Ronan. Chainsaw. Sigh.
But, as much as I love Ronan and the boys of Raven, I was rather captivated by the Gray Man. In as much as it felt like the author was too, giving him some of the most delicious prose in the novel. For example:
The Gray Man hated his current car. He got the distinct impression it hadn't been handled enough by humans when it was young, and now would never be pleasant to be around. Since he'd picked it up, it had already tried to bite him several times and had spent a considerable amount of time resisting his efforts to achieve the speed limit.
Also, it was champagne. Ridiculous color for a car.
The above is the kind of stuff that makes this writer go, "Dude, I so wish I had written that because it's divine."
Something strange and chemical was happening to the Gray Man. Once, he'd been stabbed with a screwdriver -- Phillips head, bright blue handle -- and falling in love...[spoiler redacted]...was exactly the same. He hadn't felt a thing when the screwdriver pierced his side. It hadn't been unbearable when he'd stitched it up as he watched The Last Knight on the television by the bed (Arbor Place Inn and Lodging. local color!). No, it had gotten terrible only when the wound had begun to close. When he'd begun to regrow skin where it had been chewed away.
Now the ragged hole in his heart was regrowing out of the scar tissue and he couldn't stop feeling it.
There's also a too-spoilery-to-quote description of a first kiss that is so exquisite, full of all the awkward trepidation and delicious joy of the experience, that, "Gah, the feels!"
Anyway, the story. Ronan, having ended The Raven Boys with the confession that his baby raven, Chainsaw, was a product of his dreams, is beginning to experiment more and more with his talent, which, it seems, he inherited from his dad. And which, may have gotten his father killed.
Meanwhile, a hit man, The Gray Man is in town searching for something called the Greywaren, and being a hit man, isn't above making folks less alive to achieve his means. Cold and calculating, he is nevertheless a compelling character, clearly fleeing from his own dark past, specifically a sinister brother.
Adam is Adam. Which honestly, means kind of tiresome (he's my least fave of the Raven Boys, sometimes straying into outright unlikeable in his obstinacy). He's still determined not to take any handouts, be his own man, blah-blah. In the previous book, his sacrifice bound him to the mysterious Cabeswater forest, the place that may or may not be the resting place of the Welsh king Glendower. This connection being problematic since the forest has up and vanished, even though the ley line is bristling with power.
Noah is...cute as always but his existence is threatened by the Cabeswater's disappearance.
And Gansey is trying offset all his rich-boy, spoiled child of privilege, bad karma by trying to save everyone. With mixed results.
Blue meanwhile, is finding that she may not actually be in love with Adam, and that Gansey, despite being a rich boy with a penchant for horribly preppy clothes, is starting to get interesting.
This time around, the story throws a little romantic angst in the direction of the grownups, and, as much as I love the young lurve, I appreciate Mr Gray and [redacted]'s romantic subplot.
Or course, it goes without saying that I adore Chainsaw, who is becoming a delightful, mischievous character in her own right.
Love these characters; love the prose; need more.
Four stars because I'm expecting to be wowed by the next book.
(I remain baffled by my dislike of Shiver.)