April 22, 2022
the raven bratz
**THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE RAVEN BOYS (2012) AND BRATZ THE MOVIE (2007)** ah, the raven cycle. there are many things to praise about this series. Praise it for it's funky prose ("if you never saw the stars, candles were enough"??? beautiful. "when i'm gone, dream me the world. something new for every night"???? amazing. "wake up fckweasel, it's your girlfriend"??? a masterpiece. all those quotes are from the second book but it doesnt matter shhh), fly plot twists, or fabulous characterization and relationships. As rowdy and real as I find these things, the main element I want to focus on in this review are the thematic parallels between Adam Parrish (The Raven Boys, 2012) and Cloe (Bratz the Movie, 2007). Both the characters of Adam Parrish (The Raven Boys, 2012) and Cloe (Bratz the Movie, 2007) are struggling to keep afloat surviving high school while living in poverty. Their friend groups are all financially well off, and struggle to relate to the struggles that Adam Parrish (The Raven Boys, 2012) and Cloe (Bratz the Movie, 2007), go through every day. When Cloe told Sasha "at least I don't buy my friends with my daddy's bank account!" (Bratz the Movie, 2007) and Sasha responded with "you don't have a daddy OR a bank account!" (Bratz the Movie, 2007) I think it drew a really great thematic parallel to when Gansey says "I'm sorry your father never taught you the meaning of repugnant. He was too busy smashing your head against the wall of your trailer while you apologized for being alive." (The Raven Boys, 2012). Both Sasha and Gansey in this situation are pretty well off financially and have a loving family. Adam and Cloe, however, are both poor and either have an absent father or an abusive one. Their friends cannot know what it is like in that situation, with further isolates them from the rest of the group. Another thematic parallel between Adam Parrish and Cloe comes and the end of their respective character arcs. When Adam sacrifices himself to the sentient forest at the end of the Raven Boys (2012) it mirrors how Cloe stands up to Meredith at the end of Bratz the Movie (2007). Both characters know that they might be sacrificing their future for their friends, but they do it without hesitation anyway. This shows how much they care about their friends and how important they are to each other. Overall, the Raven Boys (2012) is a beautifully written piece of literature with great writing and amazing parallels to Bratz the Movie (2007).
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September 19, 2022
Beautifully written uncharacteristic fantasy prose!
The writing is beautiful. I read this book as a recommendation, not knowing what to think. Having read Shiver, I had extremely low expectations. This book covered everything: wealth, clairvoyance, and real characters. Definitely makes you think about the world differently and such an amazing escape. A lot of swearing but it passes through fine. Unconventional approach to fantasy writing—includes lots of realistic elements. But not realistic at the same time. Gives you such a different outlook on the world. The end is a phenomenal binge read. Read past page 50 to know what I'm talking about and enjoy reading! Only 12+ because there is not a lot of iffy content—just beautifully written text that needs a bit of context, sprinkled with a bit of language.
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August 14, 2022
Great read. This book was eye opening and makes you think about the greater unknown. Clairvoyance, magic, etc. Lots of character development. If there’s anything you need to be concerned about, it’s the mature themes and cursing. Starting off with the mature themes (this will include spoilers): Adam Parrish, a Raven boy is abused and living in poverty. There is one instance where Adan’s father finds out the Adam is earning more money than he told his parents he was. His father threw him to the ground. Adam lost his hearing in one ear. Adam ends up suing his father for abuse and moves in with Gansey (another Raven Boy). Moving onto Ronan. Ronan has been troubled ever since his father died (which is understandable). He’s drinking, and there is one instance where he is drunk in a church with a small baby bird he has named Chainsaw. He’s getting into fights with his brother (Gansey, his friend had to pull him away from his brother because they had began to physically hit each other in the parking lot). He struggles with his grades because he honestly just does not care. Another mature theme is that Noah, one of the raven boys was killed. Gansey, another raven boy was held at gunpoint by his teacher who also happens to be the same person that killed Noah. Onto the cursing. In my opinion there was a lot of swearing. There weren’t really good role models, or any educational value. But all in all, entertaining read. Thank you for reading my review.
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September 30, 2020
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January 4, 2020
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October 7, 2019
Fantastically written, some violence and swearing
Is It Good? In my opinion, yes! If you like real-world mixed with fantasy, paranormal stuff, characters that banter and adventure and are pushed to their breaking point, beautiful writing, social commentary slid in between humor and storytelling, magical forests, cars, books about teens discovering cool and sometimes creepy things, The Raven Cycle is for you. As a writer, Maggie Stiefvater's style is simply gorgeous, poetic and deep, but mixed with humor and teenagers speaking the way teenagers speak. And the characters are such living, breathing people that it's hard to believe they don't really exist. The one thing is, even as a huge fan, I can admit that The Raven Boys starts off slowly. It spends a lot of time introducing the characters, and the plot doesn't really pick up for a while. But once all the main characters are in place as friends, the plot picks up and from then on the pacing is good. How Appropriate Is It? Swearing: There is quite a bit of swearing; as someone more sensitive to it than most teens, I thought that it was a little over what was needed. Still, it's mostly used to develop character, for example, Ronan is the kind of person who curses a lot. (Sometimes the author avoids being excessive with sentences like "It was a long, involved swear, using every forbidden word possible, often in compound-word form.") Swearing is really only used hatefully in one case, when a character is very angry and tells another, "f--- you." Otherwise, it's just teenagers being teenagers. Nothing worse than you'd hear in public school. Violence: A warning to note is that there is domestic violence in this book. One character's father hits him; it's only shown once but mentioned several times. In addition, there are a few fights between other characters, mostly fistfights but there is a gun used to threaten someone. The gun is only fired once in the book and doesn't hurt anyone. I think the violence in the book would bother some people, but it's not very gory and most teens would be okay with reading it. Drinking/Drugs/Smoking: One teenage character does get drunk. The other characters know that this is wrong. Some adult characters also drink. Role Models: The Raven Cycle has some of the best characters I've ever read, and many of them are good role models (though none of them are perfect). Adam is a fiercely independent scholarship student trying to work his way up from his trailer-park background. He's responsible and ambitious, and also learns the lesson that it's okay to ask for help. Gansey is a rich boy trying to be more aware of his privilege, who's always helping his friends. Blue is a great female role model-- and also just role model in general: smart, spunky, proud to be unique. Yes, there are some characters in the book who are terrible role models, but it's easy to pick them out from the ones who have inspiring qualities. Conclusion: As long as swearing and violence don't bother you much, you should read the Raven Cycle. (A quick warning, the second book of the series is less appropriate than this one. The two books after that are about the same level as The Raven Boys.) To steal Maggie Stiefvater's summary: "A host of co-dependent teens with a battery of psychological issues comb rural Virginia for a dead Welsh king with dubious magical powers. Trees talk, hitmen put down roots, dead people live, living people die. Cars are described in loving detail. A house full of psychics tells everyone the future and drinks a lot on-page considering it's a young adult series. Nobody kisses anybody, which is weird, because everybody loves everybody. There's rich boys! Poor boys! Sad boys! Angry boys! Raven boys! Collect them all! (They wouldn't let me write [this as the blurb].)"
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September 3, 2019
this is one of my favorite book series!
Really original with good characters and a great plot line. I really enjoyed this book and got into it immediately.
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August 21, 2019
Heavy on swearing, but light on sex
I loved this book! There wasn't any extreme violence or sexual content. The language was pretty bad, but not much worse than kids hear at your average public school these days. There is a mention of teenager boys getting drunk and "high" on the weekends but it doesn't play into the actual story that much.
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August 15, 2019
I think it’s super cool and is super unique
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July 14, 2019
A long in-depth review.
Alright. I know, I'm 12. I'm going to break this down. So, I said this book is 14+, and I read it? Well, hear me out. This book is stunning, the whole series is stunning. Certainly, The Raven Cycle is one of my new favorite book series. I am categorizing my review in the 8 points common sense media provides, and then writing a conclusion and age rating based on age AND MATURITY! (Remember, you know your child's maturity/your own maturity to know if you/they can handle this book.) There are very light spoilers, but nothing to ruin the book experience. I am just simply listing things that do appear in this book/later in the book series. Educational Value: Personally, this book has educational value, but you shouldn't base whether you will read this or not on this factor. Sure, you can learn all about paranormal activity, rituals, ley lines, psychic terms, latin, dead welsh kings, etc: with a twist. This book has some educational value that will be treasured by people who enjoy history and education. I'd give it a 3 out 5 since even though it is not the focus of the book to teach you, you certainly learn a lot of interesting things that you may not know otherwise. Great messages/role models: Lumping these two together! Anyways, there are certainly great messages and role models in this book. One of the main characters, Adam Parrish, shows how autonomy is precious, and he fights for his right to be his own man, his own master. He does things that may be seen as rude, but he doesn't try to be. Other great messages include how well the raven boys treat Blue, the main female protagonist. Blue is also a great role model, trying to be different and unique, showing kids to always be themselves. She is tough and will speak for what she wants, and is trying to do the good thing. There is so much goodness in this series that gets overlooked by the questionable stuff (drugs, underage drinking, swearing, etc) that mostly take place in book 2, Ronan's "book" (not fully focused on him, but still). I rate this category a solid 4 since there are things in this book you should certainly not do. Violence: Gosh, this is getting long. I'm going to try and be a bit shorter with this review. Yes, there is violence. (Light spoilers, tying to water the spoilers down, you just got to know.) There is a gun, a character dies from being trampled, a dead person is found with a graphic explanation of the skeleton, (not too bad, but unsettling for sensitive viewers) murder, mention of murder, paranormal activity, rituals, ritual deaths. This can be handled by a VERY mature tween, but I recommend a mature teen should be the age to start reading the series. If you know you can handle this series, regardless of age, then go ahead. I read this when I was 11, but I was still very mature and smart enough to not repeat foul language, etc. I'd give this category a 4. Sexual content: This is the part where maturity is key. There is light references to sex in the first book, but nothing bad. There is not even kissing, so nothing to worry about there. I feel obliged to talk about the rest of the series, mainly book 2, where sexual content is referenced. In book 2 (spoilers, sorry) there are references to sex, like one character making sexual jokes between two male characters. No actual sexual content is shown, so a mature teen could handle this section just fine. 2 out of 5. Swearing: Yes, there is swearing. Yes, a mature teen can handle this if they know NOT to repeat the words and if an adult talks to them about this book after they read it. Words like f***, a**, a**h***, b***h, bast***,s***, and variants are used, but if you think you can handle it, you'll be fine. They're just words, after all. As long as you know what they mean and not to repeat them, a mature teen can handle this book just fine. I will give this category a 5, for sheer amount of language used. It's not a bad thing to swear. Consumerism: Really, there isn't much. Tarot cards appear, but not a specific brand. There are cars that are described in loving detail, like a BMW, a Camaro (ALL HAIL THE CAMARO!) a "hondayota", a Mitsubishi, and other brands of car. Really, nothing at all. I'll give this category a solid 1. Drinking, drugs, smoking. (SPOILERS) This is the one category that will have a little bit of spoilers, because I'm going to talk about the other books in this series as well. In book 1, there is underage drinking and of age drinking. One underage main character repeatedly gets drunk, but if you know to be responsible, and are mature, you can handle this book. The residents of 300 Fox Way drink quite a bit on page, but this is a YA novel and maturity is really key. In book 2, there is significantly more drinking, as one of the main characters continues to drink and gets drunk. There are drugs as well, but all main characters refuse them. Antagonists drink and get drunk, do drugs and get high, pills are referenced, and smoke. This is the antagonists, mind you. If you are mature and can handle this type of stuff, like cannabis, you will be completely fine. It may be upsetting to sensitive readers, though. 5 out of 5 for this category. CONCLUSION! The Raven Cycle (4 books, The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and The Raven King) is an amazing series. I totally recommend anyone who loves fantasy, paranormal activity, history, and getting to experience a new type of story that I personally have not seen anywhere else, then go and read this phenomenal series. Seriously, I wasted a hour of my life writing this, but I think it'll be totally worth it if some kid gets to read this series. Seriously, I was so ridden with inertia while reading these books that I couldn't move from my spot reading them. I thought about the series for days after, and still adore this series. AGE RATING: I say if you are an incredibly mature 11-12 year old (can handle sexual references, drugs, and swearing) with out being immature or scared, I say give this book a shot. Another reason I say to be a MATURE 14+ year old is because of the slow and lush writing that Stiefvater uses. The words that she uses are descriptive and the vocabulary is expansive. Children may have a hard time understanding the world of The Raven Cycle because of the writing, and may not enjoy the lush and slow writing. Every action is written so masterfully that you can perfectly imagine every character, every scene, and every move. Children may not be as hooked in as teens and adults would be, as kids tend to prefer action and laughs on every page. I adored this series when I was 11, and if you enjoy everything I mentioned, can handle some tricky topics, are VERY mature, and enjoy lush and deep writing, go and read this when you are a young teen. Please don't base everything on my review, as you know yourself/your child the best. If you are still skeptical, give this book a shot. Don't give up after the first few chapters, as yes, when I was 11 I found them a bit slow and lush. I still read and loved this series as a favorite. Give it a try, I promise it will be worth it.