Saturday, August 24, 2013

Reviews: Raven Boys and Dream Thieves

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 409
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Review Copy: Netgalley ARC & Free audio download at SYNC
Release Date: September 18, 2012

Summary:  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.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My Thoughts: I read this book when it first came out and I ripped through it so quickly that some of the details were hazy almost immediately after I finished. So to get ready for Dream Thieves, I listened to the audio version to refresh my memory. I knew that Blue caught my attention. I love her very unique personality. Her family is spectacular too with their ability to see beyond the surface of life. Gansey and his crew are so distinct and interesting that I wanted to know more and more about them.

When I first started reading, it seemed this might be a creepy and possibly even scary book. Death is certainly lurking around the corners. There are some frightening characters, but always there is the light of family and friends shining through.

There are several stories threaded through the book. Blue is "destined to kill her true love with a kiss." Added to that, Gansey and his particular group of Raven Boys are also caught up in a secret quest. Each of the boys have their individual stories too.

Filled with romance, mystery, magic, ghosts, death, adventure, and much more, Raven Boys captivated me even as my mind was bending trying to understand all that occurred. Stiefvater pulls me in with her writing, "The ruin was cupped in the densely wooded hills outside of Henrietta...what hadn't rotted away was hidden under hungry vines and rancid smelling saplings." I always feel like I am right there. The book and the audio were marvelous.

Raven Boys
 Chapter Teaser

Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 409
Genre: Fantasy
Review Copy: Netgalley ARC
Release Date: September 17, 2013

Summary: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

My Thoughts: Once again Stiefvater weaves a brilliant tapestry with her tale. She starts out with several poems at the beginning. They set the stage, but are even more meaningful once you have finished the book. Be sure to read them again after. There are so many layers to this series that I marvel more on a second or third look. Stiefvater has made her own brand of magic as she sweeps aside a few more layers revealing the rather complicated depths of these characters.

In Dream Thieves, we meet a few new characters, but learn much more about Blue and her Raven Boys -- especially Ronan. As the resident bad boy, he was intriguing in Raven Boys, but Stiefvater allows readers to get to know him much more intimately in this installment.

Oh, and when the summary says sinister people are looking for the same thing Gansey is after, sinister turns out to be an understatement. The book is filled with danger, more creepiness, death, magic, and once again romance, but this second book again contains humorous elements. I appreciate the sly humor that Stiefvater employs - particularly with Blue's mom and her new friend.

There is so much I cannot mention in a review without giving things away. That makes the review quite tricky. I am eagerly awaiting the third book because like the first, this one ends with plenty of loose ends and quite a cliff hanger.

If you have not read either one, you may want to wait until just before the third one is released, because it is hard to wait. If you have already read Raven Boys, you will want to pick this one up as soon as it is available next month, but know that many of your questions won't be answered just yet.
There is an excerpt of the prologue below and a rather cool video. That Maggie has many talents.


In the video below Maggie Stiefvater shows how to make a car look like the one in Dream Thieves. Pretty cool.

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