The Raven Cycle

Cover_ravenboys_300Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.

Thus begin The Raven Boys, the first book in the epic Raven Cycle by YA author Maggie Stiefvater. It is an unapologetic blend of myth and magic, fantasy and reality, friendship, true love, and school exams. There are psychics, politicians, hit men, and dead welsh kings.

Depending on where you begin the story, it’s the most epic coming of age saga ever written.

Gansey is meant to be a king. He leads fearlessly, conquers easily, and is clearly modelled on an Authurian archetype. One time he died, and ever since then he’s been driven to find the person responsible for returning him to life–the Welsh king Glendower, rumoured to be sleeping somewhere along a ley line running through the unassuming town of Henrietta, Virginia.

Blue is the daughter of a psychic, growing up in a household of psychics, but without any psychic ability of her own. She knows that if she kisses her true love she will die. She doesn’t know who her true love might be, so she avoids kissing altogether, and boys. Especially raven boys, her nickname for the rich, arrogant prep students at Aglionby Academy. Until she meets Adam.

Adam Parrish is a trailer park kid who works three jobs to put himself through Aglionby Academy in hopes of getting into an Ivy League college, and becoming something more than what his father is; what he is afraid to be. He despises the easy wealth of his fellow students even as he envies them. His pride and interdependence are fiercely intertangled and despite all the love he has for Gansey, he refuses to let the other boy help him. Until he meets Cabeswater.

51ovH-taQgL._AC_UL320_SR210,320_Cabeswater is a magical, sentient forest growing along the landline. The trees speak Latin. Time runs at its own pace. A haunted tree gives you visions of terrible futures. The searchers think that somewhere in the forest must be the key to finding Glendower, but little do they know that something else is sleeping on the ley line, something dark and terrible.

Ronan is a dreamer. Ronan has power both beautiful and terrible, for he is the Greywaren, and he can bring back dreams into the real world. But not everything he dreams is within his control, and sometimes his nightmares try to come back with him as well.

And Noah, well, Noah is a ghost.

Depending on where you begin the story, it’s about five teenagers stealing every moment they can between work and school to scour the state of Virginia looking for a historical king who may have had his body moved to be buried in the New World. There are Camaros and Mitsubishis. There’s street racing, and loud music and frat parties. There are fund raisers and campaign dinners and the endless wondering about life after high school.

The Raven Boys is about magic, and adventure, and the first hesitant overtures of trust in friendship.

The Dream Thieves is about identity and family and the price of magic.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is about learning that you can’t be independent all the time, and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Raven King asks the question: what happens when you find what you’re looking for?


Katie Lynn Daniels is the author of Supervillain of the Day, and the mastermind behind Vaguely Circular. She blogs about science and things that are peripherally related to science. You can read all her posts here.


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