5 Things About The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

May 23, 2016 Review 22 ★★★★

5 Things About The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Purchased
Pages: 448
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Other, Young Adult
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.

This is a spoiler free review; there is spoiler section that follows but it is hidden in a spoiler tag.


This book might lead to my insanity. When I read the last page of THE RAVEN KING and closed the book, I was a little … dazed. I cycled through various emotions before landing on and running with confusion. THE RAVEN KING did not deliver that satisfying conclusion I had been, well. not expecting, but hoping for. Here’s why:

We’re just moseying along until the end

I’m conflicted about the pacing. On one hand, the pages flew by. On the other hand, there really wasn’t much on those pages. Seventy-five percent of The Raven King felt like the previews to a movie you went to see in theaters as you wait for the actual movie to start: not boring, but not what you came there to see. Originally, the introduction of new characters and side plots in this section excited me – until I realized they weren’t going anywhere. More on that later.

Once Things Go Down towards the end, the large amount of filler content disappeared and every single detail felt important. The actual conclusion and epilogue felt anticlimactic though don’t kill me. I expected a grand “So THAT was it!” revelation or feeling but I didn’t get that, most likely due to the fact that I just felt like I was missing the point. (It had been a long, long time since I read the other books.)

The Raven King: Center for Abandoned Characters and Subplots

I have nothing against the addition of characters or side plots in the final book, it’s a great opportunity to introduce new twists or key information that will come to affect the ending. At the very least, I expect these new additions to play a part big enough that, in their absence, I would feel like something was missing. I didn’t have that here. Some characters just took up space and didn’t go on to do anything. Actually, this describes quite a few of the characters.

Stiefvater is notorious for open endings, but THE RAVEN KING feels like an unfinished story with loose threads everywhere. Between all the subplots that went nowhere and the characters that had potential but turned out to be one-dimensional, nothing really feels complete. I know some of these questions aren’t supposed to be answered because that’s part of the magic, but I have to disagree here.

The Raven King: Center for Confused Readers and Unanswered Questions

Having so many unanswered questions at the end of a four book series makes me a little twitchy. So much so that I scoured the Interwebs looking for answers. What questions were other people left with? Was there something I missed? Some key part that I wasn’t able to put together on my own? What happened to [side character one], [side character two] and [side character three]? Was [side character four] even necessary? I was so confused. Luckily, there were many readers out there to talk to, all with their own answers. (Details in the spoiler section) Also, special thanks to Micheline for listening to my 500 questions.

Stiefvater’s writing is still vivid and imaginative

If there was ever a constant. it’s Stiefvater’s magical way of telling a story. After reading a few books before this that lacked any sort of descriptive writing, I can appreciate books like this even more. There were also a few twists, nothing like in previous books, but twists that surprised me. Also, now that I have read theories and discussed this book with people, I am beginning to see the genius behind THE RAVEN KING, although I would say it still has issues.

Magic might lay in between the lines of the previous books

Knowing what I know now, due to the ending of THE RAVEN CYCLE, a reread of the entire series almost seems necessary. I believe reading this series again could answer a lot of the questions that still remain, but not everyone will want, or have the time, to. I read recaps of all three books before I read this one, and I felt like that wasn’t enough.

Although I have discussed many negative aspects of THE RAVEN KING, it is a book (and series) I am glad to have read, and I did like it. I thought long and hard about the Rating Report and have carefully rated this book. Overall, while this was enjoyable, it didn’t feel like the carefully crafted story Stiefvater normally weaves.

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! Spoiler Section !

This section below is filled with spoilers for the entire series as well as THE RAVEN KING and the ending, including numerous theories. This is your last warning.

Click me to view the spoilers!

As I mentioned earlier, here are just a few of the questions I was left with:

WHAT was the TIRE doing there!?
Are they repeatedly living the same things over and over again?
The Raven CYCLE  *manic laughter* I get it, I get it! *rips out hair*
Significance of the stag on the cover?
What exactly happened to Noah?
Is the Gray Man gone for good now?
Can Blue’s kiss still kill Gansey?
Where did Piper and her father(s?) end up?
Why were the triplets even introduced?
Why was Henry even in this series?
Did Glendower even serve a purpose then?


After searching through Goodreads, I found two theories that seem genius and make a lot of sense to me, so I have now made them headcanon:

Glorious explanation on Gansey’s resurrection(s) from Trina:

“Glendower did not resurrect Gansey the first time with the bee incident because Glendower was already dead. It was Noah’s voice that Gansey heard, but did Noah have the power to resurrect him? I believe that Gansey was resurrected that first time because he’d ALREADY been resurrected the second time by Cabeswater. Cabeswater exists outside of ordinary time. When it healed him at the end, it was simultaneously healing him at that other point in time (possibly through Noah, whose spirit had been blessed by the ley line since he died as a sacrafice). And that’s why Gansey had the ability to command small things in Cabeswater with his words. Because he’d had a part of the ley line in him all along.”

Great theory about whether or not Blue is still dangerous to Gansey from Rebecca:

“…I also think it’s pretty clear that Blue and Gansey can kiss, since in the actual death scene it wasn’t her kiss that killed him, it was his voice command to end it. So it sure seemed like Blue’s actual kiss was never going to kill him, but rather that when they kissed it would be at the time of his death (which made it a self-fulfilling prophecy, since theoretically they could have kissed before then, they just didn’t believe it). (Since remember the wording isn’t, “Kissing your true love will kill him” but instead “when you kiss your true love he will die”).”

If anyone wants to discuss my questions/this book/the ending/these theories, please feel free to message me on Twitter in order to keep the comments somewhat spoiler free!

Rating Report
Overall: 4

22 Responses to “5 Things About The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater”

    • Alise

      I couldn’t agree more, I also have a terrible memory. That kind of sucks though because how many people are going to reread all the books? Especially casual readers?

  1. Pui-man

    I had mixed feelings after reading it. I didn’t dislike it, but I also didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t completely satisfied either. There were so many confusing things, especially the last few chapters, I was just like, what is even happening right now? I still have so many questions, similar to the ones you have in the spoiler section. The explanations you provided help a little, but still so. many. questions! Also, I totally agree with you about the moseying. I was never bored, but there was also not much happening.

    • Alise

      Exactly! I was so conflicted, especially when it came rating. The “what is even going on” feeling stuck with me as well, I even tried rereading the last few chapters and still just didn’t get it. I don’t mind when authors give you pieces and you have to assemble them yourself, but here I feel like we were missing pieces to begin with. Right? Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts!

  2. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m hoping to start Blue Lily, Lily Blue soon…and then I do own The Raven King. I wonder if reading all these right now means I’ll remember things better and have more answers? I don’t know. I’m sorry it felt a bit open-ended though…that’s no fun!

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Come What May by A.M. Arthur

    • Alise

      I think so! With everything fresh in your mind it should be easier to connect any dots. No worries :)

    • Alise

      Thank you! This review seriously took me forever to write. Honestly I have to commit those theories to my reality or I’ll go insane trying to figure out what the truth is xD

    • Alise

      This is actually the last book in the Raven Cycle series so I would start with The Raven Boys :)

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    The quotes you shared in the spoiler section perfectly explain my impressions…albeit far more eloquently than I ever could do. Chatting with you brought up some minor questions of my own though, all of which could benefit from a reread. For me, Maggie Stiefvater’s glorious writing and AMAZING characters more than made up for any questions I could have had. I got LOTS of feels here and because of the openness of the ending, I could NOT LET GO. I still can’t. I might just reread the series over and over again…like a CYCLE LOL! Oh and it was my pleasure chatting about all of this with you ♥

    • Alise

      I’m taking those theories as fact just so I can sleep at night xD Glorious writing was indeed glorious, and you can’t go wrong with this group. The questions just haunt me, haha. Same here! :)

  4. Eve @ Twist in the Taile

    I definitely did enjoy this, but I think it’s always difficult when books are so hyped up for them to be satisfying. The barrage of new narratives and characters did sort of confuse me, but… I’m mostly in it for the main characters, and it was so wonderful to get back to them. (I wasn’t paying very close attention to the plot, I think. I’m realising that have basically no answers to your questions ahaha.)

    • Alise

      True. Plus I think this whole series hyped up this last book. All three previous books were just building and building but it fizzled out instead of exploding. Haha, you’re not the first person that has said that. I have to have ALL THE ANSWERS :p

  5. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    OMG, Alise! You spoke from my heart! I enjyoed The raven King but I was so confused and unsatisfied with ending! Either author took easy way out and left most things unanswered because she did not know how to answer them or I just missed al hints and did not get it. Either way, ending left bitter taste in my mouth. Especially, why would author introduce and develop so many great side characters only to say zero about them? And what about Noah? Grey Man? Blue’s father? Mother? Why was there henry even for? What baout tire, Orphan Girl? I felt cheated since I invested my time to this series and got almost zero answers by the end…
    P.S. I love that theory about Blue being dangerous to Gansey that you shared at the end. Sadly, we will never learn if it is true or not :/
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…NO MORE WAITING #8: THE RAVEN CYCLE

    • Alise

      I’m glad that someone else felt the same way! I felt like it was that I had missed hints as well, especially since it’s been so long since I read the series the first time. EXACTLY!? I don’t get it…

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