The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater  (The Raven Cycle 4)

“Jesus”, Gansey breathed out loud.  He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to figure out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”
This is it people – the final chapter in the Raven Cycle. Will Blue & Gansey kiss? Will Gansey die? Will Noah become a real boy? Will Ronan finally ‘fess up to his feelings for Adam? Dum-dum-duuuuuh…..

All jokes aside, I was glad to finally finish this series, to a) find out what all the fuss was about and b) get it off my TBR pile so it would stop glowering at me.

From the blurb:

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

There isn’t really much to go on in the description, but I suppose if you’ve stuck with the series this long you know what the end goal is, and it’s just a case of satisfactorily concluding the different story arcs. To be honest I’m not sure this book does that, but I’ll get into that shortly. 

The Raven Boys and Blue have found the daughter of King Glendower, Gwenllian (GwenTHEEann – loving all the Welsh in these books) but are having trouble locating the king himself. Time is running out; Gansey hopes to ask for Noah to be made alive again as his “favour” for waking the King, but as more time passes Noah is becoming less human and increasingly creepy. Seriously, he is terrifying; I’m not sure I would be as calm and collected in the face of Noah’s outbursts as Blue is in this book. 

Colin Greenmantle’s wife Piper woke the demon (who wasn’t supposed to be woken) at the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and now is running amok causing problems; killing people, destroying Cabeswater , conjuring new shoes… as you do. 

The demon starts to unravel everything the Raven Boys have been working towards, and Gansey is faced with having to make the ultimate sacrifice to save everyone and everything he loves.

When you put it like this, it sounds pretty darn exciting, but this was another book that took me forever to get into. It takes about 3 days for me to read the first 100 pages of any book in this series, because I just can’t get into the story at first. Even if I’ve literally just finished the previous book. It’s a bit annoying, as this series has completely ballsed up my chances of hitting 200 books by the end of this year. I can usually get through 5 books in a week, but it’s taken me about a week to read each book in this series.

I think the main issue is that whilst Stiefvater is really good at creating intricate and interesting main characters, and developing an interesting plot, the secondary characters are not fully fleshed out and completely forgettable. Having read all 4 books I still find it difficult to distinguish between the three psychics Calla, Persephone and Orla. I can remember who Maura is because she is Blue’s mum. 

Once I get past the 150 page Mark I tend to get through the book a bit faster; this book was pretty lengthy – it says 400 pages on Goodreads but it was actually 448 pages. 

The main characters were as entertaining as always. I loved Gansey’s description of Ronan – “Dreamer of dreams, fighter of men, skipper of classes”.

I also found it hard to connect with the Blue & Gansey love story in the books up until now, because they go out of their way to not show each other affection, each for their own reasons. This was the final installment and we’ve been told Gansey will die, and Blue’s true love will die if she kisses him, so we know it all has to happen in this book. 

“You’re asking me to define an abstract concept that no one has managed to explain since time began. You sort of sprang it on me,” Gansey said. “Why do we breathe air? Because we love air? Because we don’t want to suffocate. Why do we eat? Because we don’t want to starve. How do I know I love her? Because I can sleep after I talk to her. Why?”
Gansey’s explanation of why he loves Blue is sweet and funny, and real. At same time he shouldn’t really have to justify his feelings; this just further illustrates the lack of connection between Blue and Gansey in the previous books.

To be honest it all felt incredibly rushed. Everything seemed to be concluded in about 30 pages (a bit too neatly for me), and was just a bit of a let down. 

Which is how I feel about the series as a whole; the premise was interesting, the main characters were endearing, funny, exasperating, beautiful, flawed people. The execution of the story and the development of the characters’ relationships left a lot to be desired. Overall I gave this a 3/5 stars; if the premise and characters hadn’t been so well written it would have been a 2.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Cheerio !

Stephani Xxx 

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