The Raven King is the final installment in The Raven Cycle, a wonderful YA fantasy series. With all the build up in the previous three books, I was expecting the conclusion of this series to go out with a bang! Unfortunately, The Raven King fell flat for me…
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Genre: Young Adult > Fantasy
Version: Audiobook (11h 51min listening length)
Narrator: Will Patton
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
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.
*Spoilers for books 1-3*
You can read my review for The Raven Boys here → Book Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
You can read my review for The Dream Thieves here → Book Review: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
You can read my review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue here → Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
As per usual, Stiefvater’s writing is on point in The Raven King. She really has become one of my new favorite authors. Her writing is so beautiful and atmospheric. It really suites the tone of this series perfectly. The plot line in this series is hands down one of the most creative and original works that I’ve ever encountered. Before starting this series, I didn’t have much experience in the realm of fantasy, but Stiefvater has really opened my eyes to a whole new genre.
One of the best things about this series it that Stiefvater’s characterization is so well done. The characters: Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam, feel like real people who actually exist. I fell in love with these characters, and they will hold a special place in my heart always. Ronan in particular will always be my favorite. Such a wonderful and complex character. Maggie Stiefvater actually announced that she submitted a 3 book outline to do a spin off of The Raven Cycle with Ronan as the main character… Be still my heart! I really hope this transpires because I know I am not alone when I say that I want more Ronan Lynch in my life! I would also like to note that Adam, I character that I did NOT care for in the first two books and only started to tolerate in the third, earned his spot in my heart. The personal growth Adam goes through in this series is more than any other character. I particularly liked the scene with him and his parents towards the end. Adam matured over the course of these books, and I can’t help but feel proud of him.
Honestly, I was expecting The Raven King to blow my socks off. The first three books in The Raven Cycle were all building to this moment, this huge conclusion, but it did not pan out that way. There were two climaxes in The Raven King, the search for Glendower and Gansey’s fate, but both felt very anti-climatic… The entire plot was centered around the hunt for Glendower, but it ended up being a HUGE let down. It just didn’t make sense in the context of the story, therefore it just caused some flaws in the plot. In regards to Gansey’s fate, I was anticipating Gansey’s outcome, however the execution was poorly done. This SHOULD have been one of the most emotional scenes in the entire series, but it just wasn’t. I wanted to feel the emotion…instead I felt nothing. It all felt very abrupt.
At the end of this book, I had more questions than answers. There were so many loose ends, especially with secondary characters… Noah, Gwenllian, Artimus, Orphan girl, Seondouk, the grey man, the Laumoniers, and the ladies of 300 Fox Way… basically any character that ISN’T Blue, Gansey, Ronan, or Adam. What happened to them?! Instead of introducing a few new characters (Henry, Seondouk, & the Laumoniers) I would have liked some closure for some of the characters that were introduced earlier in the series. Speaking of new characters, while I adored Henry Cheng as a character, I felt he was a little random. It just felt like he was thrown into the storyline… I wish he would have been added in the third book. The insta-friendship was a little odd, and he just felt out of place in the ending scenes.
Throughout The Raven King I also had some moments where I felt confused. For example, I didn’t fully grasp the secret about Blue’s father and subsequently, the truth about Blue… I really just had a hard time understanding this one. I would have liked a little more development in this concept… It was introduced, then never brought back up again. Also, the whole Noah situation went WAY over my head. I didn’t really realize what happened with him until reading other reviews. I am not sure if all this confusion was just oversight on my part, or if these events were just not explained in enough detail.
This book was my LEAST favorite in the series. It breaks my heart to say this because I loved the first three books in this series, but it feels like Stiefvater was pressured to deliver a conclusion in a timely fashion, therefore this book felt very rushed and incomplete to me. What I needed the most from this book were answers and closure, unfortunately I didn’t get much of either.
Do I still think this series is worth while? Absolutely!! I still love this series, even though the conclusion fell a little short. These characters are everything, therefore I regret nothing. I look forward to reading more of Stiefvater’s work and can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the future.
About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.
All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.