Monday, October 8, 2012

The Raven Boys Book Review and Maggie Stiefvater

I have a girl crush on Maggie Stiefvater, and, after attending her book signing on Saturday, I love her even more. I finished Maggie's latest release, The Raven Boys, last week. I've read all but one of her books and I think this one was my favorite.

The Raven Boys opens on St. Mark's Eve in the tiny town of Henrietta, Virginia. On this night, Blue Sargent goes to an old churchyard to see the spirits of everyone who is to die in the coming year. Well, Blue doesn't actually see them per se, she helps her psychic mother (or aunt or fill-in-the-blank relative) see them. Blue isn't a psychic; she's an amplifier. Her presence enhances her physic family's gifts. On this St. Mark's Eve, Blue sees her first spirit - a boy named Gansy. The only reason Blue, a non-psychic, would see a spirit is if he was her true love or she would be the one to kill him.

Gansy is a student at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. Students at Algionby, also known as Raven Boys, are wealthy and on their way to Ivy League schools and lives of luxury after. Gansy isn't like all the rest of the boys. He is fabulously rich and has never wanted for anything, but money can't buy what he seeks. He has spent years searching for a Welsh king named Glendower. His quest has landed him in Henrietta and he has enlisted his closest friends - Adam and Ronan - to help. Adam Parrish is a scholarship student at Aglionby who's trying to make his way through the world as his own man. Ronan Lynch recently lost his father and is content to lose just about everything else but his friends.

After the fateful St. Mark's Eve, Blue and Gansy's paths cross. Blue can plainly see that Gansy is someone she could never love or kill, but joins the gang in the hunt for Glendower. Their exploration of Virginia's ley lines lead them to unexpected discoveries and danger.

I loved The Raven Boys. I wasn't completely sold on the concept, but like all of Maggie's books, I wasn't disappointed. Maggie has the unique ability to bring the past into the present and  to construct characters that matter to me. I was intrigued and surprised and adored the book. Credit to Maggie for her pacing and delivery. The story's cadence was somehow very Virginia-y. It wasn't the language, though it was spot on, it was something else that gave the story an almost Southern Gothic feel.

On to Maggie! I went to a book signing with my friend Rheana at Denver's best independent bookstore (Tattered Cover shout out!). Maggie attended the signing with author friend Brenna Yovanoff. Maggie and Brenna, who are critique partners, interviewed each other, did dramatic readings, and took questions. They were utterly charming and had great chemistry which made the whole experience more lively than if it had been just Maggie or Brenna by themselves. I was happy that I got the book first from the library so that my shiny, autographed copy can remain in pristine condition.

Me, Maggie, and Brenna

Maggie and Brenna interviewing each other
If you haven't read any of Maggie's work, check it out and be sure to follow her awesome blog.

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