The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: 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.
Source: I preordered a signed hardcover.
The Raven King concludes The Raven Cycle and I was eagerly awaiting the finale of the series. The series is one of my favorites and the author is also one of my favorites. Her style of writing, though not everyone’s cup of tea, mesmerizes me and I find myself slowing down and savoring every word, which isn’t something that happens to me often. What began as a story about a teenage girl possibly killing her true love by a kiss (which could have easily been the plot of a 2-3 star subpar teeny bopper paranormal romance) has turned into an epic story involving characters I feel I somehow know, dreamers, and Welsh kings.
It’s difficult to write a review without wanting to spoil so much, so I will likely keep this short and to the point. The fact that the series is not called a series or a saga or any other term for a story spanning multiple books and is instead called The Raven Cycle is absolutely perfect and I realize now why it’s so perfect in ways that I couldn’t quite pinpoint before the finale.
I closed the book just minutes before typing this review and yet I already miss the characters. They were so unique, multifaceted, and real. Despite their major differences in persona, demeanor, and interests, Gansey’s merry band of friends meshed well together and were somehow more. To Blue, as was said in the first book, she didn’t have friends that weren’t lumped together with family and Gansey’s crew immediately became part of her already extended family.
I thought The Raven King was amazing and it did so many things I wanted it to do. It might be the best in the series and it was probably the most complex. However, I can’t help but feel, as I felt mostly through the last half of the book, that there weren’t enough pages to wrap everything up. I still feel like there are loose ends, people who didn’t have their closure, and I feel like there could just as easily be another book on its way, though I know there isn’t. Part of me loves this because I absolutely hate conclusions wrapped in a neat little bow and handed to me since I love to ponder about the fate of the characters. The other part of me is already feeling like the end of the book was me being politely asked to leave this amazing party that I’m still totally invested in and I just want to see what else will happen. What about …? Fill in the blank. I’m sure over time my feelings will even out and if they don’t, I’ll just reread the series and re-experience the characters all over again if that’s what it takes. It’s a book hangover at it’s worst that I’m experiencing, which makes me feel bad, but is a wonderful sign of just how amazing the story, this particular book, and the ending in general is.
While it’s no secret that I love Maggie Stiefvater and all of her stories, I highly recommend The Raven Cycle above all others. It’s my favorite. The ending does not disappoint, so I feel like I can say with more confidence than before that this is a must read series. It is a story that captures the essence of friendship in a way that I don’t think I’ve encountered before. Sure, it’s also a much more complicated and fantastical paranormal/fantasy type of epic story, but at its heart, it’s about friendship, and it’s perfect.