Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, or, What To Do With My Life Now

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4)
Pages: 400
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Author Website: Maggie Stiefvater

Cover Comments: I really love the cover, and it matches the other covers perfectly of course. However, the deer is just a bit out of the blue.

First Line: “Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”

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.



“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.”

Once again, Queen Stiefvater leaves me feeling so happy that there are books and series like this in the world, and devastated that this one is over. Maggie is so so good at creating unique characters that you just have to care about. They're flawed, hilarious, brave, and feel very real. Over the course of the series, each character has been fleshed out and explored, and while there are many new things to discover about the characters in this book, (some surprising to me) all the revelations feel very right given what we already know.

I assume if you're reading this, then you've already read the first three books in the series. If not, GO NOW DO IT. Ahem. One of the other unique things that I enjoy about this series is the family dynamics. Often in YA, especially fantasy, parents are conveniently never around, and can't interfere with any supernatural havoc or teen romance. However, each of the main characters in the Raven Cycle have very different home lives, and rather than being brushed under the rug, their families are highlighted as an integral part of themselves, as it should be. Blue's mom knows all about the fantastical adventures her daughter is having, and they have an open and honest, if a bit terse, line of communication about Blue's love life: 

"Do you love him?" Maura asked curiously.
"I'd rather not," Blue replied.
"He has lots of negative qualities I can help you hone in on," her mother offered.

Gansey's family, on the other hand, knows that he is searching for an ancient king, but brushes it off as a historical quest, ignoring any magical element. Even though Gansey's family is not a huge part of the books, Stiefvater shows how Gansey's single-minded quest affects his relationships with his family.

Now, to the romance. I am SO HAPPY about the romances that bloom in The Raven King. One I expected, and one I only suspected, but they both ended up feeling so perfect. Romance is still not the central focus in the story, but it does take up significantly more space than it has in the previous books, which I am not complaining about.

One comment I've seen about this book/series/Stiefvater in general, is that some aren't a fan of her pacing. Sometimes it seems like the plot takes forever to progress and then runs at a breakneck pace. Maybe I'm just so in love with Stiefvater's writing that she could write about laundry and I would be interested, but this has never proven to be a problem for me. It's true that  A LOT happens near the end of the book, and not a ton in the beginning/middle, but I think this was necessary to set up the end.

And the end. I definitely didn't see everything happening the way it did, but it was utterly perfect. I'm very satisfied with the ending and I'm already planning my next dive into Stiefvater's books.


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