This book was really good and I'm kind of glad I'm just getting around to reading this series because I won't have to agonize for the next release. Yay for that.
Initially, I was inclined to give the book five stars. Its has characters I'm falling in love with, a good plot, enough mystery and eeriness to keep me hooked, and the writing is engaging. Unfortunately, just the fact that I started reading this book several times and kept putting it down with a feeling of "meh", not being able to get past chapter one for the longest time, and then when I did I had to force myself to pull through the first half of it, is enough to take one star off my rating.
Don't get me wrong, the book REWARDS all those slow chapters at the beginning with some great moments, but I keep thinking it took me WAY too long to finish this. I think a lot of time was spent on unnecessary descriptions and we didn't really need that POV with Whelk, in fact, it kind of took away a little of the element of surprise from that scene where my mind was supposed to be blown away by a certain revelation. It was very underwhelming.
Speaking of Whelk, did anyone else feel he was one of the blandest characters ever written about? He didn't move me in ANY sort of way. He plain sucked as a character and at what the intention of his character in this book was. I felt nothing but slightly annoyed that his POV was shoved down my throat and never really added anything to the actual plot. We could have done without it, thank you very much.
Anyway, on to the good stuff.
This is one of those popular series you can't escape hearing about at some point or another. For the longest time I stupidly believed I wouldn't like it, mostly because several reviews gave me the impression that there was a love-triangle situation going on in there and my immediate reaction was that of any other person who despises love triangles, I even took it off my tbr list; it didnt help knowing that the main characters were one girl and four other boys and this put a weird reverse-harem image in my mind that I just couldn't shake off. Short story, I was being very judgmental and paranoid about my hatred for love triangles that I didn't even think of giving the book a chance for moooonths, even as it kept popping up as a suggested reads and people raved about it on social media.
First off, for any other person out there who is like me and despises and fears love triangles, let me tell you, this is a safe read. There's no love trangle bs at least not in this FIRST book, there's are hints for a different relationship (if it can be called that) than the one we saw in this book, but I'm not getting vibes that an actual love triangle might happen. I'm not even afraid anymore.
SO HAVE NO FEAR, YOU CAN GO INTO THIS BOOK AND BE ASSURED THAT THERE WILL BE NO LOVE TRIANGLE / LOOK AT ALL THESE BOYS I HAVE A CRUSH ON- FUCKERY IN HERE.
Now that that's settled, let me tell you about the characters.
The Raven Boys were SO NOT what I expected. And this is good, considering I expected a bunch of rich, condescending assholes that would treat Blue as a piece of meat at first before finally understanding that she is a person and treating her as a friend. (No, I'm not jaded, what? *snorts*)
Man was I wrong. These guys are precious... mostly. They are in no way perfect but I loved each of their personalities for different reasons. I loved that their friendship came before anything else. I loved those moments between Ronan and Gansey and Adam where what they meant to each other was what mattered the most. I loved how they had each other's backs and how Blue was included into the group as another one of them, nothing more, nothing less (at least for 90% of them, lol) and that she wasn't treated as a "girl". Oh God, it felt so, so good reading about them spending time together.Blue-
I'm not sure Blue (name aside) is the most original female character I've ever read about. Sometimes it felt like the author tried too hard to make me like her or make her stand out from all those other YA independent female characters. It wasn't necessary, I like Blue very much and I like reading about her fashion choices, the way her room is decorated, and I appreciate how she is able to stand up to others if the situation requires it. But again, I feel the author tried too hard to sell this quirky, strong female character to me. (I do looooooove her hair though)Gansey-
Gaaaaaansey took me out of my denial and I finally added a book boyfriend shelf to my library, screw what anybody thinks, my book crushes deserve a shelf, gdi. I have a thing for book boys/men that are rays of sunshine. I can't help it. Off with the heads of the typical brooding heroes with troubled pasts and shitty attitudes. I like optimistic, sunny, smart, funny and patient heroes whose friends are their priority, whose ego can take a hit or two or more for the sake of friendship, who actively try to fix their flaws and don't act all defensive when somebody points them out them. This, all of this, is Gansey and I couldn't ask for more.Ronan-
I wasn't too keen on Ronan, his behavior was everything I couldn't stand. Aggressive, taking everything for granted, combative, rude and eager to start a fight. It took me a while to understand why Gansey is friends with Ronan, maybe I'm still not exactly sure how that happened, but I can see why it works. Ronan may be an ass most of the time but he is a true and loyal friend and I respect that. He definitely won extra points the moment Chainsaw made an appearance.Noah-
Ah, my sweet child. I love Noah and I don't know how to explain it because he took a backseat to most of what happened in the book. He was just there, quiet and all-knowing. I love him and I'm not sure why. Could be the way he's so gentle with Blue, how he pats her hair and lets her hug him. Could be his tragic past or how calming his presence in scenes is to me. It probably makes no sense, but I love him and that's it.Adam-
Yeah... No. I'm sorry, I'm sure this boy has a lot of fangirls out there and maybe he'll grow on me in the next books (hopefully), but fuck his wannabe morally superior ass. Yeah, I just said that of poor, abused, hard-working Adam. THIS is what I was talking about with the brooding hero. Although Adam is nothing of the sort at first and he seems sweet and gentle and so very nice, he really is not. It's just a front he puts up mostly for Blue's benefit, but he's a real jerk of a friend. I TRULY sympathize with his situation, no one deserves a life like his; I also admire how diligent he is, but having it hard doesn't give you the right to be an asshole to your friend just because he happens to be rich and have it "easy". I got SO SICK of Adam's pity-party that by the end of it I was hoping Gansey would set him straight once and for all. This went for Blue a couple of times, being "poor" or having it rough doesn't give you the right to treat people who apparently have it better like crap for being who they are. I hate this whole "poor person who has it hard has a right to bully the rich person and act superior" narrative that some authors use. Your life can suck and you can still be an asshole.
I don't think Gansey deserved feeling like shit for Adam's insecurities. It was NOT FAIR for Adam to throw Gansey's good intentions and kindness in his face. I got tired of Adam feeling this right to get on his high horse whenever his sensibilities were even slightly perturbed.
Yes, Gansey could be a jerk without realizing it, he was way too casual about money that I understand it being offensive to other characters, BUT HE GOT CALLED OUT ON IT AND HE ACTIVELY TRIED TO CORRECT HIS BEHAVIOR. It wasn't like Gansey didn't take other people's complaints seriously. Hell, at the end of the book he was so scared of saying or doing the wrong thing he let Adam walk all over him and he thought it was HIS OWN fault things were going to hell.
So no, fuck that, Adam. I hope sometime in the future you are able to sit your butt down and reflect on your shitty behavior and eventually apologize for being an asshole to your friend who did nothing but love you and try to help out.
Also, and this needs to be addressed, Adam wanting to find Glendower so he can level the field between him and Gansey and co. makes no sense. Doesn't he take pride in wanting to get everything he wants through his own means and a lot of hardwork? But suddenly he's okay with getting everything granted to him through miracles and magic. Pft. Hypocrite.
*deep breaths* Wow... I didn't realize how much I did not like Adam.
Aaaaaanyway. I cannot wait to start reading the second book, I want to read more about Blue's family (especially Neeve, what even is she, what are her intentions? I have so many questions); Ronan's totally out of nowhere confession at the end of this book and the role Chainsaw might play in the future; Noah (just give me more Noah); and Gansey's quest. I also want Blue to finally let Gansey and the others know about the whole death prediction thing. Come oooon already.