Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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.

Book 4 in the Raven Cycle series. I've read it twice now. I want to read the whole entire Raven Cycle again from beginning to end. And I will. I loved it, but I was disappointed in a few things. I'll try not to give too much away for those who haven't read it yet.

There are things that I loved.

This story has always been about Gansey, Blue, Ronan, and Adam, and of course the women of 300 Fox Way. It was partly about Gansey's quest to find a lost king. But as Maggie tells you in a repeated refrain throughout the story, depending on where you start the story, it could be about pretty much anyone.

What I discovered in reading the final novel of the series though, is that it was more about the journey than the destination. It wasn't really about magic, rituals, ravens, or tarot cards. It wasn't even about true love's kiss. It was about life and the people you meet along the way, the friendships you create, the families you form, the magic you find between you.

There were things I didn't.

Things seemed to happen a little too fast. There were loose ends that I wanted tied up. I missed out on the intimacy of the group when new characters were added. Some characters seemed thrown in the mix with little purpose when old characters that we already knew could have performed their roles just as easily. There was barely enough time to finish the story, let alone give totally new characters backstories.

I missed the passion between Gansey and Blue that seemed to fade. Where were my midnight rides? Where was the scene where she told Gansey that he was meant to die? How and why would Gansey leave his friends behind to hunt his lost king when he'd always scolded them for doing the same? And why did the ending just seem to...end?

I wanted more, and that's probably the problem. I wasn't ready for this beautiful, urgent, magical journey to end. So Maggie, you should know. I need more. I need more of my Raven Boys. I need them out on quests in foreign lands. I need to know what happened to Noah. I want more of the Grey Man. I need Blue and Gansey learning how to kiss without death lurking in every corner. I need Ronan and Adam learning to trust each other. I want more. Another book or five...I'm just not ready for them to leave me.

Although I want more, this book is still wonderfully written. Maggie is brilliant as always, and The Raven King gets 5 stars. The full series, The Raven Cycle is both brusque and lovely, adrenaline filled and tender. It's most importantly a quest toward friendship, truth, and ultimately love. You need to read it. Seriously.

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