Book Review

The Raven King

The Raven King

  • Author: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: April 26, 2016
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Series: The Raven Cycle #4

CONTENT WARNING: violence, blood, gore, mention of kidnapping, gun violence, murder

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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 life; 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 was a surprising end to the series, but overall I’m happy with how things worked out. I’m not going to lie, I got pretty worried there for a while. There’s little that I love more than when everything seems lost but things work out okay in the end. 

Each of the characters has their own kind of transformation in this book, and there’s a new character added to the found family. I loved him and was so glad to see him added to the group. Found family is one of my favorite tropes, and this series does it so well, assembling such a different group of characters and giving them everything they need in this strange group of misfits.

“It was not that the women in 300 Fox Way weren’t her family — they were where her roots were buried and nothing could diminish that. It was just that there was something newly powerful about this assembled family in this car. They were all growing up and into each other like trees striving together for the sun.”

I think out of everyone, Blue and Gansey change most of all. Blue finds out more about who she really is, and Gansey finds out who he is going to be. Adam finally starts to let his walls down, and Noah — my heart just breaks for him. But Ronan struggles in the moment, as the line of demarcation between his reality and his dreams begins to blur. 

“Somehow, without Ronan marking the moment, the schism between his waking life and dreaming life had begun to narrow.”

This book takes on a much sadder tone than the previous ones, but it all makes sense. There are a lot of twists and turns, most of which I didn’t see coming, but a few which I did. One of them made me so incredibly happy that I had to actually stop reading and sigh, then collect myself before I could start reading again. There’s a lot going on in the story, but I loved the way that it all came together in the end. Even just going back through to write down the quotes I selected made me realize a few more things that I didn’t catch the first time around. I get the feeling that rereading this series will let me see some new insights that I missed this time. While I was worried about this book, having seen some mixed opinions, I loved how it wrapped up. 

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 14

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