The Raven King (Raven Cycle Book 4-Final Book)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Bang Bang Rating: 1/2
The appearance of Gwenllian and Artemus brings new hope of finding Glendower to Blue and the Raven Boys but when something deadly seeps into Cabeswater and with Gansey’s impending death premonition, the teens now fear they are running out of time.
- Characters-Stiefvater is a master at the character development. I personally feel like the reason why this series is so successful is Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Blue, and Noah. Even the supporting characters are weird and funny and amazing. Piper could have easily been a vapid self absorbed character but she’s so over the top it’s not a stereotype; she’s comic relief. And what the hell was Laumonier? I don’t know but he was fantastic and I wish there was more of him (them?).
- There are 20 characters that are mentioned several times and or have their own chapter and ordinarily this would be an issue but because they all have distinctive personalities, I was never confused and they all contributed to the plot.
- Themes-Everyone will come away with their own interpretation of the plot and according to Ruta Sepetys, it’s not what the author is trying to tell you it’s about what you got out of it.
- I loved the friendship the main five characters shared and we would all be lucky to have friends like these.
- Against Tropes– I hope editors are reading this series because insta-love, fight scenes, jealousy and infighting isn’t essential and this entire series proves that.
- All the characters have common issues-abuse, mortality, sexual identity, depression, retribution, unrequited love, and greed. But it’s told unconventionally.
- YA at it’s Finest-If there is someone who has disparaging opinions about YA and we all know someone, this series is the perfect starter book to present to them. Bravo to Stiefvater for writing a book full of character development and world building and folklore and not being afraid to tell a dense story.
- I read Raven Boys three years ago when I was new to YA and I gave it three stars. As I reflect back on the series, I don’t think I was fully aware of what YA could be and I found the book confusing. Dream Thieves changed my mind (after I read it a second time) and besides Harry Potter and Hunger Games this became one of my favorite series of all time.
- I think Maggie should teach a master class in this series because I know I miss A LOT!
- I had an issue with one of the romances, I won’t say which one but you can read about it in the spoiler edition. It just seemed out of the blue.
- I wasn’t sure why Henry was there. It brought some diversity to the series but other than that, not quite sure I needed him. I liked him but I didn’t need him.
As I sit on a selection committee whose job is to pick the top ten YA books of the year, I’ve learned how to read with a critical eye. I’ve also learned what journals are looking for when they assign starred reviews and what the upper crust selection committees are looking for when they select the NBA (National Book Award) and the Printz. Raven King is an example of a book that should and deserves to receive all the stars and all the awards.
Selection committees look for archetype vs. stereotype characters and Gansey and Ronan would be considered archetypes. Ronan could have been the brooding bad boy stereotype but instead he has secrets and he deeply loves his family and friends and he’s wounded. The plot is original as opposed to hackneyed (overdone plot). We’ve all read a story about a girl who’s cursed or people seeking that one wish but the Raven Cycle adds a new paranormal twist. Raven also has many themes and conflicts which is essential for a great book.
Although Raven King will get many starred reviews and accolades, it may not win awards because it is a book 4 as opposed to a book 1 which is unfortunate. If you are reading this review to decide if this series is for you, I strongly suggest you read this series as I believe this is one of the best series of the decade. This was a wonderful ending to wonderful series and I’m sad to see it end.
If you’ve already read this book and love it as much as I do, please share your love with me.
I must talk about this book in depth, so please read the spoiler edition and discuss The Raven King with me.