Book Club: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why - either he is her true love or she has killed him. Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower - a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. 

Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour. Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can't imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them? (from Amazon). 

Welcome to the currently-untitled book club review number 1, hosted by myself (Rachel) and my sister Sophie. Our first pick has been Maggie Steifvater's The Raven Boys. The plan is to upload a few blog reviews, and if we can keep it up we may move into vlogs. But we're going to take one step at a time, so please be patient as we figure out how this works. I promise we're not as awkward as we seem. A credit to BookRiot for the inspiration for some of our book club discussion questions. For ease, my answers will be coloured purple, and Sophie's in green to easily differentiate. 

Right, so let's start with question number 1: what did you like best? 
Rachel: what I liked about this story was how supernatural it felt. It wasn't an urban fantasy-style book, despite being set in the real world. There was such a focus on the magic/supernatural element that real-life stuff took a backseat most of the time. Favourite quote: "All this time she'd been wondering how Gansey might die and it turned out she was going to strangle him." 

Sophie: I liked that everyone had a distinct personality, and they interacted suitably with each other. I bought the relationships between the main group. 

2: Which character/characters did you like the best? 
R: Ronan was perhaps my favourite. He seems very prickly and sarcastic, so I think we'd get along. A classic example of Ronan's sharp wit is this: 
"You seem to have an extremely large bag today, My Lynch," Whelk said. 
"You know what they say about men with large bags," Ronan replied. "Ostendes tuum et ostendam menus?"
Gansey had no idea what Ronan had just said, but he was certain from Ronan's smirk that it wasn't entirely polite.
Who else could be a shit in Latin?

S: Adam and Noah. I liked that Noah just kept telling everyone he was dead, and Adam seemed really sweet. Gansey was a bit of an idiot, especially around Blue, but he has a good heart, I think.

3: Which character/characters did you not like? 
R: There wasn't anyone I didn't like, or at least I didn't feel anyone was dead weight in the story. Everyone, even the ones written to not be liked, had a purpose to the plot. Can't say that about every YA book. 

S: Ronan when he was being a douche, which was most of the time. I could get on board with him when he was talking back to the creepy teacher and when he protected Adam. But he's clearly got a lot of issues that he needs to work on.

4: If this was made into a movie, who would you cast? 
R: I'm absolutely terrible at imagining characters correctly, cause I read descriptions and then imagine my own characters anyway. Sometimes they match up, but this particular time they definitely don't. Blue, for example, is described with short black hair and having dark skin like her mother. In my head, she was definitely a redhead and had freckles, so based on my imagined look, I'd cast Erin Kellyman. 

S: I'm bad at imagining actual people when I read, so I usually like to create avatars to help me visualise what I'm reading. I did actually imagine short hair for Blue, and clearly took in the character descriptions, unlike Rachel. 

5: Have you read any of the author's other books? How do they compare?
R: I've actually actively avoided Maggie Stiefvater's books since trying to read Shiver (part of her YA werewolf series) a number of years ago. The few chapters I read were just painful, and I hadn't enjoyed the writing style. It just put me off her work. I'd only really heard decent-to-good things about this series, and it was Sophie's only suggested book for our book club so I was definitely going to give it a chance.

S: No, I haven't read any of her other stuff. However, I have started to read the next book in the series. Already have some issues, but there is potential there. 

6: Which character would you most like to meet? 
R: I think I'd like my fortune told by Blue's family. Perhaps not Neeve - she seems super untrustworthy. Maybe Persephone (cause I love her name). I'd love to have my future told by someone who isn't just talking shit like they do in real life.

S: Adam seems nice, so he'd be the person I would want to meet up with. Maybe Noah. 

7: Would you want to live in this world? 
R: I would love to live in a world of magic and psychics. If I had to live here though, I'd want to be gifted like Blue's family. 

S: it's okay, I guess; it'd be cool if you had magic. But everyone else in the town is just going to school and working, totally oblivious to all this shit that's going down, and then occasionally people die because of crazy people fascinated by ley lines. 

Overall, I'd say this was more successful than either of us thought it would be. With a little bit of a nudge, we can get Sophie to expand her answers a little bit more, and we can get a conversation going. Hope you guys liked attempt number 1 though.

Our next book will be ... (insert drumroll here) Royals by Rachel Hawkins. Hopefully it will be out sometime at the end of the month. Perhaps earlier if we can both finish it before then. 

Thanks very much for reading, and if you think there's a way we can improve let us know in the comments below. Always happy for some constructive criticism. 

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