It is a truth universally acknowledged that any book that can be described as "Ocean's Eleven meets [genre element of choice]" is one I will at leastIt is a truth universally acknowledged that any book that can be described as "Ocean's Eleven meets [genre element of choice]" is one I will at least give a try. This read fast and funny, and the tropeyness of it was delightful, not boring. I wasn't at all surprised to find Weekes has worked on Mass Effect; it reads like the game feels, a cool blend of personalities and plots with a light, bantery touch. It gets 3.5 stars because everyone is straight and most of the romantic pairings weren't given much on screen setup to make me care about them. Also after the gang gets together, some of the characters go static and don't get much more developed. But this was a hell of a fun read and I will definitely be reading the sequels when they materialize....more
I don't know why I assumed this was going to be a trilogy-- probably because most YA is, these days-- but it's on that assumption that I blame my consI don't know why I assumed this was going to be a trilogy-- probably because most YA is, these days-- but it's on that assumption that I blame my constant checking of the page count while I was reading, going, "HOW ARE THEY GOING TO FINISH EVERYTHING BY THE END OF THE BOOK??" Of course, it's now apparent that this series is going to have at least one more installment, for which I am very thankful.
I have mixed feelings about this series. On the one hand, there's a lot to love. Blue's wacky family and the number of awesome complex women it contains, the very real sense of place and the vividness of the settings Stiefvater creates, the magic forest, Ronan and Adam and their different magics... but I have always found it hard to give a shit about Gansey. It's not that I don't like him, but liking a character isn't necessarily important, and I have never felt him as a real person the way I feel Ronan and Adam. All he is is the quest, it seems; I know academically that there are other things happening to him in his life, his family, etc, but those things rarely come up in his POV, which makes him feel more like an absent narrator-- he moves along other people's plots, though, which is fine because I'm definitely more interested in what happens to Adam and Ronan than in whether or not they find Glendower.
Blue, I love, but feel like I've got less of a sense of who she is as the books have gone on-- in the beginning I loved the conflict between "hate all raven boys" and her impulse to keep getting to know Gansey & co... but now it feels like anything outside the boys and their quest has dropped off for her. However I like the increased presence of her family of psychics, I love Calla and all the scenes where Blue interacts with her, and that the family is becoming important to the boys too. It's pretty cool that both Ronan and Adam have complicated feelings about their absent fathers, and have now ended up with this houseful of firecracker women guiding/parenting them whether they like it or not.
So, about the book itself, and the plot contained therein. There's a lot that goes on, and without getting too spoilery I think I can say that shit is finally getting real. In the first book there was definitely a sense that these were children getting involved with stuff that was probably going to blow up in their faces; in the second, we saw Ronan and Adam coming into their powers, Blue and Gansey taking on more responsibility, and all four of them feeling more adult. In this one, there's definitely the sense that whatever comes next is going to be hard, but they have at least a chance of meeting it head-on, and it's pretty awesome.
Ronan and Adam are my favorite parts of this. I love them together (and god, I hope they end up together romantically, ugh) I love how they're both broken and don't need each other to pretend to be different. I love when they do magic together; I love that they're Gansey's magicians. The whole bit around Adam's dad's court date was perfect, one of the most heartfelt and lovely sections of the whole book.
The book has pacing issues, certainly, and Stiefvater writes some of her characters with a bit more Joss-like wit and snark than is maybe necessary, but that's okay. (Except Gwenllian-- God, she annoyed the shit out of me.) She also does a really great job of making almost all her characters whole people, random and weird and never one-note-- Jesse Ditley saying he only eats Spaghetti-O's comes to mind, and Malory's description of his anxiety disorder, and everything about Piper Greenmantle-- I always want to know more about everyone.
Things I hope for the last book: I hope Ronan and Adam do a lot more awesome magic, and at least acknowledge the romantic tension building between them. I hope for at least one scene of Mr. Gray and Maura kicking ass together (hopefully Neeve and Piper's asses are the ones getting kicked). I hope for a lot more Calla because she might be my favorite in the whole series. I hope when Gansey inevitably dies that Blue is the one to figure out how to bring him back. And I hope that they don't use the favor to bring Noah back to life.
It may be gauche to be wishing for the next book already when this one only became widely available today, but that's the power of a good series, and whatever its flaws, the Raven Cycle is a good read....more
I actually finished this the day after I started it and apparently never marked it read. But it was amazing. I want to listen to the female-narrated aI actually finished this the day after I started it and apparently never marked it read. But it was amazing. I want to listen to the female-narrated audiobook. ...more
3.5 stars; rounding up because it contained more of the awesome worldbuilding stuff that I loved so much in the first book and missed so much in the s3.5 stars; rounding up because it contained more of the awesome worldbuilding stuff that I loved so much in the first book and missed so much in the second. There was a lot that was cool about this story, and the way she wrapped it up was unexpected-- yet oddly unsatisfying. The revelation about Mal seemed out of the blue, and Alina sacrificing her power at the end felt like a letdown. And the love story between her and Mal just seemed overly tortured and way too easy at the same time. I wanted her to actually fall for Nikolai. But, props for interesting supporting characters (Tolya and Tamar totally win) and queer characters and gorgeous descriptions of some really cool places. I'll be excited to see what Bardugo does next....more