If we had to pitch a Raven Cycle television series with one line, it would probably look something like this: "Charmed meets Dead Poets Society meets "The Fast and the Furious."
OK: Do you like magical realism? Bad boys with hearts of gold? Large groupings of emotionally supportive and strong female characters? Lovingly crafted depictions of cars? Intrusive trees? Then do the angst-ridden teen in you a favor, and hop on this runaway fandom with the rest of us!
Being a teen librarian at a small local library, I have made it my business to seek out high quality young adult literature for my community. Being queer has helped me keep an eye on representation and diversity in my collections. And while a lot can be said about teen lit (not all of it good), the more I read, the more I'm astonished at the creative powerhouses publishing under the young adult (YA) category: Patrick Ness, Francesca Lia Block, Shaun David Hutchinson, and Robin Talley are only a few whose work has made an impression on me lately.
But then there are those rare authors whose work changes your life. In 2015, I was introduced to a book called The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. All I knew was that it was about a group of rich prep school kids who did magic in the woods. I think I actually groaned out loud, but I knew I'd have to read it for the teen book club meeting. Great, I thought. I would have to suffer through another Special Girl + Rich Boy = Eternal Love romance. I settled in that night with an extra-large glass of Cabernet and prepared to mentally rip the book to shreds. But that's not what happened. I finished the first book that night, and the remaining two over the next three days. After an anguished year of waiting for the fourth and final book of the series to be published, I drove six hours to Virginia to meet the author and get my book signed. I fell hard. The Raven Cycle became my fandom. Here's a brief look at the main characters to show you why it should be yours too:
Fan favorite. Angry, magical gay. Has a problem with authority, fighting, illegal street racing, and accidentally manifesting his dreams. Just wants to farm in peace. Being his friend may get you killed, but let's be honest, a little life or death action is not going to keep you from his side.
The heart. Sleepy over-worked ball of anxiety and genius. Not impressed by you. Token poor boy in the rich boy club. History of abuse. Bisexual babe. A lot can be said about his hands.
The generator. Tiny fierce feminist. Almost as angry as Ronan. Wealthy in love and possibilities. Probably going to accidentally kill someone through means magical. Not to be underestimated. Trees in her eyes, stars in her heart.
The smudgy baby. Glitter! Basically, an emo-pop-punk teddy bear. Can skate better than you. Doles out kisses to those in need. The best friend you will ever have. Gets in your head, man. Kind of an incubus.
Richard Gansey III
The King. Dick (but, really). The righteous leader. Everyone's first crush. Could cut you with his good looks, but would never do anything so uncouth. Just a bunch of lust and longing tucked neatly into a pair of boat shoes.
What's best about the The Raven Cycle is that Stiefvater manages to handle teen sexuality and queerness in a way that doesn't feel cliché or trite. But her talents don't stop there because in just four books she also covers class, abuse, addiction, love, friendship, and magic all without ever coming off as preachy or weighing down the primary narrative.
If you're just getting into the series now, you'll have the added benefit of having an already established fandom to fall into. The amount of fan art you can find (ranging from charmingly sweet, to steamily NSFW) is impressive. Archive of our Own has more than 3,500 works of fanfiction for the series, with 2,300 for the pairing of Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish alone. So, not only will you have four books, and an upcoming SYFY production to look forward to, but the author has also recently confirmed a spinoff series that will focus on Ronan Lynch sometime after The Raven Cycle left off.
We don't know much yet about the what the series will entail other than that Catherine Hardwick is on to direct the pilot and Andrew Miller is writing and producing along with Michael London. While all book-to-screen adaptations make fans a little squirmy, we hope that having Maggie Stiefvater herself co-producing will ensure that all the best bits of The Raven Cycle remain intact. We're counting on you, SYFY.
What do we want? Dark forests, fast cars, diverse characters, and queer romance! When do we want it? It doesn't matter, time is a circle! (But, in all seriousness, as soon as possible, please.)
Take a look at some of this gorgeous fan art while you wait: