I’d seen The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater recommended several times, including from a BookTuber that I trusted, so I checked the ebook out from my library. I haven’t really been in a reading mood lately, but I decided that I needed to push out of the funk and get reading. The Raven Boys helped me with that. Was it my favorite book? No. Will I be reading the rest of the books in the series? No. But I did enjoy it. Let me explain.
Blue is the daughter of a legit psychic whose best friends are all psychics. Her whole life she was told that she would kill her true love after she kissed him. She learns that her true love is a boy named Gansey. When she meets him, she is unimpressed. A series of events leads her into a relationship with Gansey’s best friend Adam, and she embarks on an adventure with Gansey, Adam, and their other two best friends to find the magically preserved Welsh king Glendower.
Understand this first: I enjoyed reading this book. I liked it. It was a little slow, and it focused more on introducing the characters than pushing along the plot. That being said, it was decently written. For the most part. Until you get to the end. The book ends in the middle of the story. Really, it’s still the beginning since there are three more books after this one. And that is what upsets me. The story doesn’t end. It’s like the author couldn’t find a good stopping place but decided the book was getting too long.
The last sentence in the book is supposed to be a cliffhanger for the next book, but without knowing what the other books are about, it makes no sense. One of the cardinal rules of conclusions in writing papers and articles, etc., is that you don’t add any new information in your concluding paragraph. The end should wrap up the story. Does this mean that narrative fiction series shouldn’t have cliffhangers? Absolutely not. You just need to give it enough time for it to make sense. The last sentence of a book introducing a superpower that no one has heard of is not enough time. It just leaves readers confused. Let’s look at an example of it being done right. Sidenote: it’s hard to pick a book that wouldn’t have an upsetting spoiler in it as an example, so I went with a classic. At the end of The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Fellowship breaks up. Boromir is seduced by the ring and attacks Frodo. Frodo and Sam head to Mordor on their own. This is a cliffhanger. We don’t know what happens next. This was not expected at the beginning or even the middle of the book. You don’t think Boromir is going to attack, and you know that Frodo doesn’t even know how to get to Mordor on his own. But you have time to process this. It’s not in the last sentence of the book saying, “Frodo and Sam jump into a boat and sail toward Mordor on their own”, with that being all the explanation you get until the next book. No. Because that would be poor writing, and Tolkien was not a poor writer.
Now that I’m done ranting, like I said earlier, other than that bad ending, the book was decently written. It kept me interested and made me want to finish. It does have some very strong language and a little bit of violence. If not for the language, I’d rate it at PG-13. But the language bumps it up.
I actually read the synopses of all four books because I wanted to see where they ended up. If you hate spoilers, don’t do this. Usually I want to be surprised, but the book was somewhat suspenseful, and I handle suspense horribly. Because I was unsatisfied with the synopsis of the first book, I read the other three and realized I probably wouldn’t read the rest. I’ll give some spoilers in my next post that will really explain, but for those who don’t want to know what happens, here’s my final thoughts:
The Raven Boys had interesting plot setup. It had interesting characters. But it took a long time to get anywhere, and then it just ended.