Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Reviews

The Raven Boys

by Maggie Stiefvater

Library Copy

(****)

cover, young adult, series, fantasy books

Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble.

—Synopsis courtesy of the author’s website.

The Raven Boys, like every other Maggie Stiefvater novel, was highly anticipated by librarians, readers, and booksellers alike. I knew next to nothing about it, but requested it at my library nonetheless. I hadn’t liked her last book, The Scorpio Races, very much even though the premise was wonderful. With The Raven Boys I enjoyed it far better, as the pace wasn’t muddled and the plot lines were much clearer.

As with all of Maggie Stiefvater’s writings, again with this one I felt “something” was missing from the prose. I have yet to pin down exactly what that “something” is, but I had noticed that it was missing when I read the Shiver series, and again with the Scorpio Races. The closest that I could possibly say that “something” would be is a fullness of character, and character settings. Like there are only four or five characters in the entire world throughout each book, and no other life exists outside of this little world inside the book. Where in their world there are no grocers or bankers, or families or other friends in school, or secondary characters that might add a fuller sense of place.

The one book of hers that I noticed had a bit more fullness than the others was Linger, and mainly that had to do with Cole St. Clair’s storyline adding to the Grace and Sam storyline.

The premise of The Raven Boys was unique, and not something you usually see in today’s Young Adult Fiction market. With that being said, I cannot wait for my copy of The Dream Thieves, the second book in the Raven Cycle.

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Book Trailer Thursday! “Struck” by Jennifer Bosworth

Book Trailer Thursday, Weekly Features

Once Upon a Twilight

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 “Struck” by Jennifer Bosworth

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“Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue

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“Forever” by Maggie Stiefvater

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Starcrossed

Josephine Angelini

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Entwined

Heather Dixon

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What Happened To Goodbye

Sarah Dessen

Review: Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom

Book Reviews

“Small Blue Thing”

By S.C. Ransom

 

Publication Date: January 13th, 2011

Nosy Crow

Complimentary  Review Copy

Overall Grade: 4 out of 5 stars (****)

 

Celebrating the end of exams with best friend Grace, 17 year-old Alex rescues a swan caught on a wire in the Thames mud and finds an extraordinary bracelet. Through its disturbing and compelling powers, she finds Callum, a soul locked in a half-life of sadness and mystery following a terrible accident, and his persuasive and sinister sister, Catherine. As Alex and Callum grow closer despite the enormous obstacles to their love, the dangers mount until Alex must risk everything to save Grace and Callum must risk everything to save Alex.

  Synopsis Courtesy of Nosy Crow

This was a refreshing read by a debut author from England. Having written the first draft almost entirely on her Blackberry on her way to and from work in London, S.C. Ransom did an excellent job with the concept of this young adult novel.

The plot tended to drag at points, filled with unnecessary minutiae of everyday life that could have been skipped to keep the story moving. The conversations between characters were jilted and stiff for the majority of the book, and the romance between Callum and Alex blossomed too quickly, but their unique relationship was compelling enough for me to keep reading.

I was intrigued by the Dirges, and the mystery surrounding their connection to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city of London, and the Thames. I hope to see more of their history, and Callum’s own background in the rest of the trilogy.

My final impression of Small Blue Thing was, although clearly from a newer writer, she did a great job with the plot twists and turns, the concept of the amulet and Dirges, and the ending left the reader surprised—and eager to read what will happen next. I look forward to the release of the second book in the series, Perfectly Reflected, in June 2011 from Nosy Crow.

Note: This book was received as a Complimentary Review Copy from Nosy Crow.

Review:”Jane” by April Lindner

Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

 

“Jane” by April Lindner

 

Publication Date: October 11, 2010

Little, Brown & Co., Poppy Imprint

Complimentary Advance Review Copy

Listing Price: $17.99

Ages 15 & up.

Overall Grade: 4 out of 5 stars (****)

 

 

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. 

But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers. 

Synopsis Courtesy of Amazon.com 

This book had me at “hello.” After glancing at the new Young Adult listings on Amazon.com I was immediately intrigued. A retelling of Jane Eyre? I received an ARC within a few days, and finished the book in under two days, glued as I was to the page.

I haven’t read the original Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte yet, so I was truly interested in how this book would be since I was a fresh reader without the prejudices or bias to the original work.

Jane Moore was an interesting character to watch on her journey from dead-broke college student to a rock musician’s nanny. She was a bit quiet, in that her character didn’t speak her mind too much and I hoped she would gain more confidence and strength than what was “told” on the page instead of shown. I imagine this was partly due to the character constraints of the original novel.

I really liked Thornfield Park and the image of the house and grounds were very distinct and had a moodiness to it that made the reader believe that something wasn’t quite right about it.

Nico Rathburn was a great Byronic character, moody, rich, narcissistic and self-absorbed—the bad guy all of the girls want and his interaction with his daughter was sweet and innocent, similar to the interaction between Mr. Darcy and Georgiana Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

This book kept me glued to the pages, and although the narrative was periodically interrupted with already-outdated pop culture references like the original Conan O’Brien show, its lyrical and eloquent style felt true to the original book’s time period. It truly made me want to rush out and buy the original Jane Eyre, which I believe is a great thing this book can do.

April Lindner is a fresh talent with a knack for interpretation of the classics, and who knows what she might write next? A retelling of Wuthering Heights, maybe?… In any case, April Lindner is a welcome sight in the YA genre that is overflowing with zombie, werewolf, and vampire stories.

 

Watch the book trailer for “Jane” by April Lindner below!

 

 

Note: This book was a complimentary Advanced Review Copy courtesy of Little, Brown Books for Children, Poppy Imprint. Publication Date: October 11, 2010