Recs & Reviews

Why “The Raven Cycle” Books Should Be On Your Summer Reading List

Looking for a summer read to dive into on the beach? Then check out The Raven Cycle books!

The Raven Cycle is a book series written by Maggie Steifvater that currently has three books (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue) with the fourth book (The Raven King) coming out in February. With such male-dominated titles, you might be wondering why I’m writing about them in a women-centric magazine. It’s a fair concern, and I’ll assuage your fears, just read on.

Plot Summary

The story revolves around young Blue Sargent, the only non-psychic in a family chock full of them. She is told from a young age that when she kisses her true love, he will die. Well, that was enough for her. She decided resolutely that she was just never going to kiss anyone, and never fall in love. As a result, Blue has given herself two rules, “Stay away from boys, because they’re trouble. Stay away from Aglionby boys, because they’re bastards.” Aglionby is the private school for rich boys close by, and Blue never thought she would get tangled up in them, until Gansey and his friends came along with their mission to find Glendower, an old Welsh king. Now their fates are intertwined, and Blue is wondering if she’s going to have to break her rules with the help of her family, the women of 300 Fox Way.

Blue as a Main Character

Blue Sargent is quick to shut down her friends when they say misogynistic things. The boys will try to defend themselves, and they apologize sincerely, but Blue lets them know why what they said is wrong, and makes them swear they will never say anything like it again. From page one, she refuses to be the damsel in distress. She grows tired about hearing everyone else’s futures, and their ideas of what hers is going to be, and decides to go shape it herself. She is smart, headstrong, and clever. If her boys step out of line, she is unafraid to tell them that they are wrong. She doesn’t let herself be dragged around by the boys. She asks questions, demands that she is always in the know, and shares her opinions on the plans. In addition to this, she was raised in a women-dominated home. The people in her house are always referred to as “the women of 300 Fox Way”. Men are mentioned only briefly, and apart from small children, there don’t appear to be any males living in the house. It’s this matriarchy that has helped shape Blue into the strong young woman she is.

Why You Need to Start Reading Right Now

The character developments of everyone in the story, even the background characters of Blue’s family, are absolutely fascinating. You find yourself truly attached to all of the characters for one reason or another. Of the main characters, they’re all different enough that the group is well-rounded in terms of personalities, which is important. All of the characters are distinct, and none of them blend into each other. And on top of that, one of the main characters and an important side character are both queer! (I won’t spoil who, you’ll have to read to find out).

Besides the characters, the story itself is interesting enough to keep you reading enough to read two of the books in one sitting (which I am guilty of, I admit). There are twists and turns you might never expect, and some you may hit yourself for not realizing. It has a slight fantasy/adventure air to it that is compelling from page one. The writing is easy to understand, and flows wonderfully. You’ll find yourself laughing, maybe crying, and always waiting for more. These books should be on your summer reading list, for sure!

Photo credit: Cover, 1, 23,

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