I can’t even begin to describe the levels of anxiety I went through waiting for The Raven King, the last of Maggie Stiefvater’s brilliant Raven Cycle, to be released. I first encountered this magical series in June 2015. After reading the first book, I was hooked! But, alas, the last book wasn’t due to be released until November 2015. I settled in for a few rereads. Then, Scholastic announced the release date had been moved back to April 26, 2016. I was a mess of anxiety. I spent most of February obsessively rereading The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I spent most of March ogling this gorgeous cover, and reading the sample chapters. I spent most of April with my stomach in knots whenever I thought about it, which was frequently. If you have not yet this fantastic series, let me say that it is the best, most well-constructed series I have ever read! Also, check out my reviews for The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue.
I preordered this beauty from Fountain Bookstore, which offered a doodled-in book with an autographed bookplate (drawn by Stiefvater herself!!). I was ecstatic to receive such book goodies, especially since it would be my first autographed book! I was less excited when I had to wait for a week for my book to arrive (during which I was on an Internet ban, because, spoilers!!). Still, it finally came!! I came home to find this package waiting for me:
Upon unwrapping, I received all of this!!
Before I review the actual book, I’d like to thank Fountain Bookstore and Maggie Stiefvater for making such a great fan package available! I cried with happiness.
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.
Guys, this was perfect. Utterly, unbelievably, perfect. Stiefvater drove everything from the first three books together. She tied it up and pulled it apart, brought new elements forward and closed everything out so perfectly. From the second I read the first sentence, I knew I was done for.
“Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”
-The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
It mirrors the first sentence of The Raven Boys so perfectly, so deliberately. From a writer’s perspective, that deliberateness is what makes Stiefvater and this entire series stick out to me. Every single word, both written and omitted, is so deliberately placed to create that unmistakable magic. I bow down in wonder of Stiefvater’s skills.
The most important part of any series, but the Raven Cycle in particular, is its characters, and Maggie brings the intricacies of all our favorites alive, as well as bringing a few more new ones into the mix. I loved how the women of 300 Fox Way were treated. Their unity is super important to the story, and to Blue’s development, and Maggie portrayed that well. I missed the Gray Man, though! He wasn’t as important in The Raven King as he’s been previously. His storyline was the least resolved, and I wish I knew a bit more about what happened on his end. There’s also some new and complicated villains thrown into the mix here. I’m again so impressed by the fact that they were really there all along, unseen, and Maggie brought everything together perfectly.
I LOVE THE GANGSEY SO MUCH! Maggie did a great job of putting them all in a very finished and yet unfinished place at the end. I could see all of them develop into who they were meant to be. Noah absolutely broke my heart. The final reveals about his role had my head spinning. He is such a precious, lovely person who did not deserve what happened to him. And Ronan… I always knew he was secretly a teddy bear! His true goodness and honesty and loyalty were so beautiful to witness. I was such a fan of the way Adam grew in this final chapter, especially because I actually disliked him as a person in the first two books, and now I love him!! He grew up so much. And he and Ronan’s relationship… was beautiful.
Okay, Blue Sargent was a gem! I love her ferocity. The discoveries about her and her family made so much sense, I loved the way Maggie included that (again, deliberately). Even if it was a bit weird. Henry Cheng is amazing!!! I wish he had had a bigger role in earlier books, he was incredible! He’s so funny and such a part of what the Gangsey is. And RoboBee is pretty epic.
Gansey is one of my all-time favorite characters ever, and Maggie finished his story off so perfectly! His story is excruciating and beautiful. I’ve never felt more known. I understand Gansey on an instinctual level, and I felt that Maggie by extension understood me. He broke me several times.
I laughed and I cried reading The Raven King. I’m an incredibly fast reader, but I read this book over three days because I didn’t want the magic to be over forever. My status updates on Goodreads are hilarious. Every plot point was tied up nicely, and then the epilogue… whew. It got crazy, people.
I don’t have anything else to say other than that I firmly believe everyone should read this series. It’s such a beautiful explanation of what it means to be human and to love. This series and this book are my all-time favorites. INFINITY STARS ❤ ❤ ❤
“And he began to dream.”