Synopsis from Goodreads.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
When I’m feeling pretty shoddy I have this thing I do where, basically, I get in bed and watch comedy panel shows. Sometimes it’s QI (XL if I’m feeling proper sad) , sometimes it’s Have I Got News For You…. Occasionally Mock the Week, depending on who’s on it.
A few weeks ago I was watching 8 Out of 10 Cats. I’m not sure which episode it was because I think it’s one of the older ones but, long story short, one of the questions was something along the lines of “73% of women would rather go out with a bad guy than a good one- True or false?”
Jon Richardson said that the reason why women love bad guys so much, apart from the whole “Oh, I can change him” thing, is because they can get away with a lot. They can be twats for days on end and all they have to do is buy flowers or chocolates or YA books one day and you’ll say “Oh, isn’t he wonderful?”
But if a nice guy, bearing in mind he’s nice all the time, is a bit cranky one day or forgets to bring you flowers or chocolates or YA books then you’ll be like “I cannot believe he did this!” as you fashion some garters made from his guts.
Now, of course, I know that Real Life women aren’t that ridiculous and, of course, the fact turned out to be false. Women in Britain would rather date a good guy who brings her YA books.
Or… um… something like that.
But, and this might just be me, this doesn’t seem to apply to YA paranormal heroines and their bad boys. Because they certainly love them, don’t they?
One of the things that makes me angry about YA books (sorry, I promise I will talk about The Raven Boys some point soon) is that the bad guy seems to always win. And this is because the “nice” guy has, for some reason, become synonymous with boring. Why is that? Why?! Why does “not a twat” have to mean he’s dull as dishwater? Why are they mutually exclusive?
Enter Maggie S.
Oh how I could kiss your mind.
Finally, finally, finally… a book where the love interest (you have no idea how tempted I was to put ‘s’ on the end of that then… but shhh) is a decent guy who isn’t boring. They’ve got their issues, they’ve got their flaws but what I loved the most was that this was never used an excuse for him to be a horrible guy to the heroine.
Because, guess what? He wasn’t a horrible guy!
Anyway, I just wanted to get that off my chest. You have no idea how much I’ve been wanting to read a book where I actually get why the two characters like each other and don’t fall in love inexplicably with zinging things flying between them every time they look at each other.
Needless to say, I adored this book. I was a bit nervous when I read the synopsis because… “if you kiss your true love, he will die”… ehhh.
Then I remembered that Practical Magic (Midnight Margaritas!) is my go to film and I was fine. And when I actually got into the story, my doubts were obliterated.
I wasn’t really prepared for how much I was caught up with these boys and how invested I became in their thoughts, feelings and fear. I know this book alludes to them, but I wasn’t expecting the raven boys to really be the main part of this story. I thought it was going to be Blue and her reaction to them that was going to be the driving force of the novel but I have to admit, when Gansey, Ronan, Noah and Adam were on the page I completely forgot she even existed.
Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like her or that she was badly written, quite the opposite actually, but the connection and the relationships between these four boys was perfectly executed that Blue existed in my periphery (I’m hoping the second book will delve a bit more into Blue’s family life).
I loved how Maggie S really dug her nails into the boys’ bond, prying them apart so nothing was hidden. And I liked how they didn’t fit into the clichés. Sure Gansey was the hero but he’s not always heroic and he certainly isn’t perfect. And yep, I guess you could say that Ronan was the “bad boy” but you’ll probably be waiting for a long time if you think you could change him. And Adam is probably the sensitive one but… you get the gist.
I have absolutely no idea how Maggie S managed to write them in such a vibrant way, a way that was so realistic that I wouldn’t be surprised if I got on the train tomorrow morning and a group of boys, one with his mobile in his hand with high-tops on (I don’t even know what they are, I had to Google them), I wouldn’t be surprised. I think I’ve got a lot to learn from her when it comes to writing not only boys but friendships.
Also, I loved the actual story. I think psychics are my favourite of the paranormal genre… sure, I didn’t know this before I picked up this book, but Maggie S has definitely convinced me. I’m a possibly-not-so secret fan of ghosts and to read all about scrying and candles and energy and ley lines and all that sort of thing was absolutely fantastic and such a change from what I’d normally read.
There’s questions unanswered and secrets still shimmering under the surface but I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happens next. I have a feeling this is a series I will be following like a ley line… or a boy with a faded Coca-Cola t-shirt.
I wonder if Gansey and the Gang know that King Arthur and his knights supposedly sleep under Alderley Edge? I think I could forget about my slight fear of flying to navigate a helicopter around the skies above Cheshire… well, as long as Adam’s there to hold my hand.