Possible Spoilers Ahead. proceed with caution.
The Raven Cycle: Book Four
Written by Maggie Stiefvater
Urban Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Published April 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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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.
This review is going to be spackled with the good, the bad, and the so-so aspects of The Raven King. I'm going to be as thorough as I possibly can, but I'm writing this only hours after finishing the book. I'm actually having issues feeling anything for what conspired from page one through to page four hundred and thirty-eight. This factor makes me sad, as I've been a fan of The Raven Cycle for three years - my Tumblr is even 80% dedicated to the bird boys, as my dear friend Kelly likes to call them. I like to start with the bad, as it is whats at the forefront of my mind at the moment.
There are multiple character arcs featured within that are completely useless. Now, this is just my own opinion, and mine alone. I know a few folks who would argue against such a statement. But seeing as this is my review, I'll tell it how I see it. The best way I can describe this factoid, is that there is tons of filler. Chapters that ultimately offered nothing to the story other than a few extra inches to the spine. These chapter made this book drag and drag some more for me. So much so that when I was done with TRK, I was not upset that I had finished one of my most beloved series - but rather relieved I didn't have to endure it any further. Which is not how one should feel after three years of being invested in a series, its characters and its magic.
The relationships were unequal. This was one of my biggest frustrations that I felt while reading TRK. Now, I have to be very tentative in explaining myself here, as there is a huge fan base surrounding this series and I'd much rather not get mauled. The two prevalent relationships are Blue + Gansey, and Ronan + Adam. Blusey was continually shoved down our throats, they were in love and felt like they couldn't live without one another. It was wide open and colorfully shown. Which is dandy, but I painfully desired Pynch to receive the same treatment. Yes this is a fan desire and judgement. I felt that Pynch should have been solidified, treated just as her straight characters were but instead I got the sense Maggie was being too cautious just because it was a M/M relationship.
>>>>> Now before my head is on a spike, yes Maggie gives us cute little nods that Pynch is a for sure thing. Yes, I know not all people move at the same pace. Yes, I loved LOVED the scenes with my two sons, but I expected more to be completely honest. The easiest and most immature way I can explain it is that I wanted them to be facebook official. Sue me. I felt cheated after my three year journey of shipping them. It just didn't sate me having to read in-between the lines.
The plot and events were anticlimactic + it had a rushed ending. We had a huge, huge amount of buildup which initially led nowhere. Yes, twisted and dark things happen but only momentarily. This being a grand finale, I discovered that I've essentially wasted my time on such a unfulfilling ending. An ending that was not only unexciting, but incredibly rushed. I felt blindsided when I got to the epilogue, it brought a whole new meaning to "that's all there is" for me.
>>>>> That being said, the epilogue was touching. I enjoyed it enough. I loved that it was simple yet had a hopeful note to it. The only complaint is that there isn't the slightest mention of Noah (a character whom was prevalent since day one). Whatever, we can't all be winners.
Character growth was A+, good job Maggie. The saving grace of this book was the characters. It's why I fell in love with the series in the first place. Adam Parrish had the biggest evolution betwixt our cast. He also happens to be my favorite. Actually the entire way our cast of characters interacted was decent. The strongest and most vibrant however had to be the scenes featuring Adam and Ronan considering they did most of the dangerous things in this segment. But in general, I think the entire gang became entirely different and improved people considering where the were at back when they started they quest to find a Welsh king.
The Adam and Ronan scenes were amazing. The best. The highlight of this book for me. Without these two lads I probably would have DNF'd because it felt like they were the only ones involved in the story/plot. Blue, Gansey and Henry were too busy at toga parties.. Or something. *shrugs* I guess you could say I distanced myself from this series.
The writing was of course vivid and brought to life a vivacious world inside the readers head. I haven't met very many people who don't praise Stiefvater's writing to the moon and back. Gods, she knows how to write that's for sure. Especially when it comes to describing settings and creatures. I loved Opal, ugh she was a delight and I wanted more of her + her two dads, Adam and Ronan xP Though it does come off a bit stiff and overdone at times. I can't write a review without muttering some form of appraisal for how well she weaves the alphabet into wicked sentences.
As a fan of this series I am disappointed. I think it could have been far better - or at least I imagined it would be. I finished and felt very little for what I'd just read. It's not a series I would ever desire re-reading unfortunately. I do hope that other fans were far more fulfilled than I. Nonetheless, my heart still loves Adam and Ronan. They are what kept the story and the magic alive for me. But alas, the story is over and I for one am happy to be done with The Raven Cycle series. It's been a decent three years, friends. I hope Noah found peace *grumbles and walks away*.