March 8th, 2016 (according to my Facebook page) I had gotten home from school, finished my homework and looked at the four hundred books sitting unread on my shelves. A year ago, my Grandparents had gotten me a series I had flippantly added to my Amazon Wishlist, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. At that point, there were only the first three out and I'd thrown them on my shelf to look pretty, telling myself, one day I'll read you, but not today. Boy, was I wrong.
When I get to thinking, it usually ends up in extremes. So, I sat there, staring at the series for a good five minutes. What if, I thought, I start reading that first book and it ends up being my favorite series and I'll never know until I pick it up? Would I be disappointed in myself for not picking it up earlier? Would it be ground-breaking and everything I wanted in a book? So needless to say, I picked up the book. I got halfway through that night. And that was what started my almost three-year relationship with TRC. But why should you read TRC you ask? Well, there are plenty of things that make TRC so different than the rest of Young Adult lit out there.
1. The Characters
The best thing about TRC is the characters and their relationships with each other. Each character is completely different and dynamic, with thoughts and motives and crazy quirks (and cool cars). This makes them feel so real and believable and relatable.
2. The Plot (And Subplots!)
I once went to see Maggie give a talk and she said whenever people ask her what TRC is about, she changes it every time. It's simultaneously about so many things. It's a rom-com without the rom and it's a coming of age and coming out, it's about found family, it's about prep school boys with fast cars, it's about the past, present, and the future in one place and one time, it's about time being a circle and not a line, it's about learning what you want, it's about a girl who is destined to kill her true love, it's about making mistakes and sacrifices to a sentient forest, it's about ghosts and their mysteries, it's about murder and underground business, it's about being rich and being poor, it's about how someone appears and how someone actually acts behind closed doors, it's got trees that speak Latin and mountains with cursed woman inside, it's about psychics and nymphs and it's all set in modern Virginia.
3. The VillainsGiphy
Out of the villains in TRC, I don't know if I'd categorize most of them as your typical villain. Imagine John Mulaney or Paul Rudd playing a villain but with John and Ant Man's personalities intact. Yeah, it's great, I know.
4. The Setting
It gives you an accurate representation of a modern Virginia small town in the Blue Ridge Mountain area. It also depicts the difference between the rich and poor parts of Virginia and private school life.
No spoilers, but there's very good LGBT+ rep in this series particularly bisexual and gay rep.
6. Latin (And Jokes In Latin)
I'm sorry but Latin jokes are superior to all your other jokes and no one can tell me otherwise.
7. Magical Sleeping Dead Welsh Kings
So one could arguably claim that this is mainly what The Raven Cycle is about, these friends setting out to find Owain Glyn Dŵr, or as they refer to him in the book Owen Glendower, a magical sleeping dead Welsh king who, upon waking, is supposed to grant a favor to the one who had awoken him.
So, in the end, everyone should read The Raven Cycle. It's the best book series to ever exist.