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Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)

Release Date: April 26, 2016
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 438 pages
Source: Library Audio Book

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.


    

Review:

Characters: *Sigh* These characters. I can't even begin to describe my love for the characters of this series, the characters who drive this story. If you go back and read my review of The Raven Boys you'll see that I didn't always like or love these characters. Some sure, but not all of them. Ironically the characters I liked the least, Adam and Ronan, became my favorite characters by the time this series is over. The characters in this book are so well fleshed out, they are so multi-layered, and they are so unique from one another, yet fit together so perfectly. As I think how these characters develop in this book, I can't quite pinpoint on how, they do develop, it's plain to see, but it's hard to describe in what ways. Everything is so subtle that by the time you notice something happens, you don't exactly know what happened.

Romance: So, surprisingly there isn't all that much emphasis on the romance in this book. Granted the rest of the books in this series don't quite put an emphasis on romance, regardless of the fact that one of the central themes is that if Blue kisses her true love he will die. Anyway, there is quite a bit of Blue/Gansey romance, though it's little things, things that more cement their feelings for one another and show them off rather than developing them. Then there's Adam/Ronan. I don't want to give anything away so I'm going to try and be as helpfully vague as possible. There isn't all that much romance between Ronan and Adam, don't get me wrong it's there and it's done really well. What I love about their romance is that it isn't idealistic. That doesn't mean they can't or don't get together, more that when certain feelings come to light, it's not instantly all okay and sunshine and rainbows. There are real feelings involved, some romantic feelings, and some feeling of confusion that need to be sorted out before things can proceed.

World-Building: Normally when I get to the final installment in a series I marvel at how the author could possibly fit more crucial world-building into this final installment. However, with this series, it doesn't shock me in the slightest. Each installment in this series has served a purpose to the overall story. There's a definitive reason for each book being there, and while I'm sure everyone knows the main reason we have this book, other than it's the final installment, there are to no one's surprise crucial world-building elements that tie everything together. We learn about the past, who did what so that our characters landed where they did, we learn about the present and the dangers that our characters face, we even learn about the future and the actions taken that shape this story in immeasurable ways.

Predictability: We all know the big thing here. It's been teased since the first book, and Maggie Stiefvater hasn't exactly been coy with the information. It's not a spoiler to say that Gansey dies in this book. That's not the twist, that's not a shocker, in fact I know many of my friends are terrified to begin this book because of that fact. However, we don't know why he dies, how he dies. We don't know if he stays dead or comes back to life. If he comes back, how? If he stays dead, how does that impact our surviving characters? These are the things that can make for a great twist. For the most part I didn't quite know what was going to happen in this book, I could see Stiefvater going either way, either a happy ever after ending or a tear your heart out ending. That's not even to mention the twists that had nothing to do with Gansey's death. There's a lot in this book to look out for, you should be terrified, but you should also be excited.

Ending: My God, this ending. This ending ruined me. This series isn't known to be fast paced. In fact this series is probably the slowest paced one I've ever read, It doesn't grip it's readers and pull them along on a high adrenaline ride, it slowly lures you in and before you can even tell you're trapped with no escape. However, the last seven or eight chapters of this book grabbed me and never let go as it soared through the sky. There's a lot that goes down in the end of this book and I'm not going to give anything away, but saying it ruined me pretty much covers it. Then there's an epilogue and while most things are wrapped up. I can't help but feel that this is not the end. In a way that easily mirrors the mind f*** of a cliffhanger ending of the first book, there's a kind of, sort of, not really cliffhanger ending that's not 100% clear what's really happening. All I know is I want... something more.

Rating:


This book DESTROYED me. There is so much to love, so much to hate, and so much to crave about this book, and really this series in general. If you're anxious to read this book, I totally get it and I'd be lying if I said you shouldn't be, but read it anyway, power through it. Hopefully you'll thank me if you do.

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