19 February 2013

Teen Tuesday

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic hardcover, 18 September 2012).

Blue Sargent lives in a household of women:  her mother Maura, and Maura's two closest friends Persephone and Calla.  When Blue is sixteen, her mother's half-sister Neeve comes to visit for an unspecified length of time.  The women are psychics and make their living telling fortunes with the use of tarot cards, runes and tea leaves.

Blue has no psychic ability, but is apparently an amplifier for the gifts of others.  As a result, the women like to have her nearby when they're working.  But the only thing that Blue knows of her own future is that if she kisses her true love, he will die.  No indication of who or when it might be, but as a result, Blue decided never to fall in love. 

Every year on St. Mark's Eve, Blue accompanies her mother to a lonely churchyard, where the soon-to-die walk past. Blue usually doesn't see anything, but this year, she does.  The spirit of a teenage boy approaches and speaks to her.  Blue is shocked and confused, even more so when Neeve tells her that the only reason this would happen is "Either you're his true love . . . or you killed him."

The next day, the boy and his friends come into the pizza place where Blue works.  They are students at Anglionby, the exclusive private school in town.  Ordinarily, she'd have ignore the Raven Boys (as they are called, because of the school's raven insignia), but she's intrigued when she recognizes him from her vision.

The young man, known as Gansey, is obsessed with finding the mythical resting place of Welsh king Owain Glendower, which he believes is somewhere nearby in Virginia.  Blue encounters Gansey and his group again when they come to her home to have their cards read.  

This is an amazing tale; one of those books you want to race through while at the same time feeling the need to read slowly enough to appreciate Stiefvater's exquisite prose.  The story is mysterious, magical and compelling.  Lovers of mythological fantasy will be entranced.

Maggie Stiefvater has created a virtual world.  On her website can be found music she's written inspired by The Raven Boys, as well as biographies and sketches.  Oh, and also this trailer she created:


She recently announced on her blog that the sequel, The Dream Thieves, will be released on 17 September 2013. Not nearly soon enough.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I borrowed this book from my local library.

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