The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.34


Hello everyone and welcome back to the long and agonizingly slow moving Raven Boys reread I torture myself with twice a week! I used to be at least two weeks ahead every time I posted a chapter but this one is a race against the clock, since not only have I used up all my extras and must write this real time, I have a midterm to study for and two papers due tomorrow. But, nevertheless, this chapter features Calla, whose presence magically makes all my troubles disappear.

Remember when Calla kept reminding Blue about this snooping expedition they had planned to Neeve’s attic to touch her stuff? Yeah, me neither. I started reading this chapter and I was like “why are we in the attic” and then I realized that for the past 100 pages every time we see Calla she’s reminding Blue not to forget about their Scooby Doo-esque fact-finding mission, and I straight up ignored her. Calla, I’m so sorry. You know I love you and I didn’t mean it.

So they’re in the attic. Or, they’re walking up the stairs to the attic while Blue thinks about how to send Barrington Whelk to jail. Remember that angry rant I went on where I was like “they could not possibly guess that it was Barrington Whelk who killed Noah because they do not have enough information?” Well, they immediately guessed it was Barrington Whelk. But I stand by my statement. There was no evidence gathering or bulletin boards with pinned string, and thus there is no way they could have figured it out.

Anyways, back to the attic (even while I’m writing this summary I seem to forget Neeve’s spookiness is a major plot point). It smells really bad, which is apparently due to the asafetida Neeve is keeping in there. You put it in a cauldron and make either curry or some witchy potion, so I guess Neeve is a supernatural sous chef.

All jokes aside, what she’s done to the attic is creepy. There’s statues, and mirrors, and candles, and burned up plants. Blue is remarking on the creepiness when, right on cue, Persephone appears to let them know that she wants to help. And that Maura knows they’re snooping and she’s giving them until midnight.

Persephone crouched to look at a black leather mask with a long pointed beak. “You didn’t think she believed you about the dwarf movie, did you?”

Calla and Blue exchanged a look. Blue mused over what they meant: that Maura wanted to know more about Neeve as much as they did.

They start with the easiest part: Neeve said she was coming to look for Blue’s father, who showed up, melted Maura into a puddle of goo, got her pregnant, and then left. Blue isn’t bothered by this because she is very sensible, and happy that Calla said he was cute. They go over all the nicknames Maura used for him (Puppy, Lover, Butternut) which makes Blue physically ill.

The gist of what they discover is that Neeve wants to be more famous than she is (more famous than Leila Polotsky, who apparently is well known in some circles). It’s implied that Persephone was very famous at some point, which I want elaborated on. And then Calla stops touching things and looks instead to Neeve’s day planner, which tells her everything and involves no psychic ability whatsoever.

Basically Neeve got a call from a guy who wanted to pay her lots of money to come to Henrietta and find Glendower on the ley line. She declined his request and then decided to look for it anyways, without getting paid, and figured telling Maura she was looking for Blue’s dad would give her a good place to crash. Then Blue grabs the planner and realizes the mysterious man who wanted to find the ley line is Barrington Whelk, and she’s like, “this guy again? Ugh.”

But before she can tell Calla what’s going on, Persephone lets them know that the Gangsey is here, Gansey broke his thumb on a gun, and Maura brought Neeve back early. Thus concludes the snooping session, thank you and goodnight. 

Thoughts and Feelings:

Here’s what I took from this chapter: Neeve is witchier than a psychic should be, and that combined with her inferiority complex has made for a pretty bad situation. Also, Gansey broke his thumb because he is a big idiot and now Blue knows all about it.

I was a little shocked by the parallels between Gansey and Maura, because when Maura asks Neeve why she didn’t just tell her she was looking into the ley line, she sounded an awful lot like Gansey handing his journal to Whelk. The leaders of both gangs, the raven boys and the women of Fox Way, don’t seem concerned with keeping knowledge private. It’s kind of refreshing, to not have to deal with secrets being guarded so closely.

It also would have been nice if Maura had this philosophy all the way back when Gansey came in for the reading. It probably would have saved us a lot of drama. And me a lot of time spent summarizing said drama.

I’m in a creative writing workshop right now and one of the things my professor and the rest of the people in the workshop are saying is that they can’t see the space around them. I never noticed it before but now it’s all I can think about when I read a piece (“where am I? Can I see the world around me? Is that gopher rendered anatomically correct?”). I’ll give Steifvater this one, she definitely fleshes out Neeve’s room for me, and in doing so, her character. There were no pretty gloves for her pretty hands, though, so minus one point for consistency.

Best Character Moment:

“I refuse to believe Mom ever called some man puppy,” Blue said.

“Oh, but she did. Also lover.” Calla picked up an empty bowl. There was a crust in the bottom, as if it had once help a liquid with some body to it. Like pudding. Or blood. “And butternut.”

Best Turn of Phrase:

Blue didn’t touch anything, but she did walk further into the room, peering at a small statue of a woman with eyes in her belly. The entire room was giving her a crawling feeling. “She must be making a lot of curry.”

Action: We’re just sneaking around…just sneakin! 5/10

Magic: I mean the mirrors looked cool but the whole point was that Neeve is a fake magician who needs a mask to feel self-love so… 5/10

Comic relief: I laughed out loud at a line in this chapter when I was reading it before class but when I read it out loud my prof roasted me for it, so that’s why it didn’t get a perfect score. 9/10

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