The Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Published by Scholastic Press on April 26th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, LGBTQ+
Pages: 439
Goodreads

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.

5 Stars

As I’m writing this, I am actually physically trembling. I don’t think I’ve ever been this emotional about any book ever (not even the last Harry Potter book). That is how much I loved The Raven King.

“At the end of the Raven Cycle, I want readers … to want. I don’t want them to be able to say what it is they want, though — I want it to be a bigger thing than words. I hope they get to the end and don’t know what to do for the rest of the day. I hope they feel unsettled and needing of something more. I want messages that say, “Stiefvater, please, I just want … ” and then silence. They don’t know what they want. They just want.” — Maggie Stiefvater

Really, it can no longer be surprising that Maggie Stiefvater, the queen of words, would be better able to describe my feelings about the Raven Cycle than I can. Because this description is literally me right now. I cannot even try to express my feelings on this book or the series as a whole. Where would I start? What would I say? What if I say something wrong because I missed a detail or interpreted a message differently? I know I’m a reviewer and I love writing reviews so much but sometimes words fail me. This is one of those times.

This is not a review. It is a gathering of different thoughts, a Pinterest board of random contents of my brain, a playlist of feelings. If you do not want to read my inner ramblings, I completely understand. Just know this: The Raven Cycle is exceptional. It’s beautiful and thoughtful and will give you SO MANY FEELINGS. Admittedly, it is not a series for everyone. If you’re a reader who reads for the thrill of a fast-paced plot with twists around every corner and have trouble enjoying books that are more meandering and character driven, maybe this series isn’t the best choice. But if you read to fall in love with characters, to experience wonder, to flip to the last page and have the story continue in your mind, then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

I read The Raven Boys when it was first published in 2012. That was way before I started writing reviews, before I discovered Goodreads. Having finished it now I can officially say that it is my number one favourite series. That’s extreme, I know, but there just hasn’t been another that could evoke in me the same emotional response. These books aren’t just stories; they are literary masterpieces. And they are personal to me in a way that I don’t feel about any other book. I know that with every reread I will discover something new, that pieces will click into place I didn’t even know were askew. The messages and characters will stay with me for a very long time, perhaps forever.

In short: I love these characters and their never-ending complexity, I love Maggie’s writing style that is simultaneously odd and familiar (also, her freaking dialogues are ON POINT), I love the setting that came to life in my mind, I love the intricacy of the plot with its foreshadowing and miniscule pieces falling into place, I love the character development that is some of the best I’ve ever seen, I love that this series is so unique and not afraid to be different. Oh, and it goes without saying that: ULTIMATE SQUADGOALS.

The Raven King contains many of my favourite scenes of both the series and all books in general (these are just a few):
View Spoiler »

I feel like going into more detail would just end nowhere, so instead I’ve decided to address some of the issues my GR friends (who are all phenomenal reviewers) had with the series. Just a disclaimer: this is by NO MEANS a criticism of them. Every issue they brought up is 100% justified.

View Spoiler »

 

There is so much more to say but this review is already much too long. Please, PLEASE discuss with me in the comments (just include spoiler tags). I need to talk about this series to everyone.

Overall, I’m not giving The Raven King five stars because I think the book is flawless. I’m giving it five stars because despite its flaws, I still consider it one of my best reads of 2016 and found it too good to give it anything lower. I also acknowledge that I excuse some of the book’s flaws by saying “it’s Maggie Stiefvater!” which really isn’t a very objective or unbiased thing to do. However, I believe that when it’s the fourth book in a series, this is somewhat acceptable. There is no way for me to not be biased and I ultimately think Maggie delivered on the promises she made in the first instalment.

Depending on where you begin the story, it was about a little book called The Raven Boys.