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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The YA Book Community is Going to Disown Me For This Review...

Format: Audiobook (Narrated by Will Patton)
Publisher: Scholastic
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

Warning! This review is filled to the brim with SPOILERS. Read at your own risk!

This book was supposed to be my redemption. I didn't like Cinder by Marissa Meyer, so I never read the rest of the series. Then, I DNFed Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Right off the bat, two huge fandoms in the YA community that I can't be a part of already, and now . . . *whispers* I . . . don't like The Raven Boys . . .

Long before my blogging days, I used to just buy books that I heard good things about. As the years passed and these books became more and more popular, I just kept buying each of the new books in the series as it came out, all while telling myself that I will read them at some point. *sigh*

So literally every bookworm I know adores The Raven Boys. They say it's "perfection" and "filled with book boyfriends" and just overall "a magical unicorn series that you need in your life" . . .

I tried to understand why everyone loves this book. I promise you, I did! While I usually DNF at 25% when I'm not liking a book, in this case, I pushed on! I schlepped through this entire book, waiting and praying for it to get better . . . waiting for that moment of clarity, or of understanding. And yet, here we are. 

Honestly, I was completely emotionally unattached from all of the characters. I didn't understand why they were friends, or why they were on this magical quest to find this magical dead guy's body. I didn't feel any genuine emotions or problems there.

If I had to narrow my dislike to one, huge issue, I'd say that The Raven Boys was just unnecessarily overdramatic. For example, Blue has been told that if she kisses Gansey, he'll die within a year . . . but she doesn't seem to like him at all, so why is it even a problem to not kiss someone you don't even like? On the other hand, she seems to kind of like another boy from Gansey's crew—Adam—but she doesn't tell him about how her mother foretold that if she kisses anyone (just to be safe, since who knows—maybe it's not Gansey?), that could be the person who dies. And why—you ask—doesn't she tell him why she's avoiding kissing him? Well. She doesn't tell him because . . . she doesn't think he'll believe her. So in summation: these people are on a crazy quest through some creepy forest with talking trees that speak Latin while searching for a magical corpse, and THAT'S THE PART HE WON'T BELIEVE?!

And really, I want to blame the narrator—Will Patton—for my dislike of this book, but even a truly terrible narrator can't affect how a person feels about a plot and the characters of a book this intensely. HOWEVER, I will try listening to The Dream Thieves audiobook to see if I change my mind about this series, just because it's so popular that I really want to understand and grow to love it, maybe? So yes, I really hope that I will like Book 2, but I have very low expectations.

I will say that Will Patton largely contributed to me disliking this book. His voice is so raspy, and he honestly sounds like he's 60 years old, but he's narrating a teenage story! It just doesn't fit at all. Sadly though, he is the narrator for the rest of the series, and since the only way I'll have the reading time for this series is via audiobook, I am not looking forward to hearing this guy's voice again . . .

1) Blue's family was pretty interesting. I liked Persephone and Calla—they were hilarious contrasts to one-another.

2) Out of the raven boys crew, I only liked Ronan and Noah. They were the only ones I could understand for the most part.

 1) First of all, it's really clear that this book came out ages ago (a.k.a. 2012, to be clear) because it has the overdone trope of "quirky, outcast girl makes friends and potentially falls in love with privileged rich boy(s)." I had to remind myself repeatedly that this was popular back then, and that I possibly wouldn't have minded it if I had read it when it came out . . . half a decade ago.

2) I could not emotionally connect with any of the characters. I didn't understand their motivations or their feelings. I also found them all to be boring and/or irritating with only a couple of exceptions. Though to be brutally honest, I might just think I like them in contrast to the other characters, since I found the rest to be super aggravating.

3) So the raven boys are made up of Gansey—the leader, Adam—the non-rich friend, Ronan—the guy who doesn't give a shit about anything except his pet raven, and Noah—the ghost who nobody realizes is a ghost, even though he FREAKING FLAT OUT TELLS THEM ALL, but okay. Besides my obvious irritations that I've just mentioned, this group of boys are a total bromance fail. They are all supposed to be blindly loyal to Gansey, except they all give him shit when he's doing things to actually help them. BUT when he asks them to join him on dangerous quests which involve talking trees, crazed psycho murderers, and psychics—THEN they are all for it. But when Gansey is trying to keep them in school when they are getting expelled OR when he's trying to get them away from physically and emotionally abusive family members—then Gansey is somehow dubbed "an asshole." I'm sorry—what??? HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE?!?

4) The main "problem" between Blue and the raven boys is that if she kisses Gansey, he's going to die. If she kisses Adam, he might die. We're not sure. Well, as I've already said—it doesn't seem like she likes Gansey at all, so what's the issue? It all felt contrived. We only get visions of what might happen with them in the future, but there is zero chemistry between them. And as for her relationship with Adam, I felt absolutely nothing. It just seemed like two lonely people who don't want to be lonely. Oh, and Blue is the only girl around.

5) I could literally keep going for another several hours of rants, but then I'd just be tearing apart the entire book, bit by bit. So . . . I'll stop here. Please don't hate me!

“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

So what do you guys think? Are you huge fans of The Raven Boys? Is the next book much better? Do you hate me now? Let me know in the comments below! XD


  1. this is one of the books that I see everywhere and everyone basically raves about it, until today, I guess. And admittedly, I don't even know what this is about but I'm considering this because popular books attracts me. I only read the likes-dislikes part 'cause I might still read this and I'll have you in my thoughts when that happens. Thanks for the honest review, Brittany!

    1. honestly, the first book was not initially my favorite (i'd been in a reading slump for a while, along with doing tons of district testing for school, so that definitely wasn't helping things), but i pushed through the rest of the books over summer vacation because my friend and my favorite artist wete raving about the series, and fell in love. it's a bit corny and the ending was a bit rushed, but i really enjoyed the books overall.

  2. You and me, girl. We can stand alone in the corner. xD I read this first book as an arc and I was like..meh. Didn't read the rest of the series. I vaguely remember liking maybe the second half more than the first (I can't remember, actually, I'd have to revisit my review). OH, about the old man voice reading the teen story---that was the same problem I had with the narrator of Darker Shade of Magic!

    So you're not alone. And we all still ♥ you. ;*

  3. Sorry to hear you didn't love this! I can see where you're coming from because I felt this series was WAYYYY to overhyped and the start was so slow. It is mostly character driven so it takes a while to get into but I'm not such a huge fan of it as other people may be too, so you are not alone!

    xx Anisha @ <a href=">Sprinkled Pages</a>

  4. Haha, I absolutely loved this series. So I really can't help you there.. :P But the Blue + Gansey relationship will evolve, and it will be beautiful (in my opinion). Also, The Dream Thieves is mostly Ronan's book. It's strange, gives a lot of insight to Ronan as a character, builds you a new ship, and I adored it. So I hope you enjoy it if you do decide to read it (and also, I don't hate you). Great review! :)

  5. Shit happens, you can't like everything you read. I loved The Raven Boys but there are other books I don't like, that's life. I always thought that Blue felt something for Gansey from the beginning, not love but a tiny spark of something, and that's why she didn't want to kiss Adam. But maybe I got it wrong, English is only my second language.
    If you continue with The Dream Thieves, maybe you should read it, not listening to it. That might give a more intimate feeling of the book that at least I would prefer. Good luck!

  6. I get it...and people either seem to LOVE Will Patton as narrator or HATE him as narrator. I, personally, loved him and this series remains among my favorites, but Maggie's writing is definitely not for everyone. The thing with Blue and Gansey is ever-developing, so maybe you'll get it more if you do manage to read the second book. I think the series gets better with each book, but I also loved it from the very beginning. Since you liked Ronan, maybe you'll have better luck with the spin-off series she's writing about him? ;0)

  7. Well finally I see a one star review for this series. I tried reading this a long time ago and it was so dull for me. Also I heard many didn't even like the ending in the last book so maybe we're not missing much lol xD

  8. honestly I thought the raven boys was boring. but that's just me. I still can't understand how everyone is so crazy about it.

  9. Well it happens.
    I didn't like Cinder either and I am so stubborn that I tried to listen to the audiobook of the 2nd book of the series (I totally erase the title from my mind) and HATED it.
    I also didn't quite enjoy Raven Boys even if I finished the series: it's not that I didn't like it at all but it was like something was missing and the story kept drag itself for 4th book for nothing.

  10. No hate here! I love seeing reviews like this. Yes, a boom can be extremely popular and EVERYONE loves it but that's not the case. Someone in the world is going to dislike it. For example, I couldn't finish Truth Witch. I wasn't a fan. Everyone loves it but I felt so odd not liking it. This review is real and authentic and that's important. Well done!

  11. It took me SOOOOOOO long to get through this book. And the second one. I plan to read the rest of the series at some point too but I definitely do not love these books like other people seem to. I can definitely agree with a lot of the issues you mentioned, especially the ones about the boys' bromances. It also took me forever to even believe that Blue would end up hanging out with all of them as well. Also, I first tried the audio a few years ago and could not get through it at all. Reading it was a little better but still, for me at least, pretty boring. But like I said, I'll keep reading the series (mostly because I already own it since at the time I thought it would be a slam-dunk based on the reviews) and hopefully make the connection to it that everyone else seems to have. Great review!

  12. This! So much this. I never finished the first book. I just, ugh.

  13. Oh I HATED the audio. I remember I tried listening to it, but could only get about 20% into. That raspy voice was creepy. I do think that this series is super hyped. I liked the first book a lot more than you did, but I wasn't moved to join a fandom for it. Haha. Thanks for being honest!

  14. I totally understand how you feel. When I read this book, I didn't love it as much as everyone else seems to, though I did like it well enough. For me, it just seemed like not much happened. It was very slow and plodding.

    I agree with you about Blue and Gansey. Her whole destiny/curse doesn't seem a big thing in relation to him because it feels like she prefers Adam at this point.

    Noah was my favorite and even knowing ahead of time what he was, I was still sad when we learned his fate.

  15. I tried reading The Raven Boys when Maggie was on tour for Dream Thieves, and I stopped around page 70. Absolutely nothing was happening. I couldn't for the life of me tell you what transpired in those 70 pages. I keep meaning to try again, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. So I'm with you.

    Mary @ Mary Had a Little Book Blog

  16. You're totally not alone...I didn't really care for this series either and yet some how I read all of the books. I have a few other super popular books in the ya world that I didn't really care for...was as in love with them as other people *cough*likesarahjmass'sbooks*cough*.

  17. Ah, I totally agree with this review! Kudos to you for finishing the entire thing, though, I DNF'd this one pretty early on. I also promised myself I would try it again one day, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do so. I had such a hard time with the characters and the entire plot setup of this book, I just couldn't bring myself to care or put forth the effort to understand. Thanks for this great review!

  18. How DARE you?! haha just kidding. I really love these books - though I do still need to read the last one. It's cool that you didn't though. I didn't even TRY reading more big YA series, like Divergent, etc. I think Blue and Gansey make more sense as the books go on, but yay for loving Ronan. He's seriously a favorite.


  19. It's tough when you can't emotionally connect to characters. and I don't think you're alone, I'm sure there are plenty of people who were underwhelmed. I haven't read it myself so I can't say, but to be honest reading what it's about it doesn't really appeal to me. Thanks fora great review!

  20. We all are black sheep at some point in our blogging careers! I know that I have been in your shoes before. I haven't read this series either, but I do love Cinder, so maybe I will enjoy it. I can see how reading something that has tropes from the last decade might be unenjoyable. It is so hard to read a book that seems like all of the other ones. At least you gave it your best shot. I will probably try this series at some point myself and who knows? Maybe I will have the same reaction. :)

  21. I loved the series, but it is not one that I could have listened to on audiobook. Stiefvater's writing is the type that I need to read. I always took forever to pick her books up, but once I do, I'm always blown away by them. I'm with you on the Cinder series, read first two books, still not blown away. But I did love Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, haven't read any other books of hers yet though. Sorry you didn't like it. But not everyone will like every book, right? So it's okay. :-) You have a great review and totally explained your reasoning.

  22. THIS. For some reason I just didn't really enjoy this one either, so I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

  23. Um, I shall raise my hand and join you in your corner of not "getting it". So. I didn't hate the book as much as you did (or, I should say, I didn't HATE it at all, I just didn't LOVE it) but for ALL those reasons you said. Every single one! Like "oh, Gansey saved me from drowning, what a pretentious ass!" but then also "ohh Gansey wants me to follow him into some shady forest, SURE!" WHICH IS IT? Do you trust him? Not trust him? Hate him? Love him? Use him for his money and then pretend to hate his money? My bet is on that last one, tbh.

    And Blue SAYS she likes Adam but really? I have ZERO feelings that she does. Also, I hate him. Idk if I am supposed to hate him, but I do. I like Gansey though, and Blue's mom. Maybe if the next books are just about those two and some shenanigans?

    I did read Dream Thieves recently, due to peer pressure. Everyone was like "oh, this is my FAVORITE book in the series", which I suppose doesn't bode well for me reading the NEXT two books. I didn't hate DT either, it just seemed... kind of draggy, and again, I didn't get the point? I don't know if I get the point of this series at all, it seems kind of... childish to be that old, yet running around after ghosts in the woods. ::Shrugs:: (If it helps, I don't really get the fuss about Cinder either. It's just okay too.) Great review, and also, your GIF game is on point in this post!

  24. WHAAAAAT. First off. You didn't love Cinder? :( WHAT. I love that whole series more than I can say :) SO GOOD. So sad you don't feel the same way. Sniffs. <3 And ahhhhh. I'm so upset that you also didn't like The Raven Boys :( Sniffs. I love it so much. Grrrr. RUDE OF YOU :D Yet I don't blame you either, because I do hate a lot of books too, haha :) Just, yeah. So sad that you had so many issues with it :( I love these characters so much. But, I must admit, one part I HATE in these books is how crappy everyone is treating Gansey. NOT okay :( Aaaanyway. Thank you for being honest Brittany. <3 Adore you.

  25. Oh dear!!!!!!!! I want to read this one so I'm not reading your entire review but I'm SO SAD YOU DIDN'T LIKE IT!

    Isn't it awful when a hugely hyped book fails to deliver for you!???

    I just finished Strange the Dreamer and I loved it and I don't mind the Lunar Chronicles so I'm still holding out hope for this one!!

    I hope your next read works out SO much better for you!!!

  26. Lovely review, Brittany :) I'm part of the people loving this series, but I get that you had a hard time with it especially if you couldn't connect to any of the characters or feel anything special while reading - this matters a lot to me when I read a book just as well.
    I hope your next read will be better :)

  27. I agree with you a 100%. The series is kind of slow and really has a lot filler plots. The thing progressively gets worse is the female protagonist, I’m gonna need the ‘I’m different from other girls’ trope to die a thousand deaths because it really just made me dislike blue ALOT. Blue and Gansey both had non existent character development while Adam and Ronan begin to grow on you. I held out till the last book but really it was blues character getting progressively worse that was the last straw for me

  28. I really do think you’d have liked it better in non-audiobook form. I loved the Raven Boys and now I’m listening to Dream Thieves as an audiobook and I can barely get through it. The narrator is AWFUL. He horrendously overdramatizes everything and makes it sound simply silly. He makes all the characters sound obnoxious. I found this blog because I was trying to find out if anyone else felt the same way about the way he’s butchering it! He turns gorgeous, lyrical writing into sappy, choppy, overdone glurge. I can’t imagine how he was selected for this series.