It is time that I finally sit down and confront my complex and intense feelings about this book. Going in to The Raven Boys I had a lot of expectations. So many people had read it and hyped it (which is the reason I try to read things as soon as possible so I can form my own uninformed opinion). Unfortunately, I could not avoid the fact that this is a rather widespread love for this book. In fact, I don’t think I encountered anyone saying that they didn’t like this book.
I was skeptical.
Extremely skeptical about how much I was going to enjoy this book. I was terrified that I would have an opinion that was convoluted.
Now that I’ve read the book, my feelings are still a bit convoluted. The story certainly was not perfect, but I definitely loved it. I want to bring something new to the table, but in all honesty, like everyone has said before, it was the characters that made this story. There were times reading this when my heart felt tight and my throat closed as panic rose through my chest, leaving me sweating with anticipation and anxiety. There were also times when I got warm and fuzzy feels because of the sweet things that were happening.
I mentioned that this book was not perfect. It is not. I’ve encountered very few books that I feel have achieved that. The biggest problem with this book in particular is actually one in the same with the book’s strength. The focus is entirely on the characters with the plot kind of lingering in the background. I love the characters, but it took a while to get there.
The plot is truly secondary in this story. There is most certainly a plot their. The characters have goals and they take steps toward reaching those goals. There were obstacles they encountered. There were antagonists trying to hinder them. All those elements were there, but they largely just fell to the background. They just weren’t as important. Which in some ways is a bit of a shame, because that plot is actually pretty interesting. However the number of major plot points in this story would not have added up to a full story in more plot driven novels. I have to give the book credit because even though the plot isn’t particularly quick and it does fall to the back, it is never forgotten. The plot is so intricately entwined with the characters that it would be impossible. So even when the plot isn’t important it’s ever present.
This isn’t a plot driven book. It is a character driven book. Sure the character’s goals are interesting, but you stick around because you come to like the characters. The problem with this for the first almost half of the book I was not invested. We spent so much time with these characters as they moved through life that it was hard to finally care. There was one exception and that was Adam who I was instantly enamored with. Everyone else I needed time to come to care about them. It came, but it wasn’t quickly. Honestly it was a subtle shift just before the midway point when I realized that these characters had come to life for me. They weren’t just traits on a page, but felt like people I was going on a journey with.
I have to take a moment to talk about the titular Raven Boys. Soe know off the bat that theese are boys who go to an all boys private school Aglionby, which I love to say. They are nicknamed Raven boys. Being private school boys they come from money, but they are all different and interesting. Gansy is the leader. The one everyone circles around. Despite his money, he’s a nice guy. He cares about people and his money gives him privilege. Even still he comes off as someone who would be the nice guy even if he didn’t have money. Ronan is the fighter. Despite his privilege, he hasn’t exactly had it easy partially because of his personality. That said, there is a softness to him that doesn’t quite show to a random onlooker. Then there is Noah, the quiet one. The moment he appeared, I felt like I wanted to take care of him. I’m still very protective of him. Then there is Adam. The only one who doesn’t have the same privilege of the others. There is something extremely relateable to him. He’s prideful and doesn’t always make the best decisions, but again he’s another good guy. Yes, the Raven Boys are the kind of motley crew that you want on your side for all sorts of reasons.
Then there is Blue. I didn’t fall in love with her. There’s something even at the end of the novel that I just could not relate to. This is largely because she’s so far removed from any situation I’ve been in that it felt entirely foreign. Add on that her personality in the novel was the least fleshed out of all the characters didn’t help.
Overall, I really did enjoy it. I particuarly enjoyed it from the second half onward. So much so, that I went out and purchased the next book before I finished it. I was so convinced that I wanted to continue on this journey. I still do.