Being Re-Amazed by Maggie Stiefvater & The Raven Boys

Six years ago, C said “you need to read The Raven Boys” and I said “okay” and then ignored her suggestion.

Then she said “have you read it yet?” and I said “no.” and she said “when?” and I said “soon.” but I meant “I have no plans to read this.” and she knew it.

So then she said “here. I checked it out of the library for you to read.” and I said “fine.”

I didn’t read it.

The due date came and went and I realized I was costing her money, so I said (very helpfully) “I’ll return it for you!”

During my morning commute, my subway stopped and I resigned myself to a long delay, only to realize that I didn’t have any books on my person except for one. This one.

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A theme is identified very early in the book.

“Coincidence?” Ronan asked. “I think not.”
It was meant to be sarcastic. Gansey had said I don’t believe in coincidences so often that he no longer needed to.

My relationship with The Raven Boys is full of coincidence. The book opens on April 24th, St. Mark’s Eve. The day is significant to the story, and the characters acknowledge that no one else in the world cares about this day (“No one celebrated St. Mark’s Day, not even St. Mark’s mother”).

Guess what day I started reading this book? April 24th. Except that April 24th is significant to me, because it’s M1’s birthday. And six years ago, M2-M4 didn’t exist yet, Dom and I weren’t married, I lived with Koop and M1 and we had no money and small celebrations were our only celebrations and on April 24th we were celebrating M1’s birthday.

More coincidence: as I started reading the book, I realized that even though Henrietta is a fictional place, the setting felt like home. I won’t delve into it, but suffice it say, I basically grew up in Henrietta. A fictional place.

Finally, through a series of weird twists, the author actually ended up emailing Dee, who emailed me and said “hey do you know who this author is” and I said “OMG THAT’S THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK I’M OBSESSED WITH” and it was the greatest day of my life.

There’s more, but it’s really irrelevant. Coincidence, because it’s not.

***the following contains spoilers for The Raven Boys***

I don’t want to be TOO spoiler-y, but the rest of this post is for people who have finished all four books. The only spoilers are about The Raven Boys. 

I remember how revoltingly excited I was to read The Raven King and then I finished it and I was like: wtf. I had a lot of questions. They were not answered. And then I realized I didn’t really care about those questions that I had because I was so excited about what happened to the characters. But I did have questions and those questions didn’t feel like they had answers.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally re-read the series. Except I only re-read The Dream Thieves and The Raven King because I love Ronan Lynch the way Ronan loves street racing and explosions and why would I waste time with other things when I could read The Story Of Ronan Lynch: As Told By Ronan Lynch.

So recently, when C and I were in Ireland, I finished reading some books and my holds hadn’t come through and what do you know I could check out an ebook of The Raven Boys and even though my TBR pile is out of control sometimes when you’re in the land of magic and kings you just want to read about magic and kings. Also Mercury was in retrograde.

AND GUESS WHAT I REALIZED ALL THE ANSWERS WERE IN THE FIRST BOOK ALL ALONG. DID YOU GUYS KNOW THIS???

I don’t want to be too explicit here, because Maggie isn’t too explicit and these books aren’t too explicit and I don’t want to disrespect the process. But remember when Noah says “I’ve been dead for seven years” and you just keep reading and then later you find out he’s been dead for seven years and he says “I told you, I told everyone.”

Re-reading The Raven Boys made me feel like Maggie was tweeting at me “I told you, I told everyone.”

It’s Persephone saying “Also, it’s taking him forever to find this thing. You’d have already found it.” And then “I think you’d better find out if it’s true, don’t you?”

Then there’s Whelk, who knew about the ley line and the ritual and St. Mark’s Eve, stealing Gansey’s journal and “he skimmed, skimmed, skimmed, thinking it was unrelated, until he realized the case Gansey was making for tying the two elements together: Glendower and the ley line.”

And there’s what happened seven years ago: “You will live because of Glendower. Someone else on the ley line is dying when they should not, and so you will live when you should not.”

And favors. Always the favors.

Originally, I planned on making this a review of The Raven Boys, but it’s not a review. It’s a PSA. If you finished The Raven King and you have questions, go re-read The Raven Boys.

And if you’ve never read The Raven Boys then you’re missing out on the greatest adventure ever and you really need to read it before Call Down the Hawk comes out this fall, on November 5th, which is Guy Fawkes Day,  and also M4’s birthday. Coincidence.

Safe as life.

-M

 

 

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