The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.32


So this is the chapter where Blue meets Monmouth, the sixth member of the Gangsey and the only one she hasn’t been acquainted with yet. The chapter starts with Blue knocking on the door feeling self conscious, and we’re reminded that the only character who uses a cell phone like it’s intended is Gansey. Blue and Adam don’t have one, and Ronan treats his like a useless metal brick, so that’s why Blue just assumes they’ll always be waiting outside for her after school instead of, I don’t know, texting them. One “wya” could go a long way for this group of friends, honestly.

When the boys invite her inside, they’re clearly putting Blue through some sort of test that hinges on her reaction to the space, but she’s not even a little bit fazed. She does ask what the downstairs looks like, though, and our resident comedy duo lets her know what’s up.

“Dust,” Adam replied. He used his foot to discreetly move a pair of dirty jeans, boxers still tucked inside them, out of Blue’s direct line of sight. “And concrete. And more dust. And dirt.”

“Also,” Ronan said, moving off towards a pair of doors at the other end of the floor, “dust.”

But this doesn’t distract Blue from her careful inspection of the space. She finds it beautiful. She finds it so beautiful, in fact, that she’s reminded of her tree vision and wants Gansey to kiss her. The interior designers on HGTV dream about a reaction like that, and they’ll never get it because they aren’t sixteen-year-old mad geniuses with old money Virginia accents.

Ronan goes to feed Chainsaw (which makes Blue very confused, because she has no context for the statement and thinks he means a literal power tool), and Adam decides it’s time for them to hang out. Blue ruins the mood by asking the loaded question “Adam do you live here,” which opens up the whole “I’m not rich” dialogue and lasts a couple pages. They get it together once Blue admits that she’s not rich, either, and then Adam takes Blue to see some old trinkets Gansey keeps in boxes.

The examination of artifacts gets real romantic real fast. They pick up a pair of stones, each with a hole bored into it by seawater, and they hold them up to their eyes and look at each other, and then Adam touches her face. (I don’t know how else to phrase that in the summary, because the book literally just says “he reached out and touched her face,” which doesn’t sound descriptive or romantic).

Her skin felt warm; his fingertip touched just the very edge of her mouth. “It’s very flattering.”

Adam gently pulled the stone out of her hand and set it on the floorboards between them. Through his fingers he threaded one of the flyaway hairs by her cheek. “My mother used to say, ‘don’t throw compliments away, so long as they’re free.’” His face was very earnest. “That one wasn’t meant to cost you anything, Blue.”

And thus begins the 32 chapters and a prologue dilemma: Blue is sixteen and wants to make out but a psychic told her not to. Her way around telling Adam is to say that she doesn’t want to be kissed because she’s “very young,” which is very funny but not very believable. Thankfully, though, Ronan makes an appearance with Chainsaw and ends the whole conversation.

He asks Blue if she wants to hold Chainsaw, and Blue is like “oh my God, a Raven boy with a literal raven bird,” and it takes her a second to tell Ronan that she’s down to pet his familiar. But she wants to do the impossible and impress Ronan, so she holds the bird and lets it melt her heart. And then Noah shows up! They sit on the floor like a lil family and I love it! Except then it gets sad, fast:

“I want you to know,” Noah said, pressing the carved bone against his Adam’s apple, hard, as if it would squeeze the words from him, “I was…more…when I was alive.”

It’s all very fraught, and that feeling leads the gang into the murder mystery they’re trying to solve. Ronan tells Noah to cut the shit and tell them who did it, but Noah doesn’t want to. Contrary to everything we know about Barrington Whelk, he was once capable of having friends, and Noah keeps making excuses for him. They keep asking for a name, until finally Noah tells them they already know. Which, um, how would they? But I’ll get into that a little bit more in my next segment, coming up right now!

Thoughts and Feelings:

I mean, come on, Noah. You were friends with this guy seven years ago, you’ve never said his name out loud, and you expect your friends—one of who doesn’t even go to the school this guy works at—to just know his name? The reader already knows, but we’ve known since Gansey picked up the driver’s license like 50 pages ago. This reveal does nothing for anybody and frankly I’m mad.

Other than that this chapter read like a bottle episode, which isn’t a bad thing. I mean, I am ready for some car chases or boxing matches or tree rituals, anything that would move them closer to magic and farther from self-pity on the floor of Monmouth Manufacturing, but when does anyone listen to me? Never, because this book was published seven years ago and these people are fake.

I’m too tired to have any other thoughts and/or feelings beyond the fact that I missed Gansey and that’s that. The end goodbye:)

Best Character Moment:

So she truly was sensible. This was distressing. She felt like she’d done so much work to appear as eccentric as possible, and still, when it came down to it, she was sensible.

Best Turn of Phrase:

Noah’s resemblance to the crookedly smiling photo on the driver’s license Gansey had discovered was akin to a photocopy’s resemblance to an original painting.

Action: None! No action! Just Blue not kissing Adam and Noah not telling anyone anything and a lot of sitting cross legged on the floor! 4/10

Magic: Blue let Noah use her magical Starbucks outlet energy which is both cute and practical. 8/10

Comic Relief: All of this was situational comedy and I thought it was halfway effective. 6/10

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