The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater, published by Scholastic on 19th September 2012
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’s spirit 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?
Previous to 'The Raven Boys', I've read four of Maggie Steifvater's books and have a kind of love/hate relationship with them. On the one hand I love the wonderful stories she conjures and the brilliant imagery she conveys in her books but I haven't always found her style of writing easy to get on with. It's quite different to anything else which does mean she stands out from many others writers of the YA genre but I sometimes find I have to concentrate really hard when I'm reading, rather than just sitting back and enjoying the book.
Unfortunately, although I wanted to love 'The Raven Boys', I found myself facing some of the same problems. The central idea for the story was intriguing. Blue finds out that if she kisses her true love he will die. What a terrible thing to face. To know that there is someone out there who you can love heart and soul but that you can never kiss or be with properly because you could kill him - even if not by your hand. How do you even begin to come to terms with that?
So I loved the concept but not the actual telling. I wanted to see more of Blue and her future romance, rather than the multiple story strands which littered the first half of the book. I'll admit that I got confused with where Maggie Steifvater was taking the story, although I could eventually see everything converging and coming together and making far more sense by the latter part of the book.
There are some great characters in the story, including the Raven Boys of the title. I particularly loved Adam who is self-effacing and rather shy but utterly adorable. There's also the confident and determined Gansey and their friend Roman.
My interest picked up in the second half but overall I did struggle with this title. I've read some five star reviews of it from my fellow bloggers and other reviewers online however, so if you're a fan of Steifvater, then I would still tell you to give it a try because even though I didn't, you might just end up loving it.