“The king sleeps still, under a mountain , and around him is assembled his warriors and his herds and his riches. By his right hand is his cup, filled with possibility. On his breast nestles his sword, waiting, too, to wake. Fortunate is the soul who finds the king and is brave enough to call him to wakefulness, for the king will grant him a favour, as wondrous as can be imagined by a mortal man.”
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is the first installment in the Raven Cycle series, where we follow five teens with special powers on a quest to wake a sleeping king, who will grant a wish to those who wake him. Along the way they must balance school, love and the life ahead of them as young adults in an ever-changing world.
In The Raven Boys, we are first introduced to the five characters, the only girl in the group, Blue Sargaent, is a ‘mirror’, in which she enhances the power of others around her. She lives in a house filled with psychics, which use her capabilities to see into the future. The other boys all go to Aglionby Academy, a private school on the edge of Henrietta. There we meet Gansey, a Kingly son of a republican, who seems old and young at the same time, Adam, a scholarship student with an abusive father, Ronan, the mysterious middle child of three brothers with a terrible past and Noah Czerny, the boy whose never there.
Though the characters seem a lot, the Raven Boys concentrates more to Blue Sargaent’s relationship with two Aglionby boys, Adam and Gansey. In the prologue, we are told that if Blue Sargaent kisses her true love, he will die. We are also told during St.Mark’s eve, where those destined to die in the next 12 months march the Corpse road, she sees Gansey’s ghost. However, from the beginning of the book the love lined that is first established (through real, human interaction) is Blue and Adam. Throughout the book we are kept guessing who Blue’s true love would be, Adam or Gansey.
Although I absolutely love the book, the premise of a “forbidden love” just seems very generic in young adult books, although it works well in this one, it just gives off the wrong impression that the whole book is about the forbidden love.
Another problem I have are the slightly cliché quotes that are occasionally present in the book, for example “She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness.” as well as “She wasn't interested in telling other people's futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.” However as a first book in a series I understand that it must cinch the readers into reading the continuation.
All in all, the novel is a great and interesting introduction into The Raven Cycle series, which I’m absolutely crazy about.