Title: The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance
Format: Purchased Hardcover (early release April 24th)
Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.
For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a life; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.
In its starred review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the previous book in The Raven Cycle, Kirkus Reviews said, “Exepect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close.” The thunder has now arrived in Henrietta, Virginia – along with death, desire, revelation, and a brutal truth. With The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater completes a masterpiece.
As this is a sequel there may be spoilers!
Oh my heart. Oh. My. Heart. This finale to The Raven Cycle was everything I could have expected and more with twists, turns, heartbreak, joyous moments, friendship, and so much more.
The book continues right where it was left off in the previous book, where everyone is trying to figure out what to do next and how to find Glendower, but there’s something more going on behind the scenes: Cabeswater is dying.
Actually, infested is more the word I’m looking for, but when the gang discovers black goo oozing from a tree in the forest one day they now add that to the pile of problems on their list. The story follows them trying to figure out how to fix Cabeswater – to save it – but to also figure out if there’s any alternative to saving Gansey, and what it means for Adam who’s so connected to Cabeswater, and for Ronan who’s dreamt up so much, and for Blue to have to deal with who she is and what she’s going to do once so many things come to pass.
Gansey is ever optimistic in his search, but the threads of his composure of who is built himself up to be over the past seven years is really starting to unravel, but in a good way. He’s become a lot more excitable and shows more emotion than his polite self. In this he discovers a few things about himself that he knows he can’t deny: that he loves Blue, and that he’s going to die before April. And he’s scared of the latter. He becomes more open to relationships and faces his fears and he’s so much more of a new Gansey in this book that it made me fall in love with him even more. He was passionate and heartbroken and kingly.
Adam is not himself so much in this novel because of how Cabeswater is struggling and how it affects him, and then the demon thing? Yeah, that’s not good. There were actually a lot of parts in this book that creeped me out so much during Adam’s parts that I could feel my heart racing. There were elements in his sections of the story that were truly terrifying and I thought that, though he tried his best, I know that he still struggles with identifying who he is and what it means to be Adam. He also deals a lot with the emotions of his heart and I love how he deals with them and how he accepts it and it’s beautiful. Oh man. He was a surprising player throughout this story because at the very beginning I didn’t like him much at all, but as the series progressed, sure I got angry at him sometimes, but he grew on me just like Cabeswater did on him. He surprised me in more ways than one, for sure.
Ronan. Oh my dear, Ronan, you were just so amazing in this book. We actually got to see EMOTIONS from him that weren’t anger or forced falsehoods. We got to see him struggle internally with things, we got to see him struggle with his dreams, and, I think most importantly, we got to see just how far the depths of his love for his friends and family goes. He isn’t so much hellbent on revenge in this book, but he definitely shows a lot more concern for the wellbeing of those around him over time, and I think it was a major changing point for him. Plus, he acted on his feelings for Adam and it was beautiful and glorious and I SQUEED LIKE THE FANGIRL THAT I AM. Oh man. But besides that, Ronan had to deal with several traumatic things in this book that made my heart break for him. I’ve loved Ronan since the beginning of the series, and he definitely made my heart swell so much in this last book.
Blue was as much an enigma in this book as the last ones, but I think she grew so much in this story and learned so much about herself that I feel that she is one of the brightest stars in this book. During her perspectives, things seemed to click so much more not only about who she is and what she believes in and loves, but also about many other aspects of the Raven Boys – her Raven Boys – and just how they all function together as a unit. She learns so much about herself and who – and even what – she is that it’s a revelation and she revels in it and it sinks deep down within her. I thought that she was, once again, very strong through a lot of what was going on and that she continued to charm and frustrate all the way through, as was her nature.
We didn’t see much of Noah, but what we did see broke my heart and made me very fearful for him. And at the end… oh man. I almost cried, I think. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.
I love what Maggie did from the middle-ish to the end where she would start a chapter with, “Depending on where you began the story…” And each chapter would focus on a minor character, but how significant they were in that moment in time was incredible because it would show snippets of that time in the story that would also propel the main crew into action and I thought that they didn’t take away from the story or were filler at all. I actually loved these chapters quite a lot because we got to see Neeve, Piper, the Gray Man, Seondeok, and even Cabeswater through it all.
We also got introduced to Henry Cheng much more in this book and, though I was skeptical of him at first, I fell in love with him just as much as I had with the original group. He was so charming and funny and honest. I think that’s what I liked most about him, was his honesty. He didn’t try to hide who he was, and all along he wanted a real friendship, which he got.
And the romance! Let’s just talk about the romance that blossomed in this book, okay? OH. MAN. Pynch is a thing. And it was beautiful. And yes, there were many giggles that were had. And of course the kiss between Blue and Gansey came because we knew it was going to from the start, and yes that was an extremely sad part, but ugh. I love them.
This book and series overall was something magical and wonderful and I highly appreciated it. It was haunting, beautiful, tragic, and fun. I think it’s definitely made its way up into my top five favorite series. Possibly. Definitely in my top ten.
I highly, highly recommend this book and I give it a 5/5 stars.
My overall series rating: 4.75/5 stars.