I’m interested that you had problems getting into The Raven Boys, because I just devoured the whole thing in under 24 hours. I was hooked pretty much from page one, which was really shocking to me because (as I think you know) I have not been a fan of Stiefvater’s work in the past. Was there anything in particular that stopped you from getting into it, or were you just in the wrong frame of mind for it?
On to specifics. I, too, was gobsmacked by Noah’s ghosthood, but not by the fact that there was a secret about Noah. I thought it was pretty clear that Stiefvater was hiding something about him–there were too many times when he . . . disappeared (!) while the other three boys were off doing something important. But I thought it would be that he was going to turn out to be a bad guy of some sort. I too noted the “I’ve been dead for seven years” line, but thought it was just a wry joke of the kind that a somewhat depressive teen might make (btw, I don’t have my copy right now, but I seem to recall that when they find out that Noah is a ghost there is a certain amount of calculation on Noah’s part to figure out that it’s been seven years–is this a continuity error, or am I wrong?).
Like you, I was very impressed with the character of Gansey (among others – Maura and the aunts were all well-drawn, as were Blue, Adam, and Ronan). That line about three- and four-syllable words rang really true for me: I have often gotten in trouble with people thinking I am being overly pretentious or purposely talking above them by using “big” words, so I know exactly what Gansey was talking about in being ashamed of himself for it.
I’m a little surprised that you think the book stands by itself apart from the coming sequels. I certainly don’t hold it against the book that it is the first in a series (and I would definitely defend it in an awards argument against that charge), but I thought when compared to some of the other “first” books we’ve been talking about this year (I’m thinking specifically of Seraphina and The Diviners), this was the one that left the most open questions. Aside from the fact that I will read anything Libba Bray or Rachel Hartman has to offer, I would be perfectly happy if either of them decided not to write a sequel. With Raven Boys, I think the sequel is required.
So now that I’ve finished reading the Pyrite Printz shortlist (and reread four of them), here’s my preliminary ranking of the ten titles (we’ll see how the discussion changes my mind):
- Brides of Rollrock Island
- Ask the Passengers
- The Diviners
- Code Name Verity
- The Drowned Cities
- The Raven Boys
- The Fault in Our Stars
- Every Day
But, speaking of Seraphina – yay Morris Award! There was apparently a lot of speculation as to whether Hartman was eligble (something about some self-published material? I really don’t care about those kinds of issues enough to have looked into it) so I’m glad they decided it was. I have not yet read any of its competitors for the Morris, although I failed miserably in an attempt to read After the Snow, and read maybe a chapter of Cameron Post. Probably not going to go back to those. But I have been looking for an excuse to read Wonder Show, so I guess this is it. The last title, Love and Other Perishable Items, I only have heard of because I ordered a copy for my library. Didn’t even remember that it was a debut. I’ll definitely be taking a look at that one.
Other than that, it seems that I am wrapping up my reading for the year. I’m already well on my way into 2013, by virtue of my various reviewing gigs, and I’ve actually been able to reread a few 2012 titles (including Ask the Passengers – still awesome), a topic (rereading) which I may post about soon. I’ll see you soon for your birthday (readers: wish my mom a happy one on Saturday!).