I have to be honest: I’m a Maggie fan. I adore her writing voice and her ability to weave a story, not just tell it.
My first encounter was Shiver, which I liked a lot. Then Linger, which I loved. Then Forever, which I really loved. Then Lament, which I liked a lot. Then Ballad, which I loved. Then The Scorpio Races, which I really LOVED a lot, and now, there is The Raven Boys.
Any of these I would recommend…as well as her blog…as well as her grocery list.
I think you get my point.
I’m finding that the things I love in her books (and other authors I admire) are repetitive, the way I like different artists from a genre of music for the same reasons. So, though this is specifically about The Raven Boys, the writing aspects of the things I love apply to all of her books.
Poetic prose with adventure-packed plot—I was used to Stiefvater’s rolling, watery awesomeness with words and writing structure from previous books, but what surprised me was how well that combined with physical action in scenes. I rode the wave of discovery with the characters and felt it even more as insightful, yet subtle, character-revealing writing combined with physical blows and fast cars. It created a complete, complex reading experience and was so cleverly done that I didn’t know I was in the process of understanding the character. All I knew was that I understood him or her once the moment was over. I hope that makes sense. Speaking of characters…
Characterization—There are multiple characters in the forefront of this story—one girl, Blue, and four boys: Gansey, Noah, Ronan, and Adam. Each one is 3 dimensional, and, in true Stiefvater fashion, unique with individual motivations and traits and needs and priorities and surprises with nooks and crannies that beg to be dwelled upon after the book is over.
The End—The Raven Boys has an ending that somehow still felt complete, even though it’s going to be a series. When I got to the end, I felt equally satisfied and intrigued, happy to know that all the characters will be safe for the next year or so as I wait for the sequel and interested enough to know that I will reread this book and devour its sequel when the time comes. As a reader, this is how I like my series books, especially if I have to wait a year or more for the next one. Concerning The Raven Boys, I will be appropriately tortured for the time in between books.
The Mythology—Stiefvater tends to shy away from trendy mythology as foundations to her books. Even when she chose well-known myths, such as faeries and werewolves, she turned them on their heads. Her faeries were merciless and homicidal. Her werewolves were literal wolves (yes, wholly wild animals), changing by seasons rather than moon cycles. Less known mythologies were the man-eating water horses and, now, a dormant Welsh king waiting to be woken. She walks a different line, not necessarily rejecting well-known mythology, but definitely making sure that the story is not defined by the general public’s assumed limitations of it. When Stiefvater chooses a less known mythology, though, I feel she shines. The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys are my favorites of her books to date. I wonder, though, if my fondness for them is because I didn’t have to break apart any preconceived notions of the myths, as I was not familiar with the mythological basis of these two books, and could focus solely on the story through the first reading.