YMMV: The Raven Cycle

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Adam as of The Dream Thieves has been getting this. Is he struggling with the anger and emotional backlash from an abusive father and taking on Cabeswater, or is he a selfish, misogynistic tool with anger issues that are never dealt with? Also Blue: strong independent woman with a judgmental streak, or cliche, hypocritical author avatar for psuedo-feminist speech?
    • The author has stated that Blue's judgmental attitude is an intentional flaw, so her hypocrisy in some areas (such as claiming to be a feminist while being dismissive of her cousin Orla) are likely deliberate.
      • Given that Gansey views Orla in a similar way Blue does, it could be a way of the author showing that Blue's Not So Above It All and is more similar to the Aglionby boys than she'd like to admit.
      • It's also worth mentioning that the diving contest, one of the most notable scenes of Blue and Orla disagreeing, is actually from Gansey's point of view, so his Unreliable Narrator qualities strongly color the scene as competitive, objectifying, and pro-Blue. Blue's complaints about Orla are generally annoyance at her personality (she tends to bully Blue) and petty insults about her nose, not objectification or slut-shaming.
      • Blue's relationship with Orla is also contentious, as some fans claim it's evidence of Blue's internalized misogyny while others claim it's The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry and not a representation of Blue's relationship with women in general.
    • Is The Gray Man largely another victim and just a weapon in Greenmantle's hands, or is he a willing murderer who's too easily forgiven by the narrative and the other characters?
    • Is Kavinsky unfairly vilified, or was abusing Ronan enough of a Moral Event Horizon to justify his unsympathetic treatment?
  • Awesome Moments: Ronan punching Adam's dad at the end of The Raven Boys.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Kavinsky gained quite the following after The Dream Thieves.
    • A case of Draco in Leather Pants, given the fact that he, among other things, kidnapped Ronan's brother Matthew as a way to attract his attention.
    • Tad Carruthers is a better example of this trope, given that he's had one scene in the entire series and still managed to garner a fanbase.
    • Henry Cheng also qualifies, although he's not a wholly straight example as Maggie Stiefvater has confirmed on her blog that he'll play a major role in The Raven King.
    • The "dream pack" (Kavinsky's friends Prokopenko, Skov, Swan, and Jiang) are probably the strongest example—none of them even have any lines, and in fact the only things The Dream Thieves actually says about them are their names, what cars they race Ronan in, and that Prokopenko was killed and replaced by a Living Dream. In spite of that, they're almost as popular as the main characters and have entire fanfictions solely dedicated to them.
  • Evil Is Sexy: While not exctly evil, let's just say lot of readers became big fans of Kavinsky after The Dream Thieves.
  • Funny Moments: "Gansey! This is the countryside. Where bees live!"
    • A lot of Gansey and Blue's early interactions fall under this category:
    Gansey: How much do you make in an hour? I'll take care of it. And I'll talk to your manager.
    Blue: ...I am not a prostitute.

    All this time she'd been wondering how Gansey might die and it turned out she was going to strangle him.
    • The Greenmantles may be nightmarishly awful human beings, but it's absolutely hilarious seeing them bicker, passive-aggressively snipe at each other, and eat cheese like any other married yuppies while facing down hitmen, committing murder, and searching for supernatural forces of evil.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Pretty much any time members of the main group demonstrate how much they care about each other.
    • Noah and Blue hanging out without the others, jumping on his bed, talking about Blue's tricky romantic situation, and kissing just so Blue can kiss someone without worrying about killing him.
    • Ronan and Adam's relationship is seemingly made up of these: Ronan telling Adam he doesn't have to go home to his abusive father, Ronan improving his grades enough to stay in Aglionby so that Adam sacrificing himself to Cabeswater, pressing charges against his father, and moving out of his home not on his own terms wasn't in vain, Ronan paying part of Adam's rent and convincing a freaking nun to lie about it so Adam can continue to pay his Aglionby tuition, racing a shopping cart together through a grocery store parking lot just for the fun of it, and so on.
    • Gansey and Ronan showing up to court to testify against Adam's father. Ronan even tied his tie correctly for once!
    • Ronan and Blue protecting each other in the cave at the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue.
  • Ho Yay: Virtually incessant, and with its fair share of lampshading:
    • Gansey and Ronan are close enough that Kavinsky is convinced Ronan must either be in love with Gansey or want to get into his pants. (In actuality Ronan sees him as a brother, but the Ho Yay is still heavily present.)
      • Ronan definitely finds Gansey physically attractive despite not having romantic feelings for him. In The Dream Thieves, Ronan repeatedly gets angry at himself for noticing how good Gansey looks when he looks like a normal person (i.e. wearing jeans and a t-shirt or messy-haired and covered in engine grease) rather than his usual polished, unattainable self.
    • Ronan and Adam, meanwhile, bicker Like an Old Married Couple and Ronan's brother, Declan, either through perception or paranoia, has picked up on it. He gets visibly bothered when he sees them in close physical contact. (In The Dream Thieves Ronan puts his legs across Adam's lap, pretending to sleep when he sees his brother coming towards them. Declan seems to focus more on their contact than on the fact that Ronan is obviously ignoring him, though he may be used to that.)
    • Also in The Dream Thieves Ronan comes to terms with his own sexuality and we learn that he is in fact gay. He has his fair share of Foe Yay with Kavinsky, but ultimately has a crush on Adam.
    • In the third book, Adam is aware of and flattered by Ronan's feelings for him, although whether or not he reciprocates is up for debate. Though that may change in the future.
      • Adam also tends to talk a lot about how handsome Ronan is and how he feels unworthy of Ronan having feelings for him. He also compares Blue (his ex-girlfriend) and Ronan repeatedly and talks about them in a similar way in his POV chapters. The author lampshaded Adam's obsession with Ronan's looks in the third book on Twitter:
      Fan: Describe Blue Lily, Lily Blue in 6 words.
      Maggie Stiefvater: 1. Adam 2. thinks 3. Ronan 4. has 5. nice 6. eyelashes.
    • Adam is pretty blatantly hinted to be bisexual, particularly in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. He's practically blown away by how handsome Colin Greenmantle is and compares him to the male model whose photo he keeps in the glove compartment of his car. Oh yeah, and he keeps a photo of a freaking male model (from an ad for a "sleek gray German car", which happens to also describe Ronan's BMW) in his car. For "inspiration". Sure, Adam. Sure.
    • Adam and Gansey have a relationship that constantly teeters on the finest edge of subtext, and even Noah has charged moments with all three of the other boys. As Blue reflects in the third installment, the entire group really is in love with each other in different ways.
  • Foe Yay: In spades with Ronan and Kavinsky. Not even spades, really. More like shovels.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Kavinsky's... complicated feelings for Ronan seem to have a lot to do with his breakdown at the end of The Dream Thieves.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Ronan's nightmares themselves. Especially when crow monsters start coming out and trying to kill him.
    • In Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Adam finding a bloody copy of Ronan's dead body.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Tad Carruthers appears for only a few paragraphs, in which he acts completely insensitive to Adam's disability and past abuse (coming up on his deaf side and cuffing his head), makes homophobic comments at Adam's expense, and in general acts like a complete ass. He's so hilariously obnoxious that he and the scene became a fan favorite.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Most of the characters are white, and character appearances (including race) are written so ambiguously in the series in general that even some of the few characters who are canonically not white (particularly Orla) are mistaken for white by the fandom. The author has acknowledged the series' whiteness as a flaw she should have caught herself, however, and hasn't tried to downplay it or take credit for representation that isn't there.
    • As of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, there have only been two canonically queer characters in the series, both of whom are white males and one of whom is an abusive, manipulative, drug-addicted criminal, kidnapper, and possible murderer. Yikes.
    • A lot of minor female characters aren't given names (Mrs. Gansey, Mrs. Parrish, the Aglionby secretary), while male characters of similar importance are (Richard Campbell Gansey II, Robert Parrish, Jonah Milo).
    • Ronan and Adam's relationship is allegedly being written "exactly the same" as Gansey and Blue's relationship in the spirit of equality... except that a) Gansey and Blue's relationship is explicitly mutually romantic by the end of The Dream Thieves, while Adam's feelings for Ronan won't be made clear in canon until the final book, thus giving them less than a book of quasi-coupledom versus Gansey and Blue's two books, and b) some fans feel this philosophy ignores the fact that not being straight actually is different from being straight.
    • Adam's deafness is rarely brought up except when something creepy and magical is going on (such as him hearing Gwenllian singing in his left ear). In reality, being deaf, even just in one ear, would affect his life a lot more deeply than just not hearing people coming up on his left, and writing him more or less the same way as fully hearing characters seems like a cop-out.