Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater

**** This review is spoiler free! If you've read The Raven King or not you can enjoy my flails. Heck you can even enjoy it if you haven't read The Raven Boys. But seriously, what are you waiting for? These books are amazing! ****

Title: The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Written by: Maggie Steifvater
Published: April 26, 2016 by Scholastic
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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 lie; 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.

So I have been able to sleep on my feels for this book and while I am still frequently overwhelmed by the threat of tears and flailing I think I might be coherent enough to review it a little. First things first, this was a fantastic ending to a wonderful series. The Raven Cycle has slowly and methodically worked its way into my heart and it will live there forever. I am sad to see it end but I am so satisfied with the way it did. And interestingly, the more I sit with my thoughts the happier I am with this conclusion and usually it's the other way around.

The best part about this series has always been the characters. Maggie does such a brilliant job of introducing you to a crazy amount of people who you can't help but love and root for. And because this book alternates perspectives in such rabid succession, you get inside the head of so many of them. Protagonists, antagonists, minor secondary characters, main characters. You see this book from every side and it makes things really interesting. Because of that you can feel the character's pain, their hope, and their love. They are all so different and similar at the same time. They are all searching for "something more" as Maggie puts it and I wanted that for them. It's rare for me to feel this connected to characters but Maggie's writing and characterizations makes it so easy. I love Blue and The Raven Boys so much that at this point I don't think I could be more invested in their success.

And then there are the relationships. This book, this series, has so many amazing relationships. The connecting thread in this series is the friendships between the characters and the support they give one another. Whether it's the friendships, the familial relationships, or the romantic ones, the way the characters relate to one another is so amazing. I laughed along with them as they made fun of each other (Ronan and Blue in this book might be my new favorite BroTP), I cried along with them when bad things happened, and I swooned and flailed along with them when their crushes became more. Seriously, sometimes I'll remember certain phrases and chapters regarding ships and I will just get suddenly excited. But the relationships here are so brilliant and perfect I couldn't help it.

But the other thing that is so great about this book is that it is an amazing coming-of-age story disguised as magical realism. Sure, yes, there is a ton of magic in this book and it was great seeing that come more and more into play as the series developed. And yes, it was that magic which helped lead to our ultimate conclusion but it was more than that. I was talking to someone about this book and I how I loved that it wasn't just another one of those books where magic saved everything. Magic played a part but it was the characters that saved everything. The book didn't really feel over, the series didn't really feel over when each of the main characters had that "aha moment." The one where they took matters into their own hands and got their "something more." And when I look back on where they were in book one, I love what these characters have become by book 4. And while I was surprised by some of the ways the book ended for certain characters, it feels right. It's a really great coming-of-age story and I didn't realize that until now.

I should have expected surprises with this series. That's how the plot development has been the whole time. And The Raven King was in fact full of surprises and amazing reveals that caught me totally off guard. There were a few big things that I wasn't expecting at all despite the obvious hints along the way. But that's how The Raven Cycle has been for me, subtle clues coming together in a big way to shock me like few series can. I prefer when series have individual plot lines while at the same time having one overarching one that takes up all the books. That's what The Raven Cycle is like. There was a storyline that was independent to this book but there was also the larger one for the sseries. This of course being the conclusion, the stakes were even higher and the reveals had more impact. And some endings did feel a little anti-climactic but it was still satisfying end when it was all said and done.

On the whole, The Raven King was a brilliant conclusion to an absolute favorite series. I'm sad to see it end but it was a brilliant ride. Now if you don't mind I'll just go be overwhelmed with feels somewhere else now. I think I have moved on from my book hangover now that it's been a few days but oh boy it was pretty intense for a minute there. But who can blame me? This book is so good!

I give The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Is that even a question? Of course you should buy this book. If you have read the first three books and didn't get a copy already I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. The Raven King is the perfect ending to an amazing series. If you have not read this series yet, start it now. It's brilliant.

Have you read The Raven King? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I love this series and agree that this was just a fitting and satisfying conclusion! I was on pins and needles reading it and yet I never wanted it to end! I completely agree that the relationships are so good in this book and that it is so unique, so beatiful. Everyone should read this series!!