The Raven King

The Raven King

Title: The Raven King

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle, #4

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: April 26th 2016


Five Stars

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

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

The kitchen window groaned open, and Jimi shouted out, “Blue! Your boys are out front, looking like they’re fixing to bury a body.”
‘Again?’ Blue thought.

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.

“Tell me where Owen Glendower is,” he said to the darkness. Crisp and sure, with the same power he had used to command Noah, to command the skeletons in the cave. “Show me where the Raven King is.”

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.

…The Characters

“Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”

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.

“It was this: Gansey starting down the stairs to the kitchen, Blue starting up, meeting in the middle. It was Gansey stepping aside to let her pass, but changing his mind. He caught her arm and then the rest of her. She was warm, alive, vibrant beneath the thin cotton; he was warm, alive, vibrant beneath his.”

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 Parrish—magician and puzzle, student and logician, man and boy.”

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.

“Adam felt a surge of both accomplishment and nerves. He skated an edge here. Making Ronan Lynch smile felt as charged as making a bargain with Cabeswater. These weren’t forces to play with.”

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.

…The Setting

“If one squinted into Cabeswater long enough, in the right way, one could see secrets dart between the trees. The shadows of horned animals that never appeared. The winking lights of another summer’s fireflies. The rushing sound of many wings, the sound of a massive flock always out of sight. Magic.”

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.

18 thoughts on “The Raven King

    1. Thanks Brigitte! God I thought this book was amazing. I pretty much read the whole series in a couple of months so it’s really surreal that it’s over so quickly but it was a brilliant book. I’d definitely recommend starting it ASAP! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I not only started TKR but I also finished it a few days ago because I have no self control, and it was a fitting end to the series. It’s definitely not my favourite book (that’s still a tie between The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue) but it’s in the same level as the first one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh are you going to be posting a review for it soon then. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for it if you are 🙂
        It was a brilliant book though, I think the epilogue and the last couple of chapters were just perfect, though the part where Henry gives Gansey his jumper I think my heart leapt into my throat (I was like ‘NOOOO!’)
        I did enjoy all the series but for me The Raven King was the best 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will be doing a review for it but it’ll have to wait until June because exams (*cries in a corner*).
        The last few chapters were actually the part I disliked the most because I felt like Noah’s sacrifice was not only pointless but also completely brushed off by the rest of the gang.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ohh, that sucks, but seriously wishing you good luck for your exams (they’re one thing I don’t miss about being in school)
        I did feel like Noah was kind of sidelined a little in this book, he didn’t seem to play as big a part as I would have expected especially considering his role in Gansey’s life/death.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’ll be forever annoyed by the fact that it wasn’t Noah’s sacrifice that brought Gansey back. If she wanted to have an anticlimactic moment because Noah had faded too much and it wasn’t enough, Gansey should’ve just stayed dead, using Cabeswater just felt like the easy way out to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Noah just felt kind of sidelined in this book, maybe because he was fading away and he didn’t have as much of a part to play. I did like how it was him rather than Glendower who brought Gansey back the first time, I thought that was a great twist!


  1. Ahh, yay I’ve been waiting for this post and it did not disappoint 😀 I’m so happy to hear that you loved it! Even though I only got into the series like a few weeks ago I was so nervous for this book. It didn’t let me down though. The epilogue was so perfect. I still have a few questions, but I think that’s one of the things I love so much about the series. It’s all so mystical and magical and open to interpretation. Ronan and Adam absolutely destroyed me – that scene! I loved seeing Adam’s development over the series and Blue and Gansey’s relationship. I love that Cabeswater was so alive that it felt like an actual character. I refuse to believe this series is over. I need Maggie to write more. I miss everyone so much already. Great review, Beth 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked my review so much! God it was a brilliant book, but yeah I was the same, so nervous for this one because there was so much I thought would happen with Gansey and his potential death and I didn’t want the series to end like that! I was on the edge of my seat for the last few chapters but the epilogue was perfect. I kind of like it was left open with some unanswered questions, it just fits with the tine of the whole series that way in my mind.
      Ronan and Adam ❤️ their whole story in The Raven King was just so perfect! Honestly everything about all the characters throughout the whole series was perfect, going back to the first one I wouldn’t be able to believe how much they all changed over the course of the four books!
      I think because I only just finished this book it doesn’t quite seem like the series is over yet but I can’t believe it is! I would love to see a novella going back to Blue, Gansey, Adam and Ronan in a few years. I think that’d be brilliant 😀


      1. Ahh, yes!! Definitely!! I was so happy with it! Perfect is definitely a word I’m going to be using a lot in my review! Which is actually going to be more of a gushfest than a review, haha. The character development throughout the whole series was so good. Some novellas would be AMAZING. I’d love to Maggie to do that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I thought mine would just be a mass of incoherent ranting about how amazing this book was, and how everyone should drop what they’re doing and start reading it immediately! I can’t wait to see your review, and to see in more detail what you thought of everything!
        I honestly can’t think of another series which has had better character development than this one, it was literally one of my favourite aspects of all the books!
        I’m keeping my fingers crossed it at least one novella in the near future 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh you’re killing me right now Beth with all the positive reviews! Have you read anything unsatisfying lately? I mean, I know this one is Maggie Stiefvater and I even like her werewolf series despite not liking werewolves in general but still. 😛

    I really need to get back into this series. The reviews have all been amazing so far but I’ve only read the first book. Good to know that this latest one ranks pretty highly too, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not really no! I think April/May was the month a load of my really anticipated releases came out and so far they’ve all lived up to my expectations!
      See I wasn’t actually a huge fan of her Shiver series (although I’m thinking I should give it another go) but I have loved this series from start to finish.
      I’ve heard so many good things about this book, now I’ve read it I can read everyone else’s reviews 🙂 but yeah it gets better and better with each book so if you’ve only read the first you’re definitely in for a treat when you carry on with the series 😀


      1. I did love her writing in The Raven Cycle books so I may have to give Shiver another go, maybe I’ll enjoy it more the second time around (it has been known to happen)!
        There needs to be more hours in the day for reading books, or more days in the year 😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.