It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
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Look. It’s one of those books that was all over booktube when I first started getting into the whole community and the hype put me off. Just another paranormal romance, whatever, right? My curiosity was piqued though, and I finally caved and went in totally blind. Book, you had me at “If you kiss your true love, he’ll die.” Well, that and the whole raven obsession because corvids may just be my favourite animal. I digress.
The writing sucked me in and Blue’s psychic family kept me engrossed through a lot of the first third of the novel. The whole family dynamic was impressive and the magical aspects of their day job came across as nothing if not… totally plausible. It’s like this book is the antithesis to every bad paranormal book you’ve ever read. Everything that happened, and there’s a lot of crazy things that go down especially towards the end there, seemed well thought out and never overly dramatised. Reading the story was a totally immersive experience. An immersive and unique experience. For one, psychics are crazy under used in the paranormal genre in my opinion, especially those psychics who just kind of get on with things like the Sergant women seem to. And secondly, ley lines. Yes. And thirdly, a NED KELLY mention? Consider me sold.
So what struck me most about the book was how even though Blue is the main character (and what a great main character she is. Though I am kind of sick of every YA protagonist wearing quirky DIY outfits.) the whole book is about THE RAVEN BOYS. And a lot of the time it’s not even about how Blue fits in with them, it’s all Raven Boys all the time. While I was interested in Blue’s family and her own fate, it’s the Boys who held my attention. Gasey’s whole demeanour and his dedication to his quest… sure, no sixteen year old is ever going to act like he does but what he lacks in age appropriateness he makes up for in general greatness, Ronan is all melancholy and mysterious and has a weird thing with a raven? I’m intrigued. I found Adam kind of lacking, and as for Noah? Well, it you’ve read the book you know about Noah, and let’s just say I wasn’t totally surprised.
The whole thing was great. So great. It’s like Practical Magic meets The Shoebox Project and maybe something like Teen Wolf in the best possible way. It had me smiling knowingly, and then it would go and give me goosebumps. It had me legitimately grimacing over some of the rougher scenes and occasionally, like in that very first proper meeting between Blue and the Boys, or those mysterious glimpses into the future, it had me all but squealing in anticipation of what would happen next. And I should have known, the book being part of a series and all, that the BIG REVEAL was going to have to wait. So I’ll tell you what happens next. What happens next is I get started on book two!