In which Luna recommends a YA novel and Andy actually reads it. And becomes immediately, hopelessly, irrevocably, addicted.
Luna: This is why you should never question my recs. Between this and The Lunar Chronicles, I am made of awesome suggestions.
Andy: Cap’n! Iceberg ahead!! Ahem, by which I mean spoilers. Yes – lots of spoilers.
Some context – *texts between Luna and Andy*
Genre: Young Adult/fantasy? Also mythology, I guess due to dead kings.
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Raven Cycle
How did I get this book: Bought
Luna: THE BLURB LIES!
Andy: Agreed. Based on the blurb I wouldn’t have read this book. It sounds like YA chick-lit romance trash (no offence, Luna)
Luna: Lol, I thought the same. It’s why I didn’t pick it up sooner. It skips over all the important parts of the book. The search for lost welsh kings. The co-dependent relationships. Awesome psychic family. The sarcasm.
Andy: And the awesome friendship brigade
Luna: Utterly. Who doesn’t want a random group of friends to go out questing with?
Luna: So, a better summary would be…Andy, you take this. You’re funnier than me.
Andy: Blue is perpetually unimpressed with her new rag-tag group of friends (all of whom are deeply damaged, it’s not even funny) who are seeking the long dead Welsh King who may grant a wish to the one who wakes him. A holy grail quest involving the promised death of someone she loves. ARTHURIAN DRAMA with psychics?
Luna: That’s….weirdly accurate.
- Feminist. Short. V. eclectic wardrobe. Can be quite judgemental. Also sassy and has very funny lines.
- Very pragmatic. I love that in a character. Especially since she’s surrounded by psychics and she is the only non-seer in her family.
- Her down to Earthness is a nice contrast. But she’s a mirror – so she enhances other people’s powers. This is a bit frustrating for her. She lives in a world of magic without being inherently magical herself. It would be like a Squib being allowed to attend Hogwarts.
Richard ‘Dick’ Gansey III aka Gansey
- V. posh. Loafers. Has zero concept of money. Literally. He frequently says and does the wrong thing in relation to it. Open mouth, insert expensive shoes.
- Accidentally treats Blue as a prostitute.
- Pfft, that was so funny. XD
- Gansey is obsessed with finding a mythological King Glendower he believes to be in a magical sleep, hidden somewhere in Virginia. Glendower is the reason he is in Henrietta, at Aglionby school. Supposedly whoever wakes the king will be given a reward. Gansey however doesn’t seem to be focused on that part as much as the finding itself.
- Gansey had a near death experience – he is allergic to bee stings and was attacked by hornets. He died but heard a voice telling him that he would live, because someone else on the ley line was dying when they should not, so he would live when he should not. Gansey attributes this voice to Glendower. And the obsession is born.
- I wouldn’t usually like a character like Gansey but he’s so adorkable and sweet that it’s hard not to adore him.
- Guy who can and will rob you. And you’ll like it.
- Guy like Ronan? Yeah, I wouldn’t complain. Might be oddly turned on. But is also a cinnamon roll. Cause hello he cares for Chainsaw (baby raven) endlessly? Who else feeds a baby bird every two hours.
- Ronan is basically Snow White with tattoos and a bad racing habit.
- Also he adores his little brother. Adores! (I’m gonna agree with that ‘oddly turned on’ comment.)
- Ronan is a…well-meaning asshole. It wasn’t until The Dream Thieves that I started to adore him. He reminds me of Dean Winchester a little bit. Full of vices and sarcasm and prickly bits…but actually really precious and loves his brother and is protective of his friends and SOMEONE WHO NEEDS TO BE WRAPPED IN A BLANKET AND FED TEA AND BISCUITS. He wouldn’t let me but I can dream.
- Coca cola t-shirt. Describes people as heart attacks when he’s attracted to them.
- Complicated parental relationship…as in his father’s fists often maintain a complicated physical relationship with Adam’s face/back/stomach.
- Muchly. You feel very protective of Adam. And I was pretty pleased when Ronan punched Adam’s dad.
- But he is also an excellently realised character as well. He does things I don’t approve of but is he so clearly a product of his environment; struggling to maintain his autonomy at all costs, struggling to put himself through private school despite being born in a trailer, struggling with the abuse and how he feels about his parents, struggling to be himself and not what his parents or best friends want him to be. It’s a tough gig.
- He’s an asshole in the next book but rightly so. That’s a lot to deal with and then he’s suddenly a forest magician? TOO MUCH PRESSURE. He gets better though. (and I’m gonna say he really really REALLY earns his happy ending at the end of Raven King.)
- I’m glad! But that sounds…ominous.
- Oh honey, you have no idea. This shit will break your heart first. Adam is probably my favourite of the four boys.
- Cinnamon roll. Also dead. Cassandra truth!
- “I’ve been dead for seven years.”
- He kept telling them and no one noticed! I think I’d notice if my friends never ate…
- They noticed that he refused to eat in their company, but to be fair, they’re a bunch of extreme weirdos so I’m really not surprised they didn’t notice. And they still love him anyway.
- Very true. Even though he’s dead that doesn’t stop them loving him. They actually worry/support/love him as they would any other member of the group. This continues throughout all four books.
The inhabitants of 300 Fox Way (or as I like to call them ‘Psychics R Us’): Maura, Calla, Persephone, Blue, Neeve and sundry others.
- Momma Blue – a single parent who has never told Blue anything about her Father. She does love and support her daughter pretty well. She has an interesting parenting style. Probably me as a parent tbh.
- She’s very chill. But you’d expect that from a psychic. And she named her kid BLUE.
- Sassmeister! Best of the three. Made of awesome. Touch psychic.
- Agree, Calla for the win. Calls Ronan the ‘Snake.’
- Odd and dreamy. Very pale. Estonian.
- Much more relevant in later books. Tis an awesome lady. Vaguely Luna Lovegood dreamy and helpful.
- Tall. Sex appeal. Blue’s cousin (Maura is her aunt).
- Chats on the psychic phone line and the way she does it makes me think of another phone line.
- Maura’s half-sister. She has her own psychic TV show and is pretty famous. She returns to Henrietta and Maura asks for her help in locating Blue’s father.
- IS ALSO VERY SUSPECT. I DO NOT TRUST HER.
Romance isn’t such a big thing in this book. There’s murder and magical forests and ravens: who has the time?
We have hints though. Gansey appears to non-psychic Blue in the graveyard on St Mark’s eve. According to Neeve, this means he is either her true love or she will kill him…and as it’s Blue, most likely both.
Adam takes a shine to Blue. Gansey sticks his foot in it by attempting to be a wing man and insinuates that Blue is a prostitute. Ronan is prickly for…reasons.
As far as meeting soul mates go, it’s a bit sketchy.
Andy: Have I mentioned how much I love mythology? Especially Celtic and Welsh mythology? Well, I do. I also adore legends surround King Arthur, the knights of the round table, the quest for the Holy Grail…all of that.
If they’d mentioned even one word about Gansey’s quest to find a mythical sleeping Welsh King, I’d have snapped this book up in a heartbeat.
Now that I think about it, Gansey’s search for King Glendower is a Holy Grail quest; complete with fellow knights, tests of courage and loyalty, loss and, of course, magic. Ooo and trees! That speak Latin!
Luna: I know nothing of anything mythological and celtic but the quest is fabulous regardless. Long dead king who can be awakened for wishes? YAAS.
Andy: Blue would make for an interesting take on Genevieve – doomed to love what she can never have.
Luna: Cause he’s doomed. But y’all knew that, it’s literally on the back of the book.
Andy: At first Blue hates Gansey – hates what he represents, hates the way he treats money as if it means nothing, the way he speaks. She’s drawn to Adam though.
Luna: Can you blame her? He’s adorable.
Andy: Ahem. But yes, they’re pretty similar with regards to money etc. Both are pretty proud and stubborn so it makes sense at first. But maybe opposites attract for a reason…? And at first Adam is at a disadvantage because he doesn’t know Blue’s secret, only Gansey does. #ArthurianDrama #HowFarCanCanIStretchThisAnalogy
Luna and Andy’s Thoughts
Luna: So…I picked up this book in a charity shop after the worst and most humiliating interview of my life. It was in really good condition, the cover was cute and even though the blurb didn’t sound that interesting, I’d heard a lot about this series on Booktube that suggested there was more to it than meets the eye.
AND OH MY GOD, WAS THERE. This is why I usually read the first page or so when I find an interesting book because blurbs aren’t always useful or truthful. This blurb in no way gives an accurate description of this book. The sarcasm, the feels, the friendship, myths and legends….It’s basically everything I look for in a book.
As we’ve been working on this review for so long, I actually reread the Raven Boys recently, with the intent of rereading them all for these reviews (I’m now on Blue Lily, Lily Blue.) And going back to the beginning, the amount of foreshadowing is ridiculous. No lie. I actually laughed out loud when Gansey went to wake Ronan in the church. The way it was phrased…everything really was planned out from the beginning and I just couldn’t believe it.
Also if this review got too much and too rambley for you here’s my TLDR: I will never stop pushing this book into people’s faces and telling them to read it.
So this is the review we’ve been working on for the last six months. It took us a long time…and we’re not sure why. We intend to do the last three books as shocker – these are books we actually both like and have in common. It doesn’t happen often so we intend to make use of it. Please look out for several more gushing posts about welsh kings and how we’d quite like to be robbed by Ronan.