Feathers of Magic: A Flight Through the Raven Cycle Series

Hailey Reyes

The Raven world of Maggie Steifvater has proven to be an obsessed worthy Young Adult series that includes storylines and characters with whom readers can individually cling to as the atmosphere that Steifwater creates is both alluring and endearing in the best possible way. 

The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Steifvater catapults readers into the mystical world of Blue Sargent and her posse of Raven Boys. The four-part series begins with the first installment The Raven Boys where Blue meets the four main lead males in the series, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. After Blue befriends the group of teens from Aglionby Academy, she quickly learns that the four, more specifically Gansey, are on the hunt for a Welsh King by the name of Glendower.  Blue, being raised by three female psychics who told her she will kill her true love with a kiss, clings to the boys’ peculiarity and decides to assist them on their quest. What begins as a story of mix-matched kids who share an ambition to leave Henrietta, Virginia, ultimately evolves into a narrative full of illusion, sorcery, romance, and wonder.  

The first book is followed by The Dream Thieves where one of the male leads, Ronan, learns more about his tragic past and the tremendous possibilities of the groups’ future now that his abilities are strengthening. Blue Lilly Lily Blue, the third book, picks up with the gang of friends trying to normalize their lives while maintaining the chaos that surfaces with their royal search. Last comes The Raven King, which ties up this incredibly atmospheric story. Blue and her Raven Boys face the final fantasies that come with bringing their search for Glendower to a close. 

The Raven Cycle series is one that is emotionally attaching. The five leads featured in the series are absolutely adoring and have personalities that are so distinct from one another, yet, the bond that they share is formed by the copious number of struggles that only their circle understands. There is Blue who is a rebellious feminist that can’t stand the proximity of any prestigious Raven boy. After meeting the boys, however, her adaption to their nature is extremely admirable as it sets the tone for the rest of her character’s development. 

Gansey is the leader of the pack and struggles with his commitment to the search for Glendower. Being the popular “Golden Boy” of Aglionboy Academy, he has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that his social status, at first, drives much of his perspective on how the world works. His willingness to learn from the other boys and Blue herself sets a foundation for the courage that he displays in the rest of the series as the gang’s rightful leader. Ronan is snappy and angsty and has little enthusiasm for Gansey’s project. The search, however, results in being one of the most impactful experiences for Ronan and while he doesn’t lose his angry demeanor, his appreciation for Glendower and Cabeswater is enough to make up for his hurtful and at times comedic outbursts. 

 Adam acts as the underdog in this story. He pulls readers in a back and forth tug between love and hate as at times, his obsessiveness to exceed everyone’s expectations is draining. Yet, his eagerness to obtain a better life for himself is enticing and makes a reader hang on his every decision as he proves to be one of the most unpredictable characters in this series. Noah is by far the purest character to come out of this tale. The importance of his role may seem minimal, but his appearances represent the more obvious obstacles that the gang endures. He is patient, gentle, and one of the greatest listeners in the Young Adult genre. 

The magical setting that Stiefvater provides for these characters is both fascinating and frustrating. The enchanted forest, Cabeswater, appears to be the source of the groups’ support and wounds. At one point, Cabeswater is giving the group all the right answers and at the next point, Cabeswater is filled with the group’s nightmares. There tends to be a combination of wicked and enchanting scenes in these novels, both of which add greatly to the concept surrounding this series. That with every beautiful something found within the magic skills of these characters, there is something dangerous and at stake too. If I were to re-read this series, I would try to focus more on the sorcery that is used by the physics in this novel. At times, the love interests in this series were extremely fascinating, however, the two main love interests were overcomplicated and some of the romances in the series were not given enough page time. 

The Raven Cycle series is not for everyone as it captures almost every element of fantasy possible. There is a decent balance between magic and romance, enough to keep the reader engaged until they are met with another new favorite character as this series has too many to choose from. The series appears to be a favorite in the YA genre as all books have a rating of four or more stars according to Good Reads, a rating that is indisputable. Regardless of readers’ taste in genre, Steifvater’s writing does nothing more than pluck YA fans right out of their comfy couch and into the forest of Cabeswater itself. The series leaves a fair amount of room for contentment with the writer being able to answer readers’ questions regarding the plot. Although the build-up plotline throughout the series doesn’t necessarily result in a letdown, it does leave a reader wondering what the purposes of these characters were. These purposes are quite open for interpretation and the conclusion of this series results in these characters all appearing to find secrets hidden within themselves that benefit them more than they ever thought possible.  With so many twists and turns, the Raven Cycles is more than deserving of any readers’ time, especially those who can’t resist the idea of accepting the impossible. 

“Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”

The Dream Thieves