The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Book Review

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

Goodreads Synopsis: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is 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 has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, 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 never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Commentary: I considered dropping this book, I really did. I really tried reading through this book and my mind kept wandering from start to finish. I have no idea how I finished either, but anyways, this book had a very good plot. I did not enjoy the author’s writing style, that was my main problem. I have to say that the book started to get interesting once I read past 100 pages or so. This story was told in multiple perspectives. The main protagonist is Blue Sargent that lives in a house full of physics, except she isn’t one. Instead, she is more like a battery and she helps the psychics get a better reading. Then there is also Gansey who is Blue’s true love and comes from a wealthy family. He doesn’t show off his wealth and luxuries, instead he prefers the supernatural and is on a quest to search for Glendower. I kept imagining a really huge Hugh Grant whenever I read Gansey’s perspective. What I appreciated about this book was that Blue didn’t immediately fall for Gansey, instead the book focused on their friendship. As a reader, it’s a given that Gansey and Blue will at some point develop romantic feelings for each other. It was interesting that Blue and Adam got together. I didn’t sense any chemistry between them; I felt that they should have been friends rather than be in a relationship. Blue kept rejecting his romantic advances (ex: Adam wanting to kiss her) even though she already knew that Gansey is her true love and not Adam. I’m not sure how it is going to be in the second book. Will it become a love triangle or not? I’m hoping that it won’t become a love triangle. I hope that Blue and Adam just break up without any drama. One of my favorite scenes from the book was discovering that Noah was a ghost. I had a feeling that there was something supernatural about him since I felt he was the least mentioned from the boys, and also because he would never talk about school with them. It was really sad knowing that he has been dead all along, and what is sadder is that none of his friends realized it. I like how it was revealed that his best friend at the time, Barrington Whelk, killed him in order to awaken the ley line, but it didn’t work. Barrington Whelk was wealthy when he was an Aglionby student until his family became broke. The best way to describe Whelk is that he is a man-child. He was spoiled and wanted to be rich again even if it meant sacrificing Noah. The sacrifice ritual did not work for him seven years prior to present. Once he discovered that Gansey was searching for the ley lines, he wanted attempt to awaken the ley lines again. I thought he was a perfect villain for the first book. He is the perfect representation of an Aglionby boy according to how Blue used to see them as. Ronan grew on me because at first I thought he was violent and had anger issues, and needed therapy, but later on its revealed that he cares deeply for his friends and would do anything for them. Now near the ending of the book had me shocked when he says to his friends that he pulled Chainsaw, the raven, from his dreams. What?! I wanted to know more about Ronan’s power, and hopefully there’s more to him in the second book. Lastly, there’s Adam. I liked him, I really did, but then towards the ending of the book I was like “Adam why?” I felt that he was the opposite of Whelk, Adam felt that he had to work hard in order to be successful. He was very prideful and stubborn to accept help coming from Gansey. There was so much going on the book that I can’t even describe it all in one review. It was creepy and scary, but I couldn’t get over how descriptive the author’s writing style was. I did like the plot, and I might continue reading this series just because there are still many unanswered questions such as what happened to Ronan’s father, does Blue’s father have psychic abilities, will Neeve return, what happens to Adam now that he has sacrificed his free will, and so on.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

“An angel sat on one shoulder, a devil on the other. Both of them wore my face.”

It’s been such a long time since I’ve completed a trilogy. Today I finished the last book to the Mara Dyer Series. It’s not my favorite series, but it was an entertaining at some parts and frustrating at other parts. I read all three books on my kindle, but I would not buy the physical books as beautiful as the covers may be. Many of the booktubers I follow loved the series, but I really tried my best and I did find it a tad overrated. I’d like to apologize in advanced, since this review will have spoilers, so you have been warned! Let’s get on with the review!

Goodreads synopsis:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.

There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.

She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.

She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

  • What I liked:

    – This book was gruesome and Mara was like an assassin!!!
    – Mara, Jaime, and Stella breaking out of Horizons together
    – That whole road trip to New York
    – Dr. Kells having the mutation G1821, but she was not an active carrier.
    – Daniel finally believing Mara. It was one of the best moments when Daniel realized that his sister was not crazy the whole time.
    – Finding all that evidence of Dr. Kells experiments. I liked how Jaime, Daniel, Mara, and Stella all teamed up
    – Learning about how many boys Dr. Kells had to kill in order to get results. Jude was the only one to have survived the tests while others died.
    – I thought Jude was dying in the beginning of the book, did not expect him to show up again near the end. He really made the book interesting.
    – Reunion with Noah
    – Chapters with Noah’s perspective
    – Mara and Noah finally being with each other, despite what anyone said
    – I love Jamie and Daniel; they are my favorite characters in the whole series.

    What I disliked:

    – No epic fight between Mara and David Shaw
    – David Shaw just disappeared as quickly as he appeared in the books.
    – The pregnancy test
    – Some parts were slow.
    – Why did Stella have to go? Why?
    – Noah appeared way to late in the book.
    – Dr. Kells died to soon, it would have been cool if she had escaped Horizons and then battled Mara later on in the book.
    – Mara’s “death”, though I like Mara and Noah as a couple, I would have loved the book much more if Mara had died. It was really sad when Mara chose death in order to save the ones she loved. It was such a heartbreaking scene, and I thought that was going to be the end of the story. I feel that she would have died as a hero if she stayed dead, while Noah would have continued to live on.
    – I wish the epilogue took place years later instead of a couple days later

Final Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about the series. I loathed the first book, the second book was the best, and the final book was a bit exciting, but definitely better than the first book. I was more excited to read about her grandma and how the past and present sort of merged together. Mara was much more violent in this book, but she had to do what she had to do. She tried to get rid of her villains, but she did not have to rely on her power. I was not expecting Mara to become physically violent, which was a bit alarming. She was not the same girl from the second book. During the whole journey to New York, I thought Mara was becoming mentally unstable since she was weak and she would listen to her reflection. When Mara decided to cut her stomach, I seriously thought she was ill, but it was revealed that two small drugs were stuck in her stomach thus making her feel weak and stopping her from using her power. For the climax, I thought there was going to be a huge fight near the end of the book when Noah’s father, David Shaw finally made an appearance. It was revealed that David was the one responsible for hiring Dr. Kells and funding her experimentations. I was not that surprised to know he was the one behind everything, I had a feeling since the second book that he had to be the bigger villain. I really did enjoy seeing the flashbacks of Mara’s grandmother. Again, I did have a feeling that Abel Lukumi was the professor and the grandfather of Mara. I do like his power, which I believe is immortality. After the whole Mara “dies” and Noah “dies” scene, I really wanted to finished the book and not in a good way. It took me a while to get to the end of the book, but I finished. I liked the last sentence of the book: “My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something”.

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆ 😶

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Book Review

“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.”

Hello readers, I just finished the second book to the Mara Dyer trilogy. I really had low expectations of the book, but I was wrong about this book. I am currently reading the Retribution of Mara Dyer and I will post my review of the last book once I finish reading!

 Cover: Lovely cover!

Goodreads Synposis:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Characters:

Mara: I really like Mara. I felt bad for her in this book. She kept trying to get better and pass off as “normal”, you could really tell that she loves her family. It was heartbreaking to know that she was seen as psychotic and broken, even though it’s revealed to the readers that she’s not. She was stronger in this book than the first book. Though Jude kept torturing her throughout the novel, she managed to overcome many obstacles. It was heartbreaking reading about her struggle to overcome her past demon. I still love Mara’s family. They are really supportive of her and try to do what is best for her, even though they don’t know she’s different from them. I did like how the author had two Maras in the book, one being the protagonist, and the other being her grandma who happened to have the same power as her. I hope more of her grandmother’s past gets revealed in the final book.

Noah: I grew to love Noah in the second book, and he didn’t come out as too over the top for me in this novel. He really loves Mara and tries to help her whatever way he can. I felt really bad for Noah whenever he blamed himself when Mara got hurt. If Noah weren’t there for Mara, I don’t think that she would be strong enough to overcome her guilt and remorse. I did enjoy the moments he and Mara shared; they definitely grew stronger as a couple. In the first book, he really annoyed me and I couldn’t stand his character, but now, this book changed my perspective of Noah. Before reading the second book, I had low expectations for Noah and I was wrong. Lastly, Noah can’t be dead. He just can’t. I just have to wait for the last book to know what happens! This is my favorite Noah Shaw quote (I can’t believe I actually have one): “If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”

Jude: There is only way I can describe Jude, he’s just insane. He was creepy throughout the novel. He kept trying to make Mara seem insane and kept haunting her. I really did not like Jude. He kept trying to avenge his sister, even though it was impossible. I had a feeling that he had a power like Noah and Mara. He was terrible, but he was a pawn and was being used. I still don’t feel sorry for him, because he made Mara suffer mentally and physically. I didn’t like that he lied and used Phoebe as a pawn in his revenge plan, but then again, I didn’t like Phoebe.

Dr. Kells: I knew something was off about her. I did not see that twist coming at all. I thought she was a bit creepy, but I did not expect her to know that Jude was alive nor aid him in capturing Mara. Secondly, I can’t believe that she lied about the program to Mara and her parents. The twist really threw me off, but it made the second book so much better. I like her as the villain and I can’t wait for the final installment.

Why I liked it: Yes, this book was over the top, but it still had its elements of surprise and creepiness. Mara tried to be normal and things were looking up for her. Her family was starting to not worry as much for her, but the events that took place didn’t allow for that. I did like that part of the book where Mara gets her fortune told and I do believe what the fortune teller told her was true: “You will love him to ruins.” Secondly, I loved the doll and the background story. It made this book super interesting. I wanted to know why Mara’s grandma and Noah’s mother had matching pendants. I hope I could get answers to how those two are connected. Then there’s Abel Lukumi, how did he know what hospital Mara was at? Was he a hallucination? (I doubt it, but I hope he returns in the final book). I had a feeling Stella was going to be unique, but I was surprised when reading that Jamie also carried the same gene as the others. I want to know Jamie and Stella’s power. Lastly, I can’t wait to read the last book.

My final rating is ★★★★☆. 😌

P.S.: I feel this song describes the book perfectly.