Dang, I wish there actually existed an audiobooks marathon of some sort, mostly because it’s the only format of reading I’ve had time or energy for in the last two weeks. Hmm, maybe that is a thing that could happen in the future, if people are open to it. I am slowly but surely becoming a buddy-reading evangelist, and The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is definitely to blame.
I, of course, only picked up this series because I saw Shaina and Jenny gushing over the first book on twitter. There was a ton of buzz and hype on the interwebz about the upcoming final book of this series, but I had not done any research into the series, so I didn’t have the faintest idea what it was about. All I wanted to do was be a part of a buddy-reading-squeeing twitter chat.
After listening to the first couple of minutes of The Raven Boys and realizing it was YA friendship cheeseballs, I was both afraid and excited. High-school me totally ate up the Twilight series back then after avoiding the hype for the longest time, and then regretted it after the series ended, so I didn’t want to have a repetition of that experience. And I didn’t have to, because Stiefvater is an amazing writer and has great content and is the master of delivering the friendship feels straight to your gut so yeah.
Here’s your most basic of all basic plot lines: Blue is the only non-psychic in a family full of them, Gansey is the richest and the most privileged of them all boy looking for a sleeping Welsh King, Adam is the scholarship kid attending the prestigious, preppy school with the rest of The Raven Boys and comes from a very abusive home, Ronan recently lost his father, and then there’s Noah. Oh Noah. Adventures and friendships and feelings ensue. Just magic. There, the end. Now go read the damn books.
These five idiotic teenagers had my feelings by the balls for a solid three weeks. It also helped that Will Patton was a great choice to narrate this series on audio- the lilting southern accent, his gentle voice, and his performance were all top-notch. I think the last time I felt this way about a YA series was Harry Potter for sure. Watching these characters develop and navigate all of the things about being teenagers, and at the same time navigating all of these monumental life-choices- there’s something there. There’s something about that entire experience that makes you just want to envelope these children into a giant hug forever.
Did I mention the thing about how I was having all of the feelings for these friendships?
If you’re hesitant about having to tackle cheesy YA drama and it’s not your jam, don’t be. Gushing aside, I loved Stiefvater’s writing, plot development, and character development. My favorites are feminist Blue and Calla. Feminist Blue is a force to be reckoned with, you guys. All day, everyday. I can’t pick just one of the four Raven boys, because each of them had strengths they brought to the table, and their own personal life turbulence to deal with, in the middle of running around this magical forest looking for a sleeping king and trying to survive all that. Watching all these kids work through their interpersonal relationships definitely hit home for me. I don’t think that will ever get old for me. Being a teenager is a rough time, and navigating those real, solid, friendships, understanding loyalty and fostering those bonds, will always warm my frigid heart.
I am actively choosing not to talk about each of the books seperately because I can’t without spoilers and that’s just uncool.