Late to the Party: The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater

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When The Raven Boys first came out, I snapped it up. There had been quite a bit of buzz about the book, and it sounded right up my alley. I had yet to read anything by Maggie Stiefvater, but I knew people whose opinions I respected adored her writing, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

I think I got one chapter in – and that chapter was a slog – before I gave up.

Over the years since the first novel was published I’ve seen the fandom explode. This is due in part, I’m sure, to the presence of a canon m/m couple, since that’s of particularly interest to most of the fandom folks I follow. Obviously it’s of particular interest to me as well, but it still wasn’t enough to get me to pick that book back up. My reaction to it was part I’ve-washed-my-hands-of-this and part resisting what has become suddenly popular (ask me how long it took me to listen to the Hamilton recording), but it was strong enough to make me mute and blacklist and ignore. Then yesterday I was at work, flicking through my Kindle, and thinking about the clean slate feeling of the new year, and these books popped into my head randomly. I did a quick search for the first one, tapped it open … and then COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

I don’t know what magic occurred between my first attempt and this one, but even that first chapter that had initially seemed so challenging was suddenly gripping. I DEVOURED this book. It had been described to me as a wave: with rolling highs and lows, times when the book felt slow and times when it went so fast you’d be unable to stop turning pages, but I honestly didn’t experience any low points. It actually shocked me how engrossed I was in every single moment.

As I read I shared my feelings with some fandom friends who have been nudging me to read the books for a while, but I also requested that they keep their responses spoiler-free. Aside from knowing that there will be a canon m/m couple, I have no idea what is going to happen. I don’t know who is going to end up together. And I honestly changed my mind about who I thought would end up together, and who I wanted to end up together, every single chapter.

Now that I’m between books one and two (and GOD it is taking all of my willpower not to start book two, but I have a to-do list and I’m bound and determined to get through some of it), I wanted to share some of those contradicting thoughts and feelings, but please do not spoil me!

  • My first pairing inkling was actually about Noah and Ronan. Even after the revelations of book one, I have feelings about their relationship. Let’s just say I’d read some weird ass fic involving these two.
  • Adam and Gansey were the first solid “oh they love each other” pairing. And they do, but I’m still waffling about whether I think it’s a solid brotherly love or something more.
  • Ronan – I mean, he’s pretty obviously not 100% straight (not even considering Adam’s snarky comment about it). I’m assuming that he’s involved in some way, and my initial thought would be Gansey, because I’m pretty sure everyone is at least 50% in love with Gansey.
  • But then I think about the conflict between Adam and Ronan and have Feelings. A lot of Feelings. Like someone write me the 100K saga about them FEELINGS.
  • I know Blue has to have a love interest, and it is supposed to be Gansey, but it also could be Adam, and I don’t see her with Ronan (watch her end up with Ronan), and it’s not going to be Noah, so unless someone new is introduced in the next book … I DON’T KNOW. I’m guessing Gansey. But that would mean Adam and Ronan become canon and I’m just. Not. SURE.

Has there ever been a series better suited for polyamory? Honestly.

Everyone that has recced this series to me has told me that the characters are the strength, but the story is so good! I mean, the characters are amazing and I adore every single one and it’s kind of like One Direction where I always think I have a favorite but then someone else does something so great that I flip my standings around and UGH. But the story! It’s a little Supernatural, it’s A LOT Teen Wolf, and it’s 100000000% incredible. It’s mythical and fantastical without seeming too fantasy or science fiction. There’s also the writing itself, which has a quality that I cannot put my finger on but is absolutely breathtaking. Every word chosen feels deliberate and is perfect and so effective.

If you haven’t already fallen down this rabbit hole for whatever reason, jump in. You won’t regret it. I just cannot wait to be done with the series so I can start looking up fic!

Liz Keysmash
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Liz Keysmash

Liz has a ginger kitty named Thackery Binx who chirps like a bird and plays fetch like a dog. She reads a lot of slash, and writes a bit as well. She thinks she’s a good cook, she brews beer, she's a total nerd about baseball, she reads YA fiction, she has recently rediscovered her love of pop music, she swears like a sailor.
Liz Keysmash
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