Hello there! I saw some raven boys posts from you and they were beautiful and made me want to read the series... would you mind explain why you like it? Like, I don't know, some things about it seem a bit cliche, so is it good cliche? Do they make it work? Or is it the kind of book you read and it's not that good but it's a guilty pleasure? I'm so sorry I don't know how to ask this, but what are the pros and cons of reading it? If you're okay with telling me, of course. Thanks a lot! ^^
All right, first off: this is not a guilty pleasure book. This is a ‘shout it from the rooftops, shake strangers on the street, hide copies under your friends’ mattresses until they’re forced to investigate why they’re sleeping on a foot-high lump’ book. This is a ‘me staring at you from a dark corner in your bedroom, eyes lighting up every time you turn a page, only for my shoulders to sag when I realize it is not the last page and I can’t blurt out all my feels to you’ book. This is that book. This isn’t a ‘if I want to keep my dignity, no one will ever know I read this book’ book. Because those books? Those books usually involve gay dinosaurs who improperly try to “fix” the office copy machine, if you catch my drift.
I’ve said too much.
Now I can empathize with you about this seeming cliché because I read the blurby thing on the back and I thought, superiorly, about this book series that would one day own my soul and all the baubles I’ve ever treasured (just ‘cause it’s greedy like that and my soul was already marked way down):
HAH! That sounds terrible, who would read this? Let me guess: Girl falls in love with boy, impediment!, love triangle, everyone’s better than the best version of themselves to the point where they’re clearly pod-people aliens, insert plot I don’t care about, insert female protagonist I will never relate to, insert shirtless boy and we’ll get a summer blockbuster that’s a lot of action, a lot of skin, and zero percent substance. Oh and also, apparently, ghosts.
This is what I thought. I have taken floggings regularly to try to atone for ever having these thoughts. Maggie (Stiefvater) - the author (we are on a first name/nickname basis, obviously) - recently updated said blurby on her tumblr, @maggie-stiefvater, which I think does the whole thing a lot more justice:
A host of co-dependent teens with a battery of psychological issues comb rural Virginia for a dead Welsh king with dubious magical powers. Trees talk; hitmen put down roots; dead people live; living people die. Cars are described in loving detail. Fuckweasel. A house full of psychics tells everybody the future and drinks a lot on-page considering it’s a young adult series. Nobody kisses anybody, which is weird because everybody loves everybody. There’s rich boys! Poor boys! Sad boys! Angry boys! Raven boys! Collect them all! (x)
If that already didn’t assuage all your doubts, don’t worry, I’ll talk some more!
There are a ton of people out there who will rhapsodize to you about Adam and Ronan, the loud and subtle and lush and bleak and other glorious contradictions that their growing relationship is. About Gansey and Blue and the inevitable tragedy of their gut-swooping, heart-stomping romance. About Noah and his murdered/remembered smudginess. Because those stories are just that good - they come together to be even better - so finding people who want to yell through your mail slot about all those things while you try to block them out, is not hard. It’s all found family, lifelong friendships and spelunking in caves. What about that doesn’t sound like something you want to have in your life, right?
For me, what made me go: OH! This is my kind of book, was - first and foremost, the writing. I didn’t care about the dead Welsh king plot because he’s dead and Welsh and I’ve already got a crown in my room that I almost never wear. Talk about a lot of stuff I don’t need, right? But the introduction of each of the titular Raven Boys characters was done uniquely, gorgeously and in a way that immediately made me want to know them. Well, as Maggie says of Ronan, in a way that made me want them to approve of me. Which is a strange feeling to have about fictional people, but knowing that didn’t make me any less zealous about proving myself.
I was more on guard with Blue, because - totally unfairly - I am a harsher judge when it comes to female characters. But, being a female character, I feel I have a little more knowledge in this area and therefore can be a little more snooty about it. (Which enables me to dig that crown out and put it to some use finally.) Then Blue opened her mouth and we get her first(ish, we’re not talking about the actual first exchange because I don’t want to talk about that, or think about it, OH MY GOD, WHY ARE YOU EVEN BRINGING THIS UP, I FEEL SO ATTACKED RIGHT NOW.) exchange with Gansey:
Blue: “Do you see how I’m wearing this apron? It means I’m working. For a living.”
Gansey: “I’ll take care of it.”
Blue: “Take care of it?”
Gansey: “Yeah. How much do you make in an hour? I’ll take care of it. And I’ll talk to your manager.”
Blue: “I am not a prostitute.”
Which is roughly the time I put down the book, pulled out a white t-shirt, painted the words: ‘Blue Sargent #1 5eva’ on it and wore it for a week straight. Like you do.
- A hitman who stole my heart, with a daisy chain and a pink switchblade
- Everything out of Piper Greenmantle’s mouth
- Everything out of Jesse Dittley’s mouth
- Every fantastic individual who lives at 300 Fox Way
- The color aquamarine
- Some stuff with time
- Some stuff with trees
- Some stuff with dreams
- Hand lotion that means a lot more than just hand lotion
- Rotary phones
- Squash one,
- Squash two–
Oh right, so final count, in the pros column I wrote: 1,067,310 and in the cons column I wrote: … Oh no, I guess I just ripped that off, chewed it up and spit it out in a misshapen saliva-soaked wad next to the pros column.
I think that makes the scoring pretty clear. If you still decide you don’t want to read it, that’s cool too - though one side of your mattress may get uncomfortably high.
I know nothing about that however.