“Gansey.” A pause. “That’s all there is.”
How much can I rave about these books?
This review contains *spoilers*.
I’ve been waiting for this moment for months now, but I can finally say that I’ve finished reading The Raven King. I was so nervous going into this because my expectations were sky-high, but it is everything I could’ve dreamed it to be and more. I felt like my heart was cracking throughout this whole experience.
Depending on where you began the story, it was about Gansey and the revelation that he knows that this might be his last year to find the King and complete his ongoing quest once and for all.
The Raven King is set a week after the events of the last book, Maura is back home with Artemus, who knows more than he is saying and is acting rather peculiar- especially when Gwenllian is around. And Blue and her raven boys are still on their quest to find the King.
The uncertainty over everything kept me on the edge for the entire story. It felt like the end of everything.
I was hooked as soon as I read the first sentence. And I was so into the story that I couldn’t stop reading until the last page (and I unfortunately had a huge headache after reading so much).
But I laughed, I cried, I mourned.
What more could I ask of Stiefvater, a master storyteller?
She creates these atmospheric, impressionistic scenes with this quiet but impeccable style.
I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW HER TALENTS BUT I DON’T WANT TO SHARE HER WITH ANYONE.
For the past month I’ve talked and ranted so much about these characters that even my mom got invested and was waiting for me to tell her what happened in the final book. (By the way, she said that Gansey wasn’t going to die) (Thanks Mom for believing.)
As I mentioned before, it starts with Gansey’s incredibly rich and unique tale and continues with his found family.
“Where the hell is Ronan?” Gansey asked, echoing the words that thousands of humans had uttered since mankind developed speech.”
What is my review worth without mentioning Ronan too many times?
But seriously, he continues to amaze me and he’s just an all-time favorite of mine that I won’t be letting go of any time soon.
Also, I’m in love with this fanart of him:
“Gansey asked, “Do you have time to run an errand with us? Do you have work? Homework?”
“No homework. I got suspended,” Blue replied.
“Get the fuck out,” Ronan said, but with admiration. “Sargent, you asshole.”
Blue reluctantly allowed him to bump fists with her as Gansey eyed her meaningfully in the rearview mirror.”
My life, I love Ronan too much. My new goal is for him to say the exact same things to me.
“Emptying another student’s backpack over his car. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“I do,” Ronan said.
“Well, I don’t. I’m not proud of it.”
Ronan patted her leg. “I’ll be proud for you.”
He’s seriously the best.
“Strange he hadn’t had a premonition of what this place would become to him all those months ago. ”
Adam perfectly described how I feel about this series. These books have become my home and I cannot believe it took me so long to discover. I love it in a way that nearly overwhelms me with gratitude
I also loved that this book focused on the romance (among many other happenings), and it was slow, uncertain and exquisitely written. My heart is still happy and beating like crazy.
“Each of the trees they passed sounded with a processed thud, until the sound around them was the pulsing electronic beat that invariably played in Ronan’s car or headphones.
“Oh God,” Gansey said, but he was laughing. “Do we have to endure that here, too? Ronan!”
“It wasn’t me,” Ronan said. He looked to Blue, who shrugged. He caught Adam’s eye. When Adam’s mouth quirked, Ronan’s expression stilled for a moment before turning to the loose smile he ordinarily reserved for Matthew’s silliness. 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.”
And while I’m on the topic of Ronan, I finally got to see him with his brothers and it was too good to be true. I was so happy Maggie included it.
“Where are you? In your room?”
“Yah, yah, I’m in my room. SL hates you. It’s like two or sumthin’. Whatdya want?”
Ronan didn’t reply right away. Matthew couldn’t see him, but he was curled on his bed back at Monmouth, forehead resting on his knees, one hand gripping the back of his own skull, phone pressed to his ear. “Just to know you’re all right.”
“ ’m all right.”
“Go to sleep, then.”
“Still sleeping now.”
The brothers hung up.”
Ronan is seriously messing me up. I love him with all my heart.
And another favorite part in this book was when Declan and Ronan finally sat down and just talked.
“Declan started: “We need to talk about your future.”
“No,” Ronan said. “No, no, we don’t.”
He was already most of the way out of the car, leaves snapping dead under his shoes.
Ronan did not wait.
“Ronan! Before he died, when he and I were out together, Dad told me a story about you.”
It was wickedly unfair.
It was wickedly unfair because there was nothing else that would have stopped Ronan from walking away.”
Why does his childhood make me cry?
“Declan paused then, sighing, as if the weight of the story was a tangible thing, and he needed to take a moment to regain his strength. It was true that the memory of the ritual was heavy enough. Ronan was all tangled up in half-formed images of his father sitting on the end of Matthew’s bed, the brothers tumbled together at its head, his mother perched on that tatty desk chair no one else would sit at. She loved these stories, too, especially the ones about her.”
I really love hearing about his childhood.
“On the outside, the three Lynch brothers appeared remarkably dissimilar: Declan, a butter-smooth politician; Ronan, a bull in a china-shop world; Matthew, a sunlit child.
On the inside, the Lynch brothers were remarkably similar: They all loved cars, themselves, and each other.”
Ronan and his family are unlike anyone else and I love how everyone is involved in this book and that the adults care about the kids and vice versa and nobody is excluded and it’s just great great great.
Also great great great, were Adam and Ronan:
“What are you trying to find out?”
Adam described the circumstances surrounding his eye and his hand with the same level tone he would use to answer a question in class. He allowed Ronan to lean in to compare his eyes – close enough that Ronan felt his breath on his cheek – and he allowed Ronan to study the palm of his hand. The latter was not strictly necessary, and they both knew it, but Adam watched Ronan closely as he lightly traced the lines there.”
Maggie knows exactly where to hit home for me.
“Why are we here?” he asked.
“Wrong devil,” Adam replied quietly.
It had not been that long since the court case against his father. He knew that Ronan remained righteously furious over the outcome: Robert Parrish, a first-time offender in the eyes of the court, had walked away with a fine and probation. ”
“What Ronan didn’t realize was that the victory hadn’t been in the punishment. Adam didn’t need his father to go to jail. He had merely needed someone outside the situation to look at it and confirm that yes, a crime had been committed. Adam had not invented it, spurred it, deserved it. It said so on the court paperwork. Robert Parrish, guilty. Adam Parrish, free.”
I love Adam and yes, he continues to break my heart. Adam is the one I related to the most, and I’m so proud of him and his character growth. And I love how Ronan and Adam support one another.
Also, incredible fanart for these two brings me life:
I was barely recovering from Ronan and Adam when I got to see Gansey and Blue being so sweet. All I can say is that Gansey has got a way with words.
“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. Blue slid her hand over his bare shoulder and then on to his chest, her palm spread out flat on his breastbone, her fingers pressed curiously into his skin.
I thought you would be hairier, she whispered.
Sorry to disappoint. The legs have a bit more going on.
I’m really glad he and Blue stopped trying to hide their relationship from the group. And Gansey being, as Maggie said in her recap, a Dick but not a dick:
“He gathered himself. Adam saw his gaze land on Blue. Judging, perhaps, whether or not she knew what he was about to say, or whether he should say it. He touched his thumb to his lower lip, caught himself at it, lowered his hand.
“Blue and I have been seeing each other,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt any feelings, but I want to keep seeing her. I don’t want to hide it any more. It’s eating me, and nights like this, having to stand here and look at Blue with her face like this and pretend like —” He drew himself to a stop, a full stop, a silence so intense that no one tipped any other sound into it. Then he finished, repeating, “I cannot ask you to do things I haven’t been doing myself. I’m sorry for being a hypocrite.”
“Blue took Gansey’s hand.
Adam was glad she did.
“Gross,” Ronan said, which was the most juvenile response possible.
But Gansey said, “Thanks for the input, Ronan,” with a proper look on his face again, and Adam saw how cleverly Ronan had released the tension of the moment. They could all breathe again.”
This is exactly why I love Ronan so much. If anyone asked me why, I would just show this one quote.
I think this book might be my favorite in the series because so much happened and I am in awe by Maggie Stiefvater’s ability to write something so beautiful and descriptive, so exciting and so heartbreaking.
And as she also promised in her recap, Henry Cheng shows up more and I really liked him in this book, which I honestly wasn’t expecting.
“What are you doing here!” Blue demanded. She was feeling – she wasn’t sure. She was feeling a lot.
“I’m here to talk about the men in your life. To talk about the men in my life. I like the dress, by the way. Very boho chic or whatever. I was on my way home, and I wanted to find out if you had a good time at the toga party and also make sure that our plans for Zimbabwe were still on. I see you tried to claw your own eye out; it’s edgy.”
“Blue said, “I can’t get in this car. Do you see what’s happening behind me? I don’t even want to look.”
Henry said, “How about you give me the finger and shout at me now and withdraw with your principles?” He smiled winningly and held up three fingers. He counted to two with devil horns.
“This is incredibly unnecessary,” Blue told him, but she could feel herself smiling.
“Life’s a show,” he replied. He counted one with his middle finger, and then his face melted into exaggerated shock.
Blue shouted, “Drop dead, you bastard!”
“FINE!” Henry screamed back, with slightly more hysteria than the role required.”
He was such an intriguing character, especially with the whole RoboBee situation.
And then the book circles back to Ronan and Adam, and I’m not freaking out or smiling or anything like that:
“He wordlessly crossed the floor and sat beside Adam on the mattress. When he held out his hand, Adam put the model into it.
“This old thing,” Ronan said. He turned the front tyre, and again the music played out of it. They sat like that for a few minutes, as Ronan examined the car and turned each wheel to play a different tune. Adam watched how intently Ronan studied the seams, his eyelashes low over his light eyes. Ronan let out a breath, put the model down on the bed beside him, and kissed Adam.”
He surprised me so much that my heart started beating too fast. It was such a perfectly build up moment and I’m speechless and in love and in tears and and and. Time stopped for me. This is giving me life right now, this is giving me so much life.
“He was pretty sure he had just been Ronan’s first kiss.”
I reread that page so many times that I now remember every single word. Someone finally got kissed, my favorite someone, and it was such a genuine and real moment. Too good for words.
I was speechless for so long, but Henry managed to perfectly describe how I was feeling:
“His mother was the only one who knew what Henry meant when he said that he wasn’t good with words. She was always trying to explain things to his father, especially when she had decided to become Seondeok instead of his wife. It is that, she for ever said, but also something more. ”
This is exactly how I feel when I try to explain my love for this series and the characters within.
But then, you know what’s happening next, the most painful moment that I dreaded and hoped hoped hoped wouldn’t happen. (But secretly wanted to see played out— but also didn’t.)
“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.”
“Wait. You’re going to junk up your nice coat, white man. Take this.” He shouldered out of his Aglionby sweater and proffered it.
“So you’re literally giving me the shirt off your back,” Gansey said, swapping him for his coat. He was grateful. He looked up to Henry. “See you on the other side. Excelsior.”
I started crying here because no, Henry, no.
“Now that he was standing still, he realized it was also chilly. A cool bit of water dripped on the crown of his head, and another slid down the collar of his shirt. He could feel the shoulders of Henry’s borrowed sweater getting wet. The darkness was like an actual thing, crowding him.”
When will I stop crying over these characters?
But then Gansey and the group find Glendower and go in, only to find it to be not as they imagined:
“The only thing was that Gansey had always feared that he would find Glendower just a little too late. Minutes, days, months after death. But this man had been dead for centuries. The helmet and skull were only metal and bone.”
“Gansey touched the skull, the raised cheekbone, the face of his promised and ruined king. Everything was dry and gray.
It was over.
This man was not going to ever be anything to Gansey.
“Gansey?” Blue asked.
Every minute was giving way to another and then another, and slowly it sank into his heart, all the way to the centre:
It was over.”
But it wasn’t really.
“One of the great things about Blue Sargent was that she never really gave up hope. He would have told her this, but he knew it would only upset her more. He said, “I can’t watch Ronan die, Blue. And Adam – and Matthew – and all this? We don’t have anything else. You already saw my spirit. You already know what we chose!”
Blue closed her eyes, and two tears ran out of them. She did not cry noisily, or in a way that asked him to say anything different. She was a hopeful creature, but she was also a sensible creature.”
I was hopeful till the last page.
“There was no time.
“Thanks for everything, Henry,” Gansey said. “You’re a prince among men.”
Henry’s face was blank.
Blue said, “I hate this.”
It was right, though. Gansey felt the feeling of time slipping – one last time. The sense of having done this before. He gently laid the backs of his hands on her cheeks. He whispered, “It’ll be OK. I’m ready. Blue, kiss me.”
The power to stay quiet in the middle of the night while crying was nearly impossible, especially when listening to sad music.
“He pulled back from her.
Out loud, with intention, with the voice that left no room for doubt, he said, “Let it be to kill the demon.”
Right after he spoke, Blue threw her arms tightly around his neck. Right after he spoke, she pressed her face into the side of his. Right after he spoke, she held him like a shouted word. Love, love, love.
He fell quietly from her arms.
He was a king.”
Maggie really knew how to destroy me, I needed him back.
“Ronan crouched beside him, black still smeared on his face under his nose and around his ears. His dreamt firefly rested on Gansey’s heart. “Wake up, you bastard,” he said. “You fucker. I can’t believe that you would …”
And he began to cry.”
“I just don’t understand,” Henry said. “I was so sure that this was going to … change everything. I didn’t think it would end like this.”
“I always knew it was going to end like this,” she said, “but it still doesn’t feel right. Would this ever feel right?”
“The minute hand quivered. It quivered again.
Blue was already tired of a timeline without Gansey in it.
Adam looked up from where he was folded in the grass. His voice was small. “What about Cabeswater?”
“What about it?” Ronan asked. “It’s not powerful enough to do anything any more.”
“I know,” Adam replied. “But if you asked – it might die for him.”
I seriously cannot remember a time when I’ve felt so deeply for a character’s (near) death.
“The last tree fell, and the forest was gone, and everything was absolutely silent.
Blue touched Gansey’s face. She whispered, “Wake up.”
I truly applaud Stiefvater for everything she managed to conclude in this book. She really brought him back. And Ronan and Adam and Blue and everyone and just Thank You.
“He closed his eyes and he began to dream.”
5/5 stars (I’m still in denial that it’s over.)
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4 thoughts on “Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater”
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[…] after the events of The Raven King, this story, like all the best things, starts with a dream. And just like that, upon opening the […]
This was a joy to read. Honestly…so funny and good.
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Thank you, Amanda 🙂 I really appreciate it!!