit Gansey. He’s pretty psyched about it because he doesn’t actually realize what the conversation’s about, so he decides to consult the town psychic, aka Blue’s mom. Aah, world’s colliding. Being psychic, Mom knows this is not going to end well and orders Blue to stay away from the Raven Boys. But Blue is sick and tired of being on the outside of the supernatural world looking in and decides to join their merry little band of Glendower hunters. Unbeknownst to them, someone else is also looking for Glendower: the boys’ latin teacher, Barrington Whelk. 7 years prior, Whelk had been an uber-rich student at snooty boarding school but lost it all when his dad got busted by the feds and now he’s desperate to get get all that money and power back. I’m not going to give any of the plot twists or surprises away, but I’ll say that shit gets intense, scary, sad, and at times, really weird.  I mean there are trees that speak latin, y’all.

The plot is really interesting and a new twist in the supernatural genre, which is not easy to do in YA these days, but what really grabbed were the characters. With the exception of evil latin teacher who was just evil, all of the characters were layered and rich and felt real despite the not particularly realistic situation. I also appreciated that despite the Twu Love stuff mentioned above, that the book was more about establishing the relationships between Blue and the boys. Yes, there are hints of the romance(s) to come, but I think it’s important to start caring about the characters as a group before you star slitting them up or pairing them off. There are also a few vague ominous hints about what will happen in the rest of the series, but for some reason it didn’t annoy me like it did with The Diviners. I think it’s because all of the characters were fully fleshed out and involved in the action and the foreshadowing was used sparingly. So instead of turning me off, the book just made me want more.  AND NOW I HAVE TO WAIT LIKE A YEAR FOR THE NEXT ONE.  Ugh, my life is so difficult you guys.

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Blogging on a Phone is Way Harder than you would think.

So I have been trying to blog on my phone, but it just wasn’t happening. The Javits Center is a cell phone death trap that eats your battery and denies you service. However, I am now in the comfort of my sisters apartment in Brooklyn and everyone is thankfully still asleep, even my little niece Ruby.

The past two days have been insane. BEA always is. You walk into Javits and are assaulted by noise, booths and throngs of people. You never know who you are going to meet. I bumped into Flavor Flav and Jane Lynch and Rhymenoverous happen upon Tyra herself. Talk about three names I never expected to use in the same sentence. That is the beauty of this show. You’re just walking around, seeing the sights and then there is William Joyce or Katherine Paterson signing their new books and you geek out a little and possibly gush because you have all of their books and the binding is broken and pages are falling out because you have read them too many times and OH MY GOD WHY DID YOU KILL LESLIE INBRIDGE TO TERABITHIA?! DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT KILLED ME AS A CHILD?! Love the new book though! Big fan right here… Then you run away hoping that they will meet someone more insane than you. That is about the time you run into your sort of cousin, who has the same obscure last name as you, so you know you’re related, especially since she’s a librarian and you both blog, but you’ve only met on Twitter. (Yes, this happened. Hi, Maura!) Not only do you meet her, but you get to put all sorts of faces to Twitter names because there are book bloggers everywhere and it lets you know that there are people in the world outside of the books and blogs, which is nice to remember from time to time. That is why everyone should go to BEA at least once.


Moving on… I tend to get really excited about the books that I find that maybe I hadn’t heard of before. We’ll being doing a whole post on what I brought back from BEA and what we are most hyped about reading, but I do want to tell you about one that I am really excited about called Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (Amulet, August 2011). Amulet is an imprint of Abrams, which is a publisher that I keep falling more and more in love with and hope to review many more of their upcoming books. Peter Nimble is a ten-year-old blind orphan who has taken to a life of thievery. One day he steals a mysterious box that contains three pairs of magical eyes. I am not sure what each pair does, but the copy on the back of the book says that the first pair he tries transports him to a hidden island where he is presented with a quest. Unforgettable swashbuckling adventures ensue. How is that not the most fabulous book EVER?! I can’t wait to dive into it.

We have many more books to tell you about and a few to give away… which brings me to Maggie Stiefvater‘s upcoming book Forever (Scholastic, July 12, 2011). I grabbed an ARC of this at the Scholastic booth and since I’m not really a Maggie Stiefvater fan, I thought that I would share it with you fine people. Leave a comment about why you want or should get the book. The most convincing argument wins… GO!

On that note, have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by!