Title: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle, #4
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: April 26th 2016
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
To say this was one of my most anticipated releases for this year feels like an understatement, and to say that I was incredibly nervous about this book feels like a massive understatement. Even though I only got around to the first three books in February the wait for the last book was torturous, there was so much foreshadowed in the first three about Gansey’s death, his spirit appeared on the corpse road in the first book, and ever since I read that chapter I’ve been waiting for the end of this series to find out what would become of Gansey, and the rest of the Raven Boys.
The Raven King is largely about Gansey’s journey, about the path he starts walking that takes him to the corpse road where his spirit first meets Blue. There is something dark in Cabeswater, something dark in Ronan’s dreams which put him, and everything he pulls from them, in danger. With Colin Greenmantle fleeing after the events of Blue Lily, Lily Blue Henrietta is open season for all the collectors of magical artefacts and there is something, something more powerful and more deadly than Ronan, up for grabs.
Gansey’s search for Glendower is nearing its end but there are darker forces that are working against him. A demon that has been awoken, the great unmaker, and it is wreaking havoc on Cabeswater, Adam – who is Cabeswater eyes and hands – Noah, and Ronan. Each of them feel the effects of the demon. While Ronan’s family, or what’s left of it, struggles to stay one step ahead of the collectors in town, Adam struggles to communicate with a dying Cabeswater, Noah struggles to cling to what little life he has next, and Gansey struggles with his search for Glendower.
For me this book was all about the journey the character’s took. I don’t want to say anything more and risk spoiling anything for anyone; I avoided all reviews, all spoilers, all mentions of The Raven King until I had picked this book up and finished the last word on the last page.
Gansey has always seemed to be a much larger than life figure. He is the centre, the heart, of his group of friends and the one they’ll all follow to the end. Gansey knows, has know since he heard his voice on the recording in The Raven Boys, that he was going to die but despite that he still carries on searching for Glendower whom he feels he owes his second chance at life to. Gansey is scared; of dying of the hornets who killed him before and could again, of what he will find when he finally locates Glendower’s tomb. He goes on in spite of that fear though, pushed by a force greater than himself.
I feel like there’s a kind of desperation to Gansey and Blue’s relationship. They both love one another and it is easy to see that, but they cannot kiss knowing that Blue’s kiss will kill her true love. Gansey and Blue, each knowing what they know, fear that possibility that has become so much more than that. However they are still drawn to one another; their eyes constantly meet, their hands constantly seek the other out, their bodies stand close to each other.
I really loved Henry, who was a new character who became so much more than just another Aglionby student in The Raven King. He is almost like another version of Gansey and in another world it would be easy to picture Henry as the leader of the Raven Boys. Henry sees much more than other people do, and though he doesn’t always have the words he needs when he does speak he has an electric way of expressing his feelings. He’s an enigma of a character at first but it soon becomes easy for Gansey and Blue to trust him with their secrets.
Adam, in terms of character growth, is the best character in this book. Honestly reading Adam in The Raven King I couldn’t see much of the boy we first met in The Raven Boys. He has developed a greater understanding of what he sacrificed when he offered himself to Cabeswater, and it comes with a great cost. He seems a lot more level and patient, more understanding and open to other people. Adam has always feared becoming like his father and, although they have their similarities, the two could not be more different which is something which Adam starts to see in this book.
For Ronan his family is everything, not just Declan and Matthew but also Gansey, Blue and Adam. He would do anything to protect them and shows it in his usual brisk way. I loved every single interaction between Ronan and Adam. There are no spoilers for The Raven King but if you’ve read the book you’ll know what my favourite scene between the two of them was.
Cabeswater has always been a place of magic, and that magic has always seemed to spill over into Henrietta which is what drew the collectors to the small town. However now Cabeswater is dying it is the poison, not the magic, which seems to spill over into Henrietta bringing danger to Blue, Gansey, Adam and Ronan. I’ve always loved the way Cabeswater was described, it seemed like a place full of magic and mystery which in my mind perfectly encapsulated Blue and the Raven Boys. Now a demon has been awoken it is slowly unmaking the forest, taking Adam’s control of his eyes and hands and Ronan’s control of his dreams and nightmares with it.
There’s something about the way Steifvater writes her world, not just Cabeswater but Henrietta, that makes it seem ethereal and almost peaceful. It’s a place where normal teenage worries take a backseat because there are mythical welsh kings and ancient demons to track down, a place where a house of psychics live next door to a magical forest where time ceases to exist.
I was nervous about reading this book, this has become one of my favourite series and my expectations for the last book were high, what if The Raven King didn’t live up to the hype? Turns out I shouldn’t have worried; I said in one of my earlier reviews that this series gets better and better with each book and that is a trend that continues with The Raven King. It was the best of the lot. I can’t believe this series is actually over but this book was the perfect ending for Blue and her Raven Boys.
What did you think of The Raven King? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.