I’m not quite sure where to start on this one. Sure, I could always go with the plot, but in some ways, that’s mostly immaterial in this book. Yes, yes, Things Do Happen — it’s mostly Ronan Lynch’s story: about who and what he is, about his family, about how he got to be who he is — but that’s really a side note to everything else that is going on in the book, the sequel to The Raven Boys.
First off: because it’s about Ronan, it’s not a happy or a light book. No, this is threaded throughout with all sorts of Darkness and Violence. Ronan is not a nice person. No, that’s not true: there are people in this book that are truly Not Nice, and Ronan isn’t one of them. But he’s not a carefree, happy-go-lucky person (well, none of them are), or at least an immediately likable and charismatic one (like Gansey, whom I decided I really liked by the end). No: you have to work to understand Ronan (I won’t say like, because I’m not sure I did), and spending so much time in his head isn’t easy.
But it is worth it.
This time it’s worth it for the words. For the “furiously red tie” or the “sanguine, pleasant air of either a nun or a pothead” or the “all food eaten in anticipation of a kiss is delicious.” This book is full of gems like this. Stiefvater’s descriptions, casual throw-away lines littering the book, left me in awe and aching for more. I couldn’t read this one fast enough (and considering I had to put it down for days while I read a couple others, that was only magnified): it was mesmerizing in its terribleness, in its rawness.
And the end? How it wrapped things up, but gave us a new mystery to solve, while weaving everything that happened in both of these books together? Perfect.
Rated: High for language, and some teenage drinking and drug use.