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 review is SPOILER FREE!)
When I finally got The Raven King from my library, I decided to get all the others along with it, and do a reread, because if there's one thing I love about Maggie Stiefvater, it's how her writing has so many layers and how things in previous books pop up later on in the series. Foreshadowing! Symbolism! It's fabulous. So I reread the first three (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue), and finally dove into The Raven King. (I also listened to a reread of The Scorpio Races before this Raven Cycle adventure, so my life was REALLY full of Stiefvater words. This is the opposite of a bad thing.)
The Raven King is absolutely the perfect conclusion to this perfect series. Everything just kept rising towards the inevitable culmination of all the plot threats and - oh dang it was just beautiful. Everything tied up perfectly and, as I had expected, things in the past three books showed up to haunt us in the last one.
If you thought the first three books were getting dark and dramatic, let me tell you - the final chunk of The Raven King had me considering the conclusion that literally everyone was going to die and the world would dissolve in darkness. But at the same time, in between chapters where you legitimately are afraid for the ending of the book, you discover scenes that are some of the happiest and sweetest and squee-worthy in the entire series. And amazingly, it doesn't disrupt the flow at all, or feel in any way out of place. MAGGIE HOW DO YOU DO THIS?
Talking about darkness, the night before I finished the book I decided to put it down for the night since I was waking up early the next morning and couldn't afford a reading-until-midnight sort of thing. I ended at what was one of the aforementioned happy scenes in the midst of horror, and thought it was a good stopping point. Well. Usually I don't have dreams affected by what I think about before bed, but that night I dreamed about about raising people from the dead and black magic and a possessed black raven who talked in my head. NO JOKE, I SWEAR.
Okay I don't know how that is any sort of commendation for this book - "Read The Raven King it will give you creepy dreams!" - but I promise that I am telling you this story with the intention to show you how Maggie's writing worms its way into your head. MY NIGHTMARES ARE A GOOD THING OKAY? ...at least in the context of this review :-P So yes, the dark levels for this were WAY more than the previous books, but dang I loved The Raven King for just how much it freaked me out.
Let's talk characters! Because you all know how much I adore good characters, and Maggie's are some of the best. The development of all the main characters has been spot on throughout the series. I legitimately felt proud for my baby Adam growing up in BLLB, and in The Raven King Ronan got all my love and hugs. It's been amazing to see Ronan develop and, as readers, to be able to figure out what hides behind his rough exterior.
AND OMG THE SHIPS. I won't spoil any for you, but - dang, I just love all the characters. <3
With a series conclusion, it's important that everything wraps up well. and in The Raven King it definitely did. Questions from the beginning of the series were answered, and prophecies fulfilled. But I am a forgetful little squid, and the first time I read anything, all I get from it are feelings (which, though are useful in reviews, you can't just write 100% about them - or can you?). In a book like The Raven King where there is so much going on and so many layers, I think I'll need to do another reread just to fully work out all the secrets and the twists. Maggie Stiefvater's magic never happens just because. Her worldbuilding is so on point that I know that everything happens for a reason. And because of this, I really think a reread is necessary for me to logic through the ending, as satisfying as it was.
MAGGIE STIEFVATER IS WRITING A RONAN SERIES WHAT IS LIFE.
Have you read The Raven King? LET'S TALK IN THE COMMENTS. Feel free to talk spoilers down there, but please use spoiler alerts! (And if you haven't read The Raven King yet, tread lightly to avoid spoilers.)