The Raven King Book Review

theravenkingTitle: The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 438
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.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue Book Review

bluelilylilyblueTitle: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal
Pages: 391
Format: Purchased Paperback

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.

Mothers can disappear.

Visions can mislead.

Certainties can unravel.

As this is a sequel, there may be spoilers!

Trying to get my thoughts together for this one is proving to be a serious challenge right now. I loved it – truly – but I don’t know if it was worthy of five stars? I think I’m still digesting it.

This third book was so vastly different from the last, but at the same time not that I feel like I may have missed something or I didn’t let it soak in. Maybe Cabeswater is affecting me, too?

The plot in this story grew and flowed continuously from the second book, following Adam, Gansey, Ronan, Blue, and Noah as they continue their search for Glendower, but there’s so much going on behind the scenes with Maura’s disappearance, with threats from outside sources, with Cabeswater wanting to speak to them with urgency, and with three sleepers: one to wake, one not to wake, and on in between.

I think that the concept for this series is fantastic and I loved how it was delivered in this book. Each of the characters continued to play their major roles and were learning more and more about themselves and each other, even when they felt that they didn’t know anything about one another.

Blue, I think, is really coming out of her shell and showing the boys that she’s capable of so much more than what she seems, and I think that she learns that about herself as well in this book. She does have a bit of an anger problem still (which I still don’t know how/where it stems from in situations?), and they reflect on the others around her, and either the boys understand and diffuse the situation, or sometimes things escalate too far. I felt that she really tried to take the initiative a lot more in multiple ways in this novel, from seeking out trying to find out where Glendower is, to the budding romance between her and Gansey, to trying to save her mother. There’s so much more beneath the surface of her and I love her for that. Blue really got a handle on her powers in this book in many instances and I thought that that showed great progression for her.

Gansey had a lot more inner turmoil when it came to Blue and I think a lot of his walls were let down around her, which made him much less uniform and polite and more wild and young. He felt more genuine in those moments, which I highly appreciated. He tries his best in many situations in this book to remember his stance in his relationships, for sure, but I think we also learn a few things about him that may not have been present in the past books: he does have fears. I was surprised when I read these parts, but when I did they felt so real and genuine that I couldn’t help but feel for him. I think he, like Blue, is really coming out of his shell and showing many different facets of himself and who he is.

Adam grows the most out of anyone given the situation he thrust himself into, but also because of what happens around him and how he can’t ignore it. Cabeswater calls to him in many ways and when he ignores it, it doesn’t end well for him. I think that he definitely grows in this book as he learns more about his powers, himself, and what kinds of things he can do with and through Cabeswater. He’s stronger than he lets himself on to be, and though it may not be totally evident, it is seen in small pieces in different situations such as when he scrys, or when he faces his father at the courthouse (by the way, did he win that case?).

Ronan is Ronan, though and through, and I wish we had perspectives from him in this book. He was in a lot of scenes, don’t get me wrong, but he didn’t directly have any sort of chapter from his perspective alone. I will say, though, that I feel like he’s getting to be a little softer? As in, he may still be his kind of jerkish self, but he’s also showing more care for his friends (and that little bit of feelings for a certain someone, though nothing’s been spoken aloud). He’s vengeful, but doesn’t act on it; he’s protective over his friends and Chainsaw; and he knows his limitations. I just love him, honestly.

Noah, though present in this book, didn’t have as much presence as the last book. There was a lot going on with him in this book, though, that was caused from the ley lines and the powers around Henrietta. A lot of times it was kind of creepy what was happening to him, and a bit unsettling, but eventually things became a bit more steady for him and how he acted.

The romance is there, it is. And that one scene was so intense and intimate and oh man, I just wish they could kiss, but death is imminent, and ahhhhh. It makes me sad, but also happy?

And then there’s things that happen with other characters, like The Gray Man, Greenmantle, Malory, Jesse, Persephone… Oh man, so many emotions.

The overall plot of the three sleepers was an interesting take in this book and I think it was part anti-climatic and part brilliant because the one who was in between seemed like the anti-climactic bit, while the one who was to be awake was kind of really entertaining, and then the one who’s not supposed to wake? Oh man, I’m interested to see how that plays out in the last book. It’s definitely going to lead up to it.

This book definitely had a lot going on and though my brain is still trying to wrap around it, I can say that I really enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite. I do still think that it has a lot of story behind it and a lot that was learned and lot that will unfurl in the last book, though.

I rate this book 4/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Rereads for 2016

Hey guys! I wanted to talk about the books I plan on rereading this year. I honestly haven’t reread a book in so, so long! I only reread one book last year and I really want to reread some books I haven’t picked up in years. So here are the books I hope to reread this year:

Vanish and Hidden by Sophie Jordan.

vanishhidden

These are the second and third books in the Firelight trilogy and I loved this trilogy so much when I read it back in high school, and since I reread the first book, Firelight, last year, I figured that I have to finish rereading the other two. It’s a story about people who can turn into dragons and how one family leaves the comfort of their home to live away from them – and the dangers that ensue afterward.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

thehouseofthescorpion

As one of my favorite books of all time, you’d think I’d have reread it more frequently, but I’ve actually have only read it twice, and that was a long time ago. So I figured I’d reread it and see if I love it as much as I did as a young teen or if my tastes have changed. But I just remember loving the clone aspect of it and of the mystery surrounding the main character, Matteo. Here’s hoping it’s just as awesome as the first time.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

memoirsofageisha

I read this book back in my early teen years and absolutely loved it. My dad wouldn’t let me read it at first because of the sexual content, but really? Not the worst thing I’ve read in terms of sex, let me tell you – even at that age. So when I read it, I fell in love with the characters and the story and how it just broke my heart and made me swell with love. I also saw the movie adaptation and thought that it was pretty faithful to the book, which I was glad for. So I definitely want to reread this and see if I like it just as much as back then.

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah.

chinesecinderella

I read this for a school project my freshman year of high school. We got to choose whatever book we wanted, and I had had this one for years, untouched and unread, so I decided to read it. And oh. My. God. This one just rips your heart out and tears it into a million pieces. I remember it making me angry, sad, excited. So many emotions from one story; and I think it’s partly because it’s a true story. I wonder if I’ll feel the same emotions on the second read through?

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

acertainslantoflight

I read this as my last summer reading I’d ever had to do, and I’m so glad this was on the list. Usually the books on the lists are boring and I’d never read them (literally this was the ONE YEAR I actually completed my summer reading 100%), but this book was just amazing. I loved the story of a ghost woman who was just trying to find her place, and of a ghost man who had taken up residence in someone, and how the two fall in love and more. It’s just a beautiful story and I want to reread it to see if I still think that it is.

And that’s all I have planned for rereading this year. I think that it’ll be good to get back into some of my old favorites because I loved them years ago, why wouldn’t I now?

Are you planning on rereading any books this year? Let me know!

Favorite Books of 2015

Hey peeps! Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite books I read last year because, well, why not? I loved them so much that I want to share with you all what they are and why I loved them. I already did a video version of this topic last month and just never got around to actually doing a blog post. So here we go!

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

thefinalempire

This first installment of the Mistborn trilogy was just amazing! It was epic in a way that I had never read before. The plot was extensive, weaving so many aspects of the lives that were being lead together; the magical system was unique and defining, but not all powerful; the characters were differentiated by talent, personality, caste, and more; and it was just overall an amazing read. Highly recommended. Check out my review!

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

igniteme

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the character arc in this trilogy was amazing. By far one of the best arcs I’ve ever read about. Juliette just proved how strong she was on her own without any guy to hold her down, and then the fights happened and the romance blossomed and the writing was incredible. This final installment of the trilogy was just amazing and I couldn’t recommend this more. Check out my review!

This Shattered World & Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

thisshatteredworldtheirfracturedlightAs the second and third books in the Starbound trilogy, I just felt that these two were better than the first. The stories that were told were haunting, heart-breaking, intense, and fast-paced. The romances were ones that made my heart flutter and the worlds in which they lived in had me wondering about our own universe. The way that the story wound itself through these two and joined everyone and everything together was smooth and enticing. Also, have you seen the covers? Gorgeous! Check out my reviews here and here!

Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

daughterofsmokeandbonedaysofbloodandstarlight

As the first and second books in this trilogy of monsters and angels and humans, I was drawn in not only by the concept of the chimera and angels fighting against one another, but for the writing. Laini Taylor’s use of the English language is one that is beautiful and encompasses so much emotion and passion in every stroke. Not only that, but I found the characters to be engaging, the story to be different, and the romance to be one that stretches beyond time. Check out my reviews here and here!

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

queenofshadows

As the fourth installment in my favorite fantasy series, of course I loved this book. It wasn’t without its problems, of course, but it was just everything I wanted and more from this series so far. There’s action, adventure, deceit, romance, death, magic, and more. Loved it and can’t wait for the next one. Check out my review!

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

thekissofdeception

My first audiobook experience and it also became one of my favorite books. This story is one in which a princess runs away from marriage and tries to build a new life with her friend, but ends up in a much bigger plot than she could have imagined. The audiobook was told in three perspectives and the actors did well with changes of voice and pronunciations. I loved the story and the characters and it’s just a beautiful tale of lies, love, friendship, and the need for freedom. Check out my review!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

anemberintheashes

This debut novel was amazing from start to finish. Set in an ancient Rome-esque society, there is brutality in the land, slaves, warriors, a fight for freedom, hints of magic, and so much more. Honestly, how is this a debut? It’s so good! I’m also really glad that the second book will be coming out later this year because I need it now. Check out my review!

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

simonvs

This. Was. So. Cute. I was squeeing and laughing out loud so much from this book and I am so glad I picked it up. This book is a coming out story and one that kids in today’s modern age can appreciate. With the use of the internet, two kids from the same school are able to communicate with one another and get close with one another, falling in love though they don’t know who the other is just yet. It was so adorable and it just brought so much happiness to my heart. Highly recommend this one. Check out my review!

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

cityofglass

This is the third book in the Mortal Instruments series, and when it was originally a trilogy I could see how this wrapped up the story beautifully. Not only were the characters coming in to their own, but the story was growing more and more exponential and the plot was becoming more and more twisted. This book holds hope, revenge, love, anger, and so much more. Honestly, a fantastic installment for the series. Check out my review!

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester

theamazingbookisnotonfire

So I didn’t discover these two YouTube stars until I saw their book trailer, but I still really adore them! And I just needed the book. It’s a funny compilation of some of their best work, some fun facts about them, and some advice on making YouTube videos. I also got the audiobook, and it made the book 100x better. Loved it! Check out my review!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

theravenboys

The writing in this book is phenomenal! I loved the story, the characters, the twist of the psychics and the magic that lingers in the little town of Henrietta. The characters are all so intriguing and genuine and though I didn’t grow to love them until the second book, they were still etching their way into my heart. I highly recommend picking up this book and giving it a try. Check out my review!

So there you have it! Thirteen of my favorite reads from last year. If you haven’t picked any of these up then I highly suggest you do; you won’t be disappointed! And if you are, well… sorry.

What were some of your absolute favorite books that you read in 2015? Did you read any on my list? What were your thoughts? Let me know!

The Dream Thieves Book Review

thedreamthievesTitle: The Dream Thieves
Series: Book #2 in The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Steifvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 437
Format: Gifted Paperback

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.

As this is a sequel there may be spoilers!

This book, guys. This book was amazing. From the way the setting is detailed to the anxious feelings of the characters, to the mysteries underlying it all, this book was spectacular.

The plot of this book mainly focuses on dreams and mostly from the perspective of Ronan, the wild card of the Raven Boys group. He’s often pretty rowdy and mean, even if he likes the person, but that’s just the way he is. And there’s really no difference in this novel even when the perspective is from him.

As it starts, the book talks a lot more in depth about dreams and just how Ronan is able to conjure things from his dreams and bring them into reality. They might be just slightly skewed from the dream world, but he otherwise brings almost perfect replicas of whatever it is he wants most in his dreams to real life. At first, no one 100% believes him, until he brings something back, and then it’s like that wasn’t the strangest thing they had seen all day.

But not only do we get an explanation of dreams and how Ronan is able to conjure these things, we get a much wider look into his life when his father was alive and how his father also had the gift. We also learned so much more about his family that I guessed some things and, sure enough, I was right. It shocked me to know that I was right because some part of me was hoping I was wrong, but at the same time it’s amazing to think how one person could conjure up so much in their lifetime.

Aside from Ronan’s life and perspective, the book does follow the other characters are well, as well as a new person: The Gray Man. Now, the Gray Man is, well, inherently gray. From the clothes he wears to his intense gray eyes, he is just an embodiment of the word and color gray. He’s also a hit man and his current job is to find the Graywaren – an object that can help bring things out of people’s dreams. He doesn’t know that the Graywaren is a person, though, and so he goes around Henrietta trying to find it.

And along the way he goes to visit the home of Blue’s family, where he meets Calla, Persephone, and Maura, and has a very lovely and interesting encounter with Maura. I actually really like those two together; they just seem to balance one another out well.

Then there was Kavinsky, who I really didn’t like, but also couldn’t help like at the same time. He was an extremely bad person in some ways and very much like an open flame: unyielding and untamed. And the fact that he, too, also has the same gift as Ronan shocked me! I didn’t think that it would be outside of Ronan’s family, but then again, why shouldn’t there be others with the same ability? And even though he did help out Ronan to really discover the potential in taking from the dream world, he was just too unpredictable.

Though he did point out something pretty awesome about Ronan near the end there and I nearly died. Oh man.

I grew to appreciate Gansey and Adam more because in the first book, I couldn’t understand the hype around Gansey – why does everyone love him? – and I just kind of thought Adam was up to no good. But this book, from the perspectives of Blue and Ronan, as well as Adam and Gansey themselves, showed more of who they are to their cores and I really appreciated those aspects of them. And now I find myself rather attached not only to them, but all of the characters.

As far as the plot goes, the underlying mystery and search for Glendower continues as the group discovers more mysterious objects from Glendower’s time and how they discover more about the ley line and why it’s acting funny and disappearing. I love how Steifvater is able to weave all of their individual stories together to bring everything out into the light slowly over time. She definitely has a way with words in this series.

And as far as the other characters go, I feel like they are each coming into their own and realizations of who they are as people is drawing on them. They are each realizing their destinies, in a way, and I think that that is a truly beautiful thing. Every one of them brings out something in the other, whether it be good or bad, but I think that those times really help to show just who they are on the inside, which is most important of all.

Of course, the book isn’t without its faults with some slow points or parts that sometimes felt just a little out of place, and a few typos here and there, but otherwise I was so wrapped up in the story itself to notice anything else wrong with it.

Overall, I loved this book. I thought that the writing was exquisite and that everything about the plot and the discoveries of the characters’ personalities was really well put together – especially at the end where I literally gasped out loud to some things and stopped breathing for others.

I rate this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it after you read The Raven Boys.