A Glimpse Back in Time (#10): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Glimpse Back in Time is a feature where I talk about the interesting history behind the books that I read! If you want to see previous posts for this feature, look here!

This week I'll be featuring The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater!

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Pages: 409

Summary (from Goodreads):

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

If you are unfamiliar with this series, you probably don't know why the last Welsh Prince of Wales is important to the story. During the entire series, Gansey is on a quest to find the resting place of Owain Glyndwr so that he can wake him and receive a favor.

Owain Glyndwr was the last native Welsh person to hold the title of Prince of Wales. He was born sometime between 1349 and 1359 to a family of Anglo-Welsh nobility. His father was a prince of Powys Fadog and Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, a line of Welsh nobility that can be traced back to before the Norman conquest. His mother was also of noble birth.

After his father's death when he was around 11, he was fostered by Sir David Hanmer and followed his profession by studying law at the Inns of Court. He married Hanmer's daughter in 1383 and the following year fought for King Richard II against the Scots.

In 1399, Richard II was dethroned by Henry IV. Glyndwr got into a dispute with his powerful neighbor, Reginald Grey, over some land that Grey had stolen. The new king and Parliament wouldn't do anything about it and that was the spark that began the rebellion that Glyndwr led.

On September 16th, 1400, the Welsh revolt against Henry IV began. A group of Glyndwr's supporters proclaimed him the Prince of Wales. The revolt started off successfully. With the support of several hundred men, Glyndwr attacked every town in northeast Wales. There was an immediate response with Welsh scholars coming home from Oxford as well as Welsh laborers coming home from England.

Anti-Welsh legislation was quickly passed and Henry IV marched a big army across northern Wales, burning and looting everything. By the spring of 1401, Glyndwr's small army moved to center and south Wales. The rebellion began growing as hundreds of men ran to join the cause, many of them men of higher rank. Battles continued to rage and by the end of 1403 Glyndwr controlled most of Wales.

In 1408, several castles were taken by the king and Glyndwr's family was taken prisoner. He was once again an outlaw. Along with his son and several important captains, Glyndwr was at large throughout 1409, ravaging wherever he went. But ultimately, the rebellion failed. No one knows what happened to Owain Glyndwr. He just vanished. It is believed that he died in 1415. The new king, Henry V, offered pardons to the rebels twice, but neither were accepted.

No previous revolt or war in Wales lasted as long as Glyndwr's rebellion. It raged for over ten years and never really ended for fifteen. Harsh anti-Welsh laws remained in effect until 1485 when a Welshman took the throne. Owain Glyndwr is still an important symbol of Welsh independence.


Have you read The Raven Boys? Did you know anything about Owain Glyndwr before reading this book or this post? I didn't know about him until this book!


  1. I've read all the books now, how I wish I liked them more. I'm not sure how much I should blame the audiobooks but at the end the series was just okay for me.

    I really love this feature, it's very helpful for series!

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

    1. I didn't think I was going to like this series! It just doesn't sound like something that I would enjoy. So I was really surprised when I actually ended up loving it! I'm glad that you find my feature helpful!

  2. This is such an amazing feature, I love history! I don't think I had really heard of Glendower before The Raven Boys; I love English and Scottish history but I didn't know as much about Welsh history. I love when something in a book inspires you to learn more! And I LOVE The Raven Cycle, it's one of my favorite series. I've read it three times :)

    1. If you want a good historical that will inspire you to learn more, PLEASE read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys! It is so amazing!!


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