I have such a backlog of book reviews that I decided to review this entire series by Maggie Stiefvater in one go, rather than reviewing each book individually. So here goes:
It’s a paranormal young adult series about a girl named Blue Sergeant and her four friends: Richard Gansey III (who goes by Gansey), Adam Parish, Ronan Lynch, and Noah Czerny in a small town in Virginia called Henrietta.
Blue is raised by a single mother, who happens to be a psychic, and three other women who live and work with her as psychics. Her cousin, Orla, is a few years older and also lives with them and works as a psychic.
They are legit psychics. They’re not conning anyone. They really do see and hear things other people don’t. Except for Blue. Although Blue doesn’t have any of their abilities, her presence strengthens their abilities, allowing them to see and hear more things and to perceive them more clearly.
The one thing Blue does see is Gansey’s ghost on what they call the Corpse Road, which mean’s he’s going to die some time in the next 12 months. Because Blue does not normally see spirits on the Corpse Road, her ability to see him means either that she will kill him or that he’s her true love.
According to a prophecy, both statements are probably true. Blue has been told her whole life that, if she kisses her true love, he will die. None of this is spoilers because you find it all out in the first chapter.
Although Blue and Gansey are the same age, they don’t hang out because apparently even small towns like Henrietta have different circles for people to move in. Gansey comes from money and he goes to Aglionby Academy, the local private school. Blue’s family is poor (although they have enough to get by) so she goes to the local public school, and while it’s a given that Gansey will go to college, it’s highly unlikely Blue will ever have that chance.
Blue starts hanging out with Gansey and his friends when they eat at the local diner where she works. Gansey asks Blue out on behalf of his friend, Adam, who’s too shy to ask Blue out himself.
Although Adam goes to Aglionby and hangs out with the rich kids, his background is closer to Blue’s. He lives in a trailer park and can only attend Aglionby on a scholarship and makes up the rest by working three jobs. How he has any time for friends at all is beyond me.
So Blue and Adam start dating and that relationship makes a lot of sense at first, but we know she ends up with Gansey, so of course her thing with Adam has to end. I thought it ended in a very believable way, but maybe that’s just me. Adam’s a nice guy, but he has a lot of anger and resentment from the fact that his life has been so hard and he’s friends with people like Gansey, who have had everything handed to them on a silver platter.
Adam had to learn to deal with that anger and I’m really glad he did. He was really getting on my nerves when he was constantly refusing any help from Gansey or Ronan because he didn’t want to take any “handouts.” He wanted to be a fully self-made man, and while part of me can respect that, the other part of me wanted to slap him upside the head and explain to him that no one makes it to the top on their own. The advantage of going to a school like Aglionby isn’t just the prestige of the school itself, it’s the connections. Those kids and their families aren’t at the top by doing it all themselves. They got to know the right people and cultivated those relationships.
Fortunately, Adam does learn to chill out and accept some help from his friends once in a while and I liked him better for it.
They’re all united in a quest to find an ancient Welsh king who, according to legend, was transported to America along a ley line in order to both preserve him and keep his body safe from the British. Legend has it that Glendower has been sleeping for the past 600 years and will grant a favor to anyone who wakes him.
There are various villains they have to face along the way: most of whom get killed and one who ends up dating Blue’s mom, Moira, and switching to their side. I had some very strong feelings about her dating someone she knew worked as a hit man, but then again, Moira has apparently always made questionable choices when it comes to the men she sees.
Gansey does die at the end, but they find a way to bring him back, which sounded an awful lot like cheating to me. I didn’t want him to die, but knew it had to happen because of the aforementioned prophecies. Letting them bring him back to life tied up the happily ever after a little too neatly for my taste. The dude had already died and been magically revived once in his life and he’s not even nineteen yet. Isn’t once enough?
And I would have liked to see what Blue did with her life without Gansey. Not that I have anything against Gansey. I quite like him because, despite his privileges, he’s aware of his privileges and doesn’t take them for granted. Being friends with Adam and Blue further opens his eyes to just how privileged he is, even if Adam isn’t always the easiest person to be friends with.
I’m not sure how I felt about Ronan and Adam getting together. Those two struck me as being so different that I have a hard time seeing them together. I don’t even think they’re differences are the type that go well together – the type where they would balance each other out. They both have their own struggles to overcome, including their anger issues, and they both want very different things in life. It almost felt like Stiefvater was trying too hard to include an LGBTQ couple and/or she just wanted all her characters to end up with a romantic partner.
Except for poor Noah, who, it turns out, is a ghost who has been dead for ten years.
I did appreciate that Glendower turned out to have been dead the whole time and they never got their favor. It was a satisfying end to their hunt in that they found him, but it was not a perfect happily ever after, and I liked that.
I should mention I listened to these on audiobook. I overheard a friend telling someone she had binge listened to the entire series and, because I had no hope of finding the time to read these books the old-fashioned way, I decided to listen to them.
I had just gotten used to the idea of listening to memoirs on audiobooks and was still new to the idea of listening to fiction audiobooks, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this series. All four books are narrated by Will Patton and he is an excellent narrator. He pauses in all the right places for dramatic effect and he does different voices for each character. I was in love with his voice the minute I heard it and it definitely kept me listening to the series.
What did you guys read/listen to this week? Any other audiobooks a friend recommended to you?