New Release Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Raven KingThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #4
Genre: YA Fantasy/Magical Realism
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
 

Synopsis from 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.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: “Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close.”

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Wendy’s Review

In the beginning I read half of Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and felt lukewarm.  I read The Scorpio Races and felt impressed.  Finishing The Raven Cycle, however, I feel blessed.

Reading anything by Maggie Stiefvater is almost like reading poetry.  The Raven Cycle though, was particularly emotive.  It was so full of feeling and depth that even in the casual scenes you find yourself reading with the whisper of a lump in your throat, with shallow breath.  It’s like you’re afraid to spook the story, because at any point these beloved characters, that are so unique, will disappear.  At any point we could lose one of them, or this entire beautiful world will unravel.  It’s just so magical, every word, and its magic is fragile.  Even though I was terrified of this final installment, knowing my heart would be broken, I could never have resisted reading it.  I’ve been captivated since the very first book.

She scowled at Gwenllian.  Blue was very short and Gwenllian was very tall, but Blue very much wanted to scowl at Gwenllian and Gwenllian seemed intent on being scowled at, so they made it work.

The Raven King was particularly emotional.  Through the entire story you knew it would end in loss, you just were never quite sure how the loss would manifest itself.  There wasn’t any character that you would sacrifice, or any part of the world (Ley Line, Cabeswater, 300 Fox Way) that you wanted to give up.  You especially didn’t want to let go as everything was finally coming together.  Characters were finding themselves, each other, and true love!  How could any of them be ripped away from that!

Gansey and Blue continue to be a highlight through the final book in the series, clearly.  I mean, in a sense the story itself is about the relationship between Gansey and Blue.  However, it’s the development that happens in the other characters that I think finally glowed in The Raven King.  In particular there’s always been something tragic inside Ronan and Adam.  The both of them are so lonely, and alone.  Alonesome.  There’s almost nothing I wanted more than for them to find peace, other than Gansey staying alive.  I wanted all of my magicians to find happiness.

Need was Adam’s baseline, his resting pulse.  Love was a privilege.  Adam was privileged; he did not want to give it up.  He wanted to remember again and again how it felt.

The best part of this series, though, is the fact that even though there’s romance and people falling in love, the story doesn’t focus on that at all.  Not even a little bit.  Yes Blue loves Gansey, but that in no way overshadows her love for Adam, Ronan and Noah.  The core of this series is the connection between all of them.  Gansey’s love for his best friends, and their love for him, almost takes prevalence over romantic love entirely.  Even then, Stiefvater never let the love cause her to lose sight of the plot.  It was absolutely perfect.

Reading Raven Cycle has been one of the best literary adventures of my life.  Ronan, Adam, Blue and Gansey (and even Henry and Orphan Girl now!) are going to be a part of me forever.

Maggie Stiefvater said, on facebook, “I don’t want readers to be sad. At the end of the Raven Cycle, I want readers … to want.”  

I want, Stiefvater.  Badly.

These days, they all had their hands thrust into the sky, hoping for comets.

Rating: 5 Stars = A+

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