Blue lives in a house full of psychic women who have been warning her all her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. But she didn’t need that incentive to keep away from the Raven Boys, the privileged and arrogant students of the local private school. Meanwhile, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah are skiving lessons at that very school to chase ley lines and avoid problems at home.
I loved at least 90% of this story. The beginning took a little while to draw me in, and the end was too preoccupied with setting up the sequel, but the rest was very solid indeed. I appreciated that the majority of main characters already believed in the supernatural, so the reader didn’t have to work through their disbelief of the things that were happening to them. While the latter is more realistic, it can get repetitive if you read a lot of urban fantasy.
Style & Pacing
On the whole this book moves pretty slowly, but I was okay with that. It creates a suspenseful and eerie atmosphere, and gives the reader time to get very well acquainted with the characters. When I started reading I was expecting the whole novel to be from Blue’s perspective, so it came as a pleasant surprise to me to find that we also get to hear from Adam, Gansey and Barrington Whelk. It made the story richer to see where people were coming from, especially to hear both Adam and Gansey talk about money.
One of my favourite aspects of this book was the juxtaposition of the fantasic with the deeply, painfully realistic. Adam and Ronan especially have a lot going on in their lives which never becomes less important than the magical things they encounter.
It astonishes me how many characters I was able to keep track of in this book. Every one of them was so distinct and well described that I never even forgot which of Blue’s aunts was which. It’s a cliché to say that they felt real but… they really did. I was especially surprised at how well I related to the four boys, since I often have trouble with books about teenage boys, but not in this case.
Gansey himself sat at an old desk with his back to them, gazing out of an east-facing window and tapping a pen. His fat journal lay open near him, the pages fluttering with glued-in book passages and dark with notes. Adam was struck, as he occasionally was, by Gansey’s agelessness: an old man in a young body, or a young man in an old man’s life.
One day, she would live someplace where she could stand outside her house and see only stars, no streetlights, where she could feel as close as she ever got to sharing her mother’s gift. When she looked at the stars, something tugged at her, something that urged her to see more than stars, to make sense of the chaotic firmament, to pull an image from it. But it never made sense.