After receiving the advanced review copy of this book, I had a flick through thefirst pages to get a glimpse of what I had to look forward to. Then I abandonedthe other books I was reading (sorry, Insurgent) and kept reading.This book is the peak of Maggie’s writing so far: beautiful scenery, fast-pacedscenes, smooth action, and above all… the characters. She’s always been a strongcharacter writer, but The Raven Boys takes this all to a new level.Every one of the characters is a crucial, fascinating part of the story. There’slevel-headed psychic’s daughter Blue and The Raven Boys, a motley crew ofprivate school students and best friends: obsessive researcher and richest of therich Gansey; trailer park kid on a scholarship Adam, Irish hot-blooded scrapperRonan and smudge-faced loner Noah.I adored all of these kids, and I kept on loving them straight through. They madethis story for me: their voices, their backstories, and how flesh-and-blood-and-bones real they felt. I read this book for them, and for their world (a strange, off-kilter place that keeps on getting stranger as the story continues).It also gave me some of the best fighting advice I’ve ever gotten from a novel, onhow to throw a good hook:Hit with your body, not just your fist.Look where you’re punching.Elbow at ninety degrees.Don’t think about how much it will hurt.I told you. Don’t think about how much it will hurt.But I do need to have a brief, spoiler-free word about the ending: I hated it. Everything was ticking along smoothly, action and adventure and rapid page turning, and then it ended. Right when everything was at it’smost exciting it veered to a halt and started hastily trying to wrap up even though exciting things were still going on.I know The Raven Boys is supposed to be part of a series, but I still feellike I’ve been left asking a million and one questions and the book is blatantlyignoring them all and I’m a little disappointed by that. But I’m still going to buy the next book.