The Raven King is the final installment in the Raven Boys series, a young-adult fantasy series by Maggie Stiefvater about a group of teenagers with psychic abilities searching for a dead Welsh king so they can wake him and ask for a wish.
I read the first novel in the series, The Raven Boys, last year and was immediately hooked on the story and Stiefvater’s lush writing. I then hopped to the second book, The Dream Thieves, which made the series edgier but bored me; and I read the third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, earlier this year but that too fell flat for me.
I began to think the series had lost its oomph or that my interest in it had diminished, so I didn’t bother to pick up Raven King when it was published in April. However, I decided to download it from my library’s online collection in September to have something to read while traveling. Once I started reading, I was hooked and was glad for it. The series had got back it’s energy.
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
There isn’t much that can be said in the overview without totally spoiling the series. But look at the cover, isn’t it beautiful?
My thoughts: (minor spoilers)
Like my reflection on Cress, this review will be short because I didn’t jot down my thoughts shortly after completing the book and some time has passed since I completed it.
I think it was a good end to the series because all my questions were answered, though some of the answers were disappointing, and the book made me long for more stories about the characters and the place they live, Henrietta, VA. In a way, things came full circle. I like that all that was hinted at and feared in the first book, like the death of Blue’s true love, occurred in this one and I appreciate the explanation behind it. It shows us another way Blue’s mirror ability works. And I really like that it’s the characters working together, similar to what occurred in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, that saves their friend. It was a good ending and it made me feel happy, though before I got to that emotion, I was highly anxious and speeding through the story to see how it will all wrap up.
What I didn’t like, however, were the villains. They suck. I couldn’t take them seriously and they seemed useless to the overall plot. I kind of think the same of Henry Cheng, though I like him, because he’s a new character introduced in this installment and we don’t spend much time with him. I think his development was hastened and I would have liked to see him interact with the core group a bit more to see how he fits with them.
I was also upset that there was no Glendower. I expected it and I’m glad the characters’ hope was squashed, because that made a better story, but I was still annoyed. However, I don’t think my annoyance was a bad thing. We are pulled along by the characters’ obsession with finding Glendower, which gets us hooked on the story, so it’s a letdown for us all when we learn Glendower no longer exists. I was immediately angry at Blue’s dad. Dude is such a punk hiding in a tree. Smdh. I’m sure he knew.
Though I wasn’t impressed by the evil hornet thing awakened in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I do like that it acts as an antithesis to Cabeswater, or rather what Cabeswater is, and that it thrives on eroding Cabeswater. Because of it, we learn more about Cabeswater and thus more about Ronan, which only makes me yearn for a better installment about Ronan. Who or what exactly is he? I’d love to know more about the extents of his powers and if it’s an ancestral ability. (Sure, this was answered in the story but I’d love to know more about what his past relatives did with the power and how Ronan uses it later.)
Other than a supplemental story about Ronan and his family, and probably what becomes of Adam and his ability later in life (btw, I love Adam + Ronan), I would love, LOVE to have a series about the psychics at 300 Fox Way. We get a snippet on how Maura, Calla, and Persephone met and gosh, it would be great to know more. Three independent women with psychic abilities living and travelling together… I’d love to know their story.
I was both happy and annoyed with how it all wraps up. Glad, well relieved that it ends on a good note, but annoyed that it reminds of Disney fairytale endings, “And they lived happily ever after.” Well, that’s the impression I got. But I’m more happy with it than annoyed. If it had ended on the sad note, I would have been crushed and bawling my eyes out and having a mini funeral because I do like Gansey.
Speaking of Gansey, his family is oblivious to all the dangers he puts himself in. I wonder if he ever thought of the conversation that would have to take place if he died in his pursuit of Glendower. I don’t recall him ever reflecting on that or how his sister would react to him being gone.
This review sucks, but in all those words above I was basically saying that I enjoyed this installment and it’s the best in the series and I plan to purchase it when it’s out in paperback.
Also, I’d love it if Stiefvater did a supplemental story or just a book of facts about Ronan’s background and a spin-off series about the physics at 300 Fox Way (really, really want that. I’ll wish for it) or a spin-off series about other people living in Henrietta and the weird shit they experience due to living so close to a ley line.
I don’t like endings so I hardly complete the series I start; but I’m glad I read this final installment in the Raven Boys series.