This Review contains spoilers.
“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”
Series: The Raven Cycle
Published: 2016, by Scholastic Press.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Paranormal
Contains: Strong Language, Blood/Gore, Violence, Death, Mentions of Abuse.
‘The Raven King’ is the final instalment of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series, concluding the story of Blue and the Raven Boys’s quest for Glendower. This novel follows the gang for the final time as they battle demons, dreams and future college plans whilst attempting to survive the year.
I had such high expectations for the finale of this series, having adored each book previous. I was initially planning to start reading after deadlines, however, I couldn’t bring myself to wait that long. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
Everything about this conclusion was perfect; the overall plot, the character development, the epilogue. However, what made this book complete to me was the poetics of Stiefvater’s writing, especially through the descriptions of characters. As mentioned previously, I was desperately hoping for something to come of Ronan and Adam’s relationship, and I wasn’t disappointed upon reaching that moment of their characters. This book explores Ronan’s feelings towards Adam much sooner compared to his love interest, and during their interactions there’s beautiful moments of reveal;
“His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped the match.”
After their relationship was confirmed, the small interactions with the pair eased the pain of the plot, with words of latin shared only between the two. One of the most beautiful ones for me was “Unguibus et rostro”, which I’ve read roughly translates to ‘Claws and Beak’, revealing their understanding of another and Adam’s will and dedication to the man. These small lines of dialogue shown so much development between the characters, and as a reader it was beautiful to read.
The poetic language continued throughout, especially when describing the heartbreaking moments of Noah’s deterioration. Noah’s character has grown on me deeply these past few instalments, and it was physically painful to read, yet perfect through the descriptions that truly shown his experiences. The epilogue of the novel was another painful, yet beautiful moment within the story, as Adam confronted his parents with a new found strength, whilst referencing Gansey. Although, this may appear alike something Adam has always considered, presenting himself as this confident man is something so new and shown Adam’s growth perfectly.
However, as much as I adored this novel, there were a few things that didn’t live up to expectations. Admittedly, there were times where I’d skim read the chapters, yet only those of Greenmantle, which I did feel guilty about whilst reading. Yet, personally I didn’t find those chapters as interesting as those of other characters; there was something lacking. These moments were also the cause of the admittedly slow plot within the novel, up until the second half of the book (around the final 200 pages), where the concentration was mostly on the protagonists journey. However, what I did find most disappointing with the finale was the amount of questions left unanswered:
- What happened to Noah, did he finally move on? – Also, the fact he wasn’t present during Gansey’s death was so upsetting.
- What happened to Mr Gray? Does his and Maura’s relationship work out?
- Can Gansey 2.0 and Blue kiss?
- What actually happened to Glendower? – There was four books for him to just be dead?… and they just left without wondering why?
- What happened to Cabeswater?
I’m definitely not complaining with all these questions, I still love how the story ended, yet I just wish there was more explained considering this is a climax of a series.
Overall, I adored this story. The characters have become a huge part of me, having become deeply connected to them all, and I will be rereading the books continuously. There’s also the Ronan trilogy to look forward to, and it’ll definitely become a priority when it’s released.