Written by Maggie Stiefvater
Published April, 2016 by Scholastic
Genres: Mythology, Psychics, Urban Fantasy
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
Add to Goodreads
The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.
Be warned – this review contains spoilers. Let me start off by saying that The Raven King was not a perfect book. Still, I was torn when faced with giving it a rating because… how do you rate something like this? Do you go with your heart – choosing to side with the characters and the love you feel for them? Or do you go with your brain – ultimately deciding that no, this story didn’t satisfy what I needed from the ending of a series? In the end, my heart won out. Therefore my rating reflects my affection for this series as a whole and the genuine love I’ve developed for the characters within The Raven Cycle.
“He was a king. This was the year he was going to die.”
The Raven King is one of those books you just can’t put down. I managed to finish this one in two sittings. I was driven by the need to know what happened to Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah. I needed to know before my heart burst and the possibility of NOT KNOWING became unbearable. Through the span of four books I’ve become incredibly attached to everyone and everything within Henrietta, Virginia and the dread I felt when it came to leaving them for good was akin to that of Mercy Falls, back when I read Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver finale, Forever.
What I wanted from The Raven Cycle was simple: a happy ending for all the characters and satisfying closure to the hunt for Glendower.
What I got from The Raven Cycle? A happy (if not a bit confusing) ending and a disappointing ending to the hunt for Glendower.
“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”
I’ve known from the start that this story was never meant to be about the quest, rather the journey and the characters that made it. Still, a big bit of me wanted to see the quest end in a magical discovery and ultimately answer all the questions I had about the Welsh king and how he managed to end up on the ley lines in Virginia. Over the course of four books we were thrown red herrings, clues and questions upon more questions… I wanted them answered.
While Maggie Stiefvater delivered in her trademark ‘Maggie Stiefvater way’, I’m still struggling to overcome the substantial disappointment that was the Glendower ending. What was it all for? Was there ever any point? Does there need to be? The fact that Glendower had been dead for what was most probably centuries was a major let down for me. Although I could tell things were not on track (they still hadn’t found Glendower right up until near the end) I still held out hope that things were going to fall neatly into place.
The Raven King was full of new aspects, too. Some I am a little confused as to why they were included at all: characters such as the relic hunters, the Orphan girl and Henry and the Robobee. Don’t get me wrong, Henry was okay, but I felt a bit like he was intruding on my Raven Boy time! I thought Piper’s idea to sell the Cabeswater demon was a little useless, too, and wondered what purpose it served in the grand scheme of things.
Still, bits from book one became relevant in The Raven King – such as Neeve righting her wrongs in the end – and everything did come full circle where Noah was concerned. There were some frightening scenes, some lovely scenes and despite my anxiety about the ending, I did have a lot of fun while reading it.
“His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”
The Ronan/Adam relationship was nicely developed and discovered in The Raven King, something I’m sure a lot of people will be giddy about. Adam’s discovery in regards to his feelings about Ronan was a bit too subtle for me, but I enjoyed seeing how their relationship unfolded.
As for Gansey and Blue, I’m sad to say I wanted a bit more. I loved their ‘secret dates’ and their ‘coming out’ to the group, but I wanted more of the quiet Gansey/Blue scenes. Once again I’m reminded, however, that this series was never about the romance, but the friendships between the group as a whole – but I can’t deny what my heart wants!
Things are a little murky to me when it comes to stepping back and realising the whole aspect of ‘time’ and ‘magic’ when it comes to the ley lines, but it’s one of those things I suppose will sink in over time and perhaps strengthen with a re-read.
All in all, this series was incredibly genuine in its characters and their development, and will remain to be a firm favourite as other Maggie Stiefvater series have for me. The writing was spot-on, the dialogue engaging and the imagination second-to-none. I cannot wait to see what Maggie has in store for us next!