Review: The Raven Boys

Raven

  • Author: Maggie Stiefvater
  • ISBN: 9780545424929
  • Genre: Fantasy

Since June is Audiobook Month, audiobooks.com has been giving away a selected audiobook every day of the month to its members.  The Raven Boys was one of those books.

The Goodreads synopsis for The Raven Boys (click on the book cover) is what kept me from reading this book prior to audiobooks.com giving it away for free.  I assumed that it was the stereotypical YA story that centers on a romance and all that is ever different is the setting and the characters’ names.  While there’s nothing wrong with a good romance story, particularly one in which the characters’ relationship is met with an obstacle of some kind, there is much more to life than finding someone to fall in love with and I prefer my stories to reflect that.

However, The Raven Boys is so much more than what the synopsis makes it out to be.  Most of the story has very little to do with romance.  Instead, it’s more about magic and mythology and all the very real issues that teenagers deal with besides who they want to date.  All of the characters are struggling to find their place in the world, none of them is perfect, and they don’t always make the best decisions.  This isn’t an afterschool special, though.  I never got the sense that the author was trying to pass down some lesson about the consequences of making poor choices while having it all work out for the best in the end.  Rather, Maggie Stiefvater is showing a slice of reality through the lives of teenagers who could easily be you, me, or a high school friend while bringing to life a world filled with magic.

This book is exactly the kind that I’m always on the lookout for; the kind that says magic exists alongside all the things we take for granted as being real, and as with everything else, it is neither wholly  benevolent nor truly evil.  It is also the kind that is full of complex characters who live lives that are never cut and dry, and it is the kind of Fantasy story that reflects reality more clearly than Literary Fiction ever could.  I’m looking forward to reading the next “Raven Cycle” book, The Dream Thieves.

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