Book Club: The Raven Cycle


I have been up all night and it’s Maggie Stiefvater’s fault. But I HAD to know – was Gansey going to die? Would Blue ever kiss Adam? Would they wake the ley line? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY LIFE!

Very few of my questions were answered, but because Maggie Stiefvater is a magical piper who drags us deep into her imagination, I am already into book two.  There are people* who happen to be sitting in my apartment, watching the fog swirl in, thinking that maybe they should go outside today despite San Francisco’s commitment to crappy weather. Today is looking very un-promising for those people. You know who things are looking promising for? COFFEE.

The best part about going deep into a new series as a reader is the fact that you just never know what’s going to get you. I can easily predict the books I’ll be interested in: historical fiction, fairy tales reimagined, YA romance that guts you from the inside out because YA writers will always go for the jugular (i.e., one of them has cancer, or will time-travel away from the other, or has to make an impossible choice and there are no other options.) Books with a strong voice, books that are cheeky, books that are set during WWII. Automatic me-getters.

If your book is a cheeky romance about Cinderella nursing  Prince Charming back to health after he was hit by a German shell, but then! Wait! No! It turns out Cindy has cancer and Charming’s only hope in the whole world is to time travel into the future to get Cindy the chemo drugs (and shiny hair wig) that she so desperately needs…well. SIGN. ME. THE. EFF. RIGHT. UP.

There are also books about things you are not interested in, and some about things you actively dislike. Things like medieval times, dragons, pillaging, architecture. (Ken Follett, I’m looking at you) are things I have no interest in at all. While I am curious about most things – after all, it’s the job of a writer to follow the flare of curiosity – the zeal required for digging deep, investing time, and going the distance is limited to certain things. I know what makes me tick. And what I’ll spend months upon months researching and writing and working on and thinking about. In other words, what I’ll let occupy the limited mental real estate that is my head.

Enter The Raven Cycle.

Prep school boys? My interest in this begins and ends with Dead Poets Society. Coincidentally, so does my crush on this dude. My 15-year old heart still says hellll-oooo.

Psychics? Bleh, move along please.

The mash-up of Welsh lore and Virginia? I can barely spell Virginia.**

I don’t like any of these things. And I LOVE these books. I so, so love them. I’m not even really going to tell you why, but will instead strongly encourage you to buy the books or hightail it to the library to see what’s what. Advance apologies to San Francisco public library goers, because I have them alllllll.

And THIS is the triumphant fun of being a writer. Seeing what a writer can do to make you care, get invested, make your time and investment take the shape of their book. Even when that book isn’t something you’d pick up ordinarily.

For me, the not-yet-published kind of writer, reading good writing is a chance to try and take it apart, that interest, and then examine it and see how it’s done.

Do I know what makes you, a reader, tick? Let’s find out.

*Those people = just me

**I can totally spell Virginia, but you know what gets me every time? Conscience. Concious? Couscous? LIFE IS HARD.

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