Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys cover Maggie StiefvaterBook Title/Author:The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher/Release Date
: Scholastic – September 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy/Supernatural
Series: Yes, The Raven Boys is book 1 of The Raven Cycle series
Other Books From Author: The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, The Scorpio Races, Book of Faerie series

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I checked this bad boy out from my local library!

 

 

Blue has always kept her distance from boys as she’s been told by her clairvoyant mother that she’ll cause her true love to die. When she accompanies her mother, as she always does, on St. Mark’s Eve  she is able to see, for the first time ever, one of the soon-to-be dead walk on the Corpse Road as her mother days. The spirit, a young boy her age, reaches out to her and directly communicates with her. She crosses paths with the boy, Gansey, and find out he attends the wealthy private school — a Raven Boy. She finds herself curious about Gansey and soon finds out he and his best friends — Ronan, Adam and Noah — are on a mysterious quest that she also finds herself wrapped up in full of myths and magic and darkly strange things.

WOW! This is one of those books that I’m going to have to reread FOR SURE before the second book comes out because there is just SO MUCH TO THIS BOOK. It almost borderlines on TOO much to my brain but seriously these pages were bursting at the seams with WONDER and IMAGINATION and MYSTERIES I NEED TO KNOW. I read The Raven Boys in a single day — a single, very stormy wrapped-up-all-in-my-blankets kind of day and that is how I recommend you to read it. For that day, I pretty much could not pluck my brain and my heart out of this mesmerizing and fantastical world where there is magic, psychics, kings and ley lines and other supernatural things that just were so intricately woven in to the contemporary lives of our characters. Dishes were not done, the husband felt neglected (psh not too badly because that meant a whole day of video games) and I don’t recall getting up too much. One of the most absorbing books I’ve read in a long time!

This story was just SO unique and fresh. I’ve only read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater but both of these books are the two most unique novels I’ve read in a long time. I found The Raven Boys to be much less poetic in nature (but still gorgeously written) as The Scorpio Races but The Raven Boys captured the same captivating storytelling ability I found in The Scorpio Races.  OH my stars can Maggie Stiefvater tell a story!  And the characters! I LOVED Blue and just found myself wanting to go on adventures with the Raven Boys — Gansey was definitely the most memorable for me! I just felt how confused Blue must feel knowing how that she’ll kill her true love with a kiss and then she sees Gansey walking on the Corpse Road and then later actually SEES him as a living and breathing human. I felt her curiosity and I understood why she wanted to spend her time with Gansey and the boys and became so enamored with their mission to find Glendower — just as enamored that I, as a reader, became with this journey and all the mystery! There’s just so much depth to these characters and yet I still feel like there is so much to learn about them!

I will say, while this wasn’t a HUGE problem for me, if you are the type who doesn’t like to wait a while for the story to come together..this might be hard for you…but just keep reading and then the story will really start to come together. And at times there is SO much going on — so many different threads to this story — and it can kind of be overwhelming that it borderlines on confusing at times. You’ll find yourself immediately taken to this story but it’s definitely a slow burn type of book.

Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller and I tumbled into these pages and stayed there until I finished it in one day. There’s a lot going on on in this novel but I found myself breezing right though it because of Maggie’s knack for just sucking you into the pages whether we are reading about Blue & her clairvoyant family or the Raven Boys search for Glendower. There’s magic and kings and psychics and ley lines and all sorts of mythological and supernatural intrigue worked right in there with the contemporary lives of these truly memorable, fleshed out characters! It takes a little bit to get into the story and there IS a lot going on but it’s just such a unique and wonderful story that is worth being patient for.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Did you enjoy it or feel differently than I did? Which Raven Boy was your favorite?? I loved Gansey the most though all of them have a place in my heart!

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily By Jodi Lynn AndersonBook Title/Author: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: Peaches series, Loser/Queen, May Bird series

Amazon| Goodreads | @jodilynna

 

 

 

We all know the Disney version of Peter Pan with Wendy, Tinkerbell, the lost boys, Captain Hook. It’s a favorite! Tiger Lily is basically a prequel to the story of Peter & Wendy that we know and revolves around Tiger Lily — Peter Pan’s first love. Told from the perspective of Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily gives us the story of how Peter Pan and Tiger Lily meet and how they fall in love in the face of an impending marriage to the town jerk, dangerous enemies on the island and the arrival of the English girl Wendy Darling.

This was perhaps one of the most unexpected reads of the year and possibly one of the most underrated. I honestly was so surprised by it. I read it during a majorly huge reading slump 2 months before the wedding & I just was so surprised by how moved I was by this.  I thought it was cool that it focused on Tiger Lily, a character I never got a sense of in the Disney movie, and I was just expecting a cute little retelling that was swoony and fun. I wasn’t expecting to feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS. I’m just saying…by the ending I was a hot mess. Seriously, there was gut-wrenching sobby feelings that stung deep down. Whew, I’m getting all emotional thinking about it and it’s been a couple of months since I read it.

I’ll say that it was slow moving in the beginning but I quickly found myself diving right in and wanting to know what happens to Tiger Lily and Peter Pan and the story was just so beautiful and magically told. Unlike jumping into most stories without having any previous knowledge of the world, most of us are familiar with Neverland and the basics of the story but Jodi Lynn Anderson makes you rediscover the allure & magic in Neverland but makes it a bit darker of a story and a world than we know. I just thought Neverland became even more of a real place in my mind and I rather like the visual Jodi Lynn Anderson created compared to my memories of the movie’s version of Neverland. I’ll say I didn’t understand a little bit of the whys to who didn’t age and who did and how all that worked but I was so swept up in the story and the romantical tension that I was like WHATEVER IT’S MAGIC.

And the way the characters are written? JUST WOW. Tiger Lily was a character who my heart just broke for and I just wanted to hug her. Peter Pan and the Lost Boys were just as broken as I’ve always thought them to be and Jodi Lynn Anderson really brought that out for me and I got a deeper sense of their brokenness. I thought Tinkerbell was interesting and I thought it was cool to have her as the narrator as she observes everything that goes down. Sometimes it was kind of confusing because I didn’t understand how Tinkerbell knew  what Tiger Lily was thinking sometimes and some of those deeper emotions I felt from Tiger Lily I was surprised that I could get that from not being directly in Tiger Lily’s brain! OH AND TIGER LILY’S DAD IS AWESOME!

 


Tiger Lily was such an overwhelmingly moving book that I didn’t see coming at all! I couldn’t believe that I had tears running down my face by the end and my heart felt like someone had taken a hacksaw to it. What a gem this book was for me! I was just expecting a fun retelling but it really was much more of a magical, bittersweet and deeply emotional story for me. Definitely an underrated book that came out this year! It takes a little bit to get into at first but I couldn’t believe how incredibly invested I was by the end.

 

For Fans Of: Fairytale Retellings, Peter Pan, love stories that move you, magical stories

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Did you feel your heart being ripped out toward the end? WHAT ABOUT DURING THE LETTER??? I’m new to retellings so please give me some other recommendations for fairytale retellings!

Review of Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Silver PhoenixTitle/Author: Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Publisher/Year: Harper Teen 2009
Where I Got It: Bought it for the Teen Book Scene tour I’m taking part in!

Ai Ling is at the age where all her other peers are being chosen for marriage and it appears that nobody wants Ai Ling. When her father doesn’t come back from a trip to the Emperor’s palace, Ai Ling knows that she has to go find him…especially when some strange things are happening at home that she can’t explain and she’s being coerced into marrying a man whom repulses her. A lot is riding on her finding her father…even more than she realizes!

Wow. I typically don’t read a lot of fantasy. I’m not sure why exactly but I guess I thought it wouldn’t do much for me. I was wrong. Silver Phoenix was infused with action, magical elements, vivid descriptions and a slice of romantic tension. I could not put this one down and found myself reading it on my Nook while I was stuck in traffic. The writing was phenomenal and Pon created such a believable world with all the mythical and magical elements blended in. I was completely enthralled by the various creatures Ai Ling and company came across and wanted to know more about the fantastical elements and why they were after here. Oh and the descriptions…all the descriptions of the surrounding world, the food, etc. were incredible. I found my mouth watering when she would describe a meal and could feel the travel bug within me bouncing off the walls with her descriptions of the beautiful countryside and the various locations Ai Ling passed through.
Ai Ling was such a refreshing character! She was so kickass and sure of herself…and she certainly didn’t need the men fighting her battles or telling her how they were to get out of the current situation they were in. My only problem with Ai Ling was that she felt very aloof to me. I couldn’t figure out if her aloofness was intentional and that she was the type of girl that just didn’t let people in or if it was a flaw in the character development. I just wanted to figure out what made her tick and what she really felt. It seemed like she had a one track mind to finding her father but I knew there had to be more to her than that. She was so strong but I wanted to know if it were just the necklace she had that made her that way or what was really behind that strength. I wanted to use her special capability to penetrate her thoughts so I could just get a sense of who she was.
My Final Thought: If you are looking for fantasy that is on the brink of YA and adult, I think this one is great. I found it to be a lot more mature than some other YA fantasy I’ve read and it was so unique and definitely refreshing since the driving force of the book was NOT a romance. The magical world and creatures was deftly imagined and the vivid descriptions just added to the enjoyability of the action-packed journey! I will definitely be reading the next one in the series to find out some of the things I’m dying to know and to see if we get to know Ai Ling a little bit more!
 

Review on a Post-It (something new I’ve been trying):

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