Review: The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

the raven kingNothing 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.

Rating: 4/5

What a strange constellation they all were. 

Oh dear, I’m not even entire sure how to go about reviewing this one. Firstly, let it be known that my rating is more of a fan-enjoyment one, not a critical one. Because there were numerous flaws, which I shall get to later on, but I’m so invested in this damn series that I determinedly ploughed ahead and enjoyed myself despite them.

These days, they all had their hands thrust into the sky, hoping for comets. The only difference was that Ronan Lynch’s wild and expanding universe existed inside his own head. 

I mean, this was one my my most anticipated reads of the year, and on the whole, it didn’t disappoint.

Allow me to reveal a selection of my favourite quotes:

“Get the fuck out,” Ronan said, but with admiration. “Sargent, you asshole.”

In this other place, it was easy to tell that the music was the sound of Ronan’s soul. Hungry and prayerful, it whispered of dark places, old places, fire and sex. 

“I thought you would be hairier,” she whispered. 
“Sorry to disappoint. The legs have a bit more going on.
“Mine too.”

The book had the trademark humour, magic and edginess that we’ve come to expect. The author certainly doesn’t spare her characters in this one, and the darkness is as vicious and savage and sickening as you could hope for. One thing you can say for Stiefvater – her writing is always atmospheric. For all their faults, these books have soul. But while The Raven King certainly isn’t all sweetness and light, there are moments of feels, moments of wit, moments of redemption. And it’s glorious when the group are all together.

And our ships. Chapter 39, yo.

Adam smiled cheerily. Ronan would start wars and burn cities for that true smile, elastic and amiable.

And Henry Cheng was a delight.

“You do not have to get drunk, but I will be getting drunk. I’m told I don’t get loud, but sometimes I can get very philanthropic. Fair warning.”

And the longing, the wanting, the desire for a life bigger than what we have is so well encapsulated.

Blue was filled with frustration that her life was so clearly demarcated.
Things that were not enough, but that she could have.
Things that were something more, that she couldn’t.

There were three main things I had issue with though. And I will keep this vague in an attempt to avoid spoilers.

Firstly, we never get insight into Adam’s feelings for Ronan, whatever they may be. He’s a blank slate. Which makes for what seems to be a frustratingly one-sided affection. I know fandom has taken this ship to new heights, but the canon is disappointingly sparse.

Secondly, the depiction of Henry Cheng also problematic. I’ll link you to a post that outlines it better than I can.

Finally, this book was a bit of a hot mess. There were new characters and new plot threads introduced, which were just left hanging. The build-up from the first three books was also diverted in favour of a random ominous ~thing~ that pretty much came out of nowhere and derailed the momentum. Again, it’s another frustrating aspect for the reader, at least for me.

PS. I think Adam has taken a piss in a field in literally every single on of these books. Boy got bladder issues.

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6 thoughts on “Review: The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I have heard nothing but glowing reviews about this series, so I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it too and thought it was a satisfying conclusion to the series. Definitely going to have to pick this one up now! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

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  2. Okay, so. I think I’m going to get stoned if I say that I want to skip all the bullshit and just read Chapter 39. Not gonna lie, I’m struggling with this. I don’t remember Ms. Stiefvater being this purple-prose-y. I’m annoyed. Seriously annoyed with the writing.

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    1. Lol. I totally read the last chapter of this book before I began, just to set my mind at ease. There was quite a lot of purple prose, wasn’t there? Like I mentioned, this was quite a hot-mess at times.

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  3. Ha ha – I also peeked at the ending before I started. And while I loved the book overall, I share some of your frustrations. (I didn’t read the Henry depiction in exactly the same way as that post but I was interested in another point of view.) I also found certain aspects of the romances … unsatisfying, for lack of a better word.

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