Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
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.
! 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.
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!