Book Review- THE RAVEN KING (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater
(The review below DOES NOT contain spoilers. However, if you press the ‘keep reading’ button, that’s where you’ll find spoilers abound. You have been warned.)
Prophecy and premonition come to a world-shattering climax as Gansey, Blue, Ronan, and Adam begin the final steps of their increasingly dangerous quest for Glendower. Everyone knows the end is near, and everyone knows the risks are heightening exponentially. A demon is ruining Cabeswater. Gansey’s time is dwindling out. Enemies are closing in on Henrietta, the teens, and their journey. But as close as the friends are, secrets still remain. Secrets that will rewrite this quest, and secrets that will rewrite each other. The last installment of The Raven Cycle pulls out all the stops for a heartwrenching finale, and tragedy seems inevitable.
I first began this series about a year ago, after a lot of pestering from my friend Edna and Tumblr as a whole. Intrigued by the interesting dynamic between Ronan and Adam, I decided to delve into The Raven Boys and ended up getting invested in far more than just those two. Of course, The Raven King maintains the vibrant characterization and vividly real relationships that make the series unique; it also furthers the crazy magic and mayhem unique to this one-of-a-kind story. I fell in love with these guys from page one of book one, and it was indescribably heartbreaking to bid farewell to them.
I spent a good deal of time wondering what would happen in this installment. There were things I assumed would happen (most did not, and that’s a good thing), many things I wanted to happen, and some things I most certainly wanted to happen, but hardly dared to dream of….and it was those things that came true, which is pretty awesome. My favorite parts were definitely the evolution of the romantic, platonic, and familial relationships that we’ve been waiting for. It was well worth the wait, let me tell you.
The only negative comments I’ve seen from reviewers stems from the wild, sometimes inexplicable magic that this quest revolves around. And, to an extent, I agree there were certain points where I wasn’t 100% certain what or why something magical was happening. For the overwhelming majority, however, I was intrigued and invested in everything going on– both magical and social. As customary with all the previous TRC books, the first 75% of the book maintains a gripping, electric pace that engages completely; the last 25% is something along the lines of DJAFK;JDSAK;FJDKJFKDJFKDJCNNNFJFJ MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC AFJDKAJFDS;JFDKLFJK SACRIFICE SACRIFICE SACRIFICE AFJDK;SFJSKDJFKDS;AJF. It requires very complete attention, and is very, very, very good.
I cried quite a few times. I laughed a good deal. Swooned, sighed, smiled. Mostly cried. This ending was such a good hurt. It is very rare that such highly anticipated final books can live up to my soaring hopes, so I rarely let myself get too hopeful. But The Raven King sincerely, wholly took my hopes and listened to them all; it seems ironic, since upon closing the book, I curled over myself and dissolved into body-wracking sobs…but the best way I can describe The Raven King is as a book of hope.
I keep waiting for the emptiness that comes after saying goodbye to a beloved series and characters who are more like friends than words on pages. I feel a bit of that hollow ache, but only because I miss them so much. However, I don’t think emptiness will really come, and that is precisely why The Raven King is so perfect in my mind. Even though I’ll never read about Blue and her wonderful raven boys again, I feel so full after this ending. There’s nothing else I could have asked for; nothing else is wanting. Everything is dreaming.
After all, the best endings are just hidden beginnings.