Series Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for The Raven Boys (from Goodreads):

“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.


Series: The Raven Boys

There is a companion series in the works.

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
# of Books: 4 (The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Raven King)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: September 2012 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover & eBook


Disclaimer: I stopped reading Dream Thieves (Book 2) at 32%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Ok, I couldn’t escape this series if I tried. It’s consistently raved about in the blogosphere and I just had to add it to my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge even though I didn’t love Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls Series. But the concept was intriguing (perhaps a replacement for the void the Beautiful Creatures Series has left all these years) and all the talk had me eager to see what the hype was for.

What I Liked:

–The Mystery of the World–

The mystery of the world had me intrigued from the start of The Raven Boys. It kept me reading trying to figure out what is actually at play in this world. That intrigue reminded me a lot of the rich world of the Beautiful Creatures and definitely made me a fan of this new world.

However, will say that I did struggle with the magic/supernatural elements of the world at times. Part of the reason I was so interesting in reading was that I wanted to better understand what was actually happening! I think this is just a me thing (I was reading The Raven Boys on a road trip so I was easily distracted).

–The Friendship of the Boys–

Unlike The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series, I actually liked all of the leads here!

First, the brotherhood of the boys is fantastic! It’s nice to see such strong male relationships be the focus of the story as opposed to the romantic relationship between a boy and girl. They are all so interesting and unique and they truly make this story.

Blue is also a strong character as well. Again, I was never irritated by her or her actions so it made it easy to read her story.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Plot is so Slow!–

While the mystery of the world kept me reading, I found the plot itself to be rather slow. The beginning and end had a lot of great twists and developments but I found everything just stayed stagnant in the middle. Especially in The Dream Thieves (#2). I quickly lost interest in the nonexistent plot developments; my mind wasn’t stimulated to keep reading (even reading the complete recap on Recaptains bored me).

–Slightly Misleading Synopsis in terms of Romance–

I thought the synopsis for The Raven Boys was grossly misleading with respect to the romance. It made it seem (to me) that that story was going to be focused on Gansey and Blue fighting an inevitable love and that is far from the case.

The romance is such a minor, minor aspect to the plot (at least in the first book) so don’t expect a page consuming romance here…or at least right away. (Given the spoilers I read, I guess there are some major developments near the end of the series that will appease people).

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. I was actually reminded of my experience reading The Darkest Minds where I toughed it out because the twists near the end grabbed my attention but then I struggled through the rest of the series. I don’t want to do that again, so I am going to leave it all here and walk away.

Series Rating: DNF

The Raven Boys 3.5/5 | The Dream Thieves DNF | Blue Lily, Lily Blue N/A | The Raven King N/A


I’m definitely in the minority here but this series was just not for me. It’s a slower novel that focuses more on the characters progressing through their lives as they navigate the mysterious world around them.

Read if You Like: slower stories, magic, psychics
Avoid if You: want more romance



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Comments 6

  • I’m so sorry to hear you couldn’t get into this series! I enjoyed this so much but I get where you come from; the intrigue IS slow and it is blurbed as a romance but it doesn’t take center-stage in the first book either. I hope your next read will be better! 🙂

    • Everything just seemed so mundane to me with the plot. I needed a so much more from them. But I really do think I’m not a Stiefvater writing fan; her style just doesn’t do it for me!

  • This series will always have some of my favorite characters of all time. That said, I agree with you that it was confusing and I really didn’t understand what was going on half the time. The first time I read it I didn’t care just because I loved the characters so much, but when I re-read them leading up to the final book and was still SO confused, I lost a lot of patience for this series. Even though I gave the last book a good rating, the further away from it I get, the less impressed I am with it.
    Stephanie’s Book Reviews recently posted…Review: Trust by Kylie ScottMy Profile

    • I loved the characters but not enough to just watch them mosey through life ya know? I needed them to do something a little more.
      I find Stiefvater’s writing just isn’t for me. I’m always confused (and not in a good way) when I read her books. I think this is going to be my last attempt at reading her titles.

  • Aw, no! I’m so sorry you didn’t love The Raven Cycle, Lauren! I really, really love this series. Character driven stories are my favourite to read about, so I can see why you might have been put off if plot driven stories are more your thing. The slowness of the plot is something I really liked because it allowed me to get to know the characters and their relationships with each other so well. The Dream Thieves was probably my least favourite book (still four stars, though), and Blue Lily, Lily Blue was my favourite. If you were ever inclined to push through I would say try to get to BLLB because a more things happen. But I totally understand not wanting to continue a series that you feel isn’t a good fit for you, too!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: Sovereign by April DanielsMy Profile

    • I’m a lot more patient with first books because I understand the need for establishing everything. But The Dream Thieves seemed to be the same sort of vibe…like it wasn’t going anywhere anytime fast. And I need that drama to keep me there.

      Maybe one day I’ll pick it up again? I really did like all the characters so it’s such a shame to not see where everything goes for them. (Though I totally read all the spoilers so I know what happens–mostly–in the end).

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