Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle book 1)

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

Blue Sargent comes from a family of fortune tellers whose predictions tend to deal with nonspecific items or events but are always accurate. But when Blue would have her readings, they were always the same no matter who gave her the blunt and specific conclusion. “If Blue was to kiss her true love, he would die.” For awhile, this bothered Blue but at the age of sixteen, she decided she just wouldn’t fall in love. But everything changed when her aunt Neeve came to town. Upon opening the front door, Neeve states “You’re Maura’s daughter, this is the year you’ll fall in love.”

Although Blue isn’t psychic like the other women on her family, she does have the ability to hone the powers of her clairvoyant family. Which is the reason on every St. Mark’s Eve, April 24, at midnight, Blue sits with her mother at the old, abandoned church to await the spirits of those members of the community who will die during the next twelve months. This year Blue is keeping watch with Neeve. While waiting on the parade of those spirits to pass, Neeve asks Blue is she goes to the school she passed on her way into town, Aglionby Academy. Finding humor in the seemingly innocent question, Blue lets her know that it is an all-boys school for the wealthy whose uniform consists of “khaki pants and a V-neck sweater with a raven emblem." Raven boys are easily identifiable during the school week. “Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”

While transcribing the names Neeve tells her, Blue can actually see a spirit in the graveyard, a young man in slacks and a sweater. Neeve sends Blue over to get a name since he won’t answer her. Knowing that if he steps over the church’s threshold she will never get his name, Blue is shocked to see that he is in the Aglionby uniform. The boy answers “Gansey” and Blue cannot quit staring since he looks so real. He falls to his knees and fades away while Blue and Neeve look on. Blue asks her why she could see him. “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, Blue. Either you’re his true love,” Neeve said “or you killed him.”

The next morning, Gansey calls his roommate Ronan Lynch to pick him up since his car had stopped on the side of the road. He is stranded after being out all night while scoping out the grotesquely modern Church of the Holy Redeemer with his recorder in an attempt to contact the future dead on St, Mark’s Eve. In playing back the night’s recording, Gansey’s voice can be heard saying “Gansey” followed by a far away female voice asking “Is that all?” Gansey’s voice replies “that’s all there is.” He tells Ronan that nothing, absolutely nothing was happening when the voice were recorded. Knowing that voices from other places and times can be transmitted across the ley line, Gansey’s voice being recorded is a mystery.

Having spent the last four years looking for the straight, supernatural energy path known as a ley line, Gansey has a knack for finding the impossible and doesn’t believe in coincidences. He believes that Own Glendower was brought from Wales to be entombed in Virginia and is eternally sleeping, like the legends of King Arthur. Whoever finds and wakes him is believed to be granted a favor. Knowing that he is onto something, Gansey asks for suggestions on what to do next. His other roommate, Adam hands him the phone number for a psychic. Perplexed, Gansey wants to know what he is going to ask a psychic. Adam says to find out who Gansey was talking to on the recording.

Blue and Gansey’s worlds collide when Gansey and his friends go to Nino’s restaurant where Blue works. Noticing the group of Raven Boys but not knowing who they are, Blue offers to take their table but the other waitress refuses. Later that night, her mother calls to let her know that Gansey schedules a reading for the next afternoon. Blue will take off from work to be there. Blue is then perturbed when the pompous-looking Raven Boy (Gansey) taps her on the shoulder. He asks her if she would do him a favor and talk to his shy friend (Adam). He inadvertently offends Blue. After her shift is over, Blue finds Adam waiting for her in the parking lot to apologize for the actions of his friend. After talking a while, Blue notices that Adam is unlike his friends, there is not an air of wealth about him. She gives Adam her phone number and he promises to call the next day and leaves. Then her manager catches her to ask if she knows who left behind a strange journal. Having an inkling, she says she will locate the owner but is immediately enthralled with what she finds inside; Gansey’s ramblings about Glendower and the ley line.

The reading with Gansey, Adam and Ronan is eventful to say the least and Blue’s mother is furious that she and Gansey have already met. Disobeying her mother, Blue soon finds herself wrapped up with the Raven Boys. Will Blue help the Raven Boys find the ley line? Why does Blue’s mother not want her involved with Gansey and his friends? What favor does Gansey wish to ask Glendower? Is Gansey Blue’s true love and is he truly destined to die the next twelve months? Will Blue really kill him? What part does Blue’s attraction to Adam play in the future? Will Blue confess what she knows about Gansey’s future?

The Raven Boys begins an epic quartet that will sweep readers into the happenings of Henrietta, VA. The author is currently working on the second book in the series.

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's website.

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