The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Posted December 21, 2016 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Reviews / 4 Comments

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater
Also by this author: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Also in this series: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
Published by Scholastic Press on April 26th 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 400 •Format: HardcoverSource: Purchased
Goodreads
three-stars

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.

Oh dear oh dear oh deer (no pun intended.) There seems to be something peculiar about my relationship with this series, which is that I absolutely love and am consumed by the odd numbered installments, but the even numbered volumes are a bit harder for me to get through. I’ll admit I held off on reading this book for months because 1) I have to be in the right mood to appreciate Maggie Stiefvater’s paranormalcy and magical realism, and 2) because I was scared it wouldn’t live up to how much I adored Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I finally decided I wanted to wrap this series up before heading into 2017, and I have very mixed feelings about it, that are probably best summarized in list format.

*This review contains some spoilers. Major, major spoilers will still be hidden in spoiler tags, but small-to-medium sized spoilers are sort of out in the open. You’ve been warned.

Loves:

  • I love that Maggie Stiefvater can make things seem so grungy and dirty and yet so magical and wonderful at the same time. Her juxtaposition game continued to be on point in this novel.
  • SO MANY SHIPS. Gansey and Blue and View Spoiler »
  • I think I finally get what all the hype is about Rowan.
  • The kissing was excellent in this book and decidedly makes up for the lack of kissing in previous books.
  • Henry. I loved how the close-knit group ended up making room for him, and realizing that others in Henrietta were also inevitably touched by its wonderful and terrible magic. Also, he was so sassy and I loved him. I think I just may love all Raven Boys. They are all my type. If I was single (and fictional and a teenager) I’d definitely be scouting out Raven Boys as potential dates.
  • Closure on Adam’s situation. I appreciated that the epilogue took time to focus on Adam getting some closure with his parents, but also recognizing that he had “saved himself” from them and their abusive influence and memories. I also thought it was really important that he came to this conclusion after he wasn’t all hopped up on ley-line magic. This series does an excellent job of infusing its characters with magic and premonitions and psychic abilities but then pulling back at the last moment and letting their humanity play the most important role at the end of the day.
  • Character development in this series is phenomenal. Another reason I want to binge this series one day is to see how drastically and yet believably ALL of the characters change. Even when the changes sort of made me go from liking to disliking a character (Adam) or from hating to loving a character (Rowan) the development is so strong that I can’t help but applaud it.

Loathes:

  • How the whole Glendower thing went down. I almost feel like I missed something because it was so nonexistent after spending THREE BOOKS building it up.
  • The pacing felt off to me. The whole book felt heavy and oppressive with anticipation, but not in a thrilling build up sort of way, more in a can-we-please-just-get-to-the-point sort of way. I also didn’t like the introduction of some of the new POVs, which was surprising since I enjoyed so many of the POVs introduced in BLLB.
  • Blue is a tree? What? I’m sorry, maybe I’m just not open minded enough but I could not really get on board with the whole tree-people thing.
  • Maybe it’s because I’ve read the books so far apart from one another, but I found that I kept forgetting major plot elements (like with the whole 3 sleepers thing). I feel like this is a series that really needs to be binged in order to remember all of the nuances and to get the full impact.
  • The demon thing was gross. I get that it was symbolic and Stiefvater is super good at writing unsettling, creepy scenes but I didn’t really find it scary, just sort of absurd (and gross).
  • It seems like everyone just sort of forgot about Noah by the end of the novel.
  • The end. After how long the book seemed to drag (for me, at least) the ending felt super rushed. I also felt like Gansey’s fate was a bit of a cop out View Spoiler »

Overall: Basically I felt confused at least 40% of the time while reading this. While I enjoyed it and greatly applaud the unique story telling, unsettling moments, and character development, I felt like the pacing was off and the ending was ambiguous and left more questions than answers. This is definitely a series that benefits from having its novels read in close succession, and definitely adheres to a certain type of mood and taste. Regardless of the aspects of the last installment that underwhelmed me, I can see myself revisiting this series for the writing and the magic.

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge 2016

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4 responses to “The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

  1. I agree with so much of this! I essentially binged the series and read the Recaptains summaries in between to stay fresh. I truly couldn’t have gotten through the series without recaps (they were written by Maggie too!). I liked TRK a bit more than you but I definitely agree with your loathes. Lots of anticipation and build-up for not as much action/intrigue as expected.

    • I actually did read the ReCaptains summaries before I read BLLB back in January of this year (bless them) so I was *somewhat* caught up with what was going on. IDK I just think there were so many expectations going into this and not all of them could come to fruition. I still loved the writing style and I love Maggie, but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series. I still see myself rereading one day though, it’s so unique and I don’t think I’ll ever come across something quite like it again!

  2. I’m still reading the first one, but its nice tok know you would re-read this series even though there were parts you didn’t like. I also think I will take your advice and read this series back to back…

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