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The Raven Cycle #4

The Raven King

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For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he's drawn others into his mission: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a life; and Blue, who loves Gansey … and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Nothing dead can be trusted.

Now the endgame has begun.

Nothing living is safe.

Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

438 pages, Paperback

First published April 26, 2016

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About the author

Maggie Stiefvater

82 books167k followers
New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.

Maggie Stiefvater plays several musical instruments (most infamously, the bagpipes) and makes art in several media (most generally, colored pencils).

She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, their two children, many dogs, a bunch of fainting goats, and a mating pair of growly tuner cars.

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Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,176 followers
January 28, 2019
My second copy (and never read before) of this book is looking for a new home, and it's in mint condition (*winks in Gansey*). Check out my depop @bookspoils.

“Gansey.” A pause. “That’s all there is.”

How much can I rave about these books?

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.


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.

“For what?”
“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?”
“I’m serious.”
“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, wait!”
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.

I was barely recovering from them 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.
Mine too.”

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.

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?”

Would it?

“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.”
Profile Image for Ally.
44 reviews160 followers
April 24, 2016
Two stars? Three stars? Four stars? One star?

I don't even know how to rate this. I don't even know how to feel.


I loved it. I hated it. I'm disappointed. I'm confused. I don't know man. I don't know.

Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.

This is my biggest disappointment of the year so far. I was so ready for this to be stellar. We have waited so long, the release date was pushed back twice. I'm in love with The Raven Cycle. I'm in love with this world, with these characters, with the magic of it all, with the mystery. The previous three books were straight up five star reads for me. And yet I have no idea how to rate The Raven King.

There were some parts I adored. A few scenes here and there were completely beautiful. Some of the interactions between Adam and Ronan were perfect, the relationship the Gray Man developed with Blue was wonderful. Adam struggling with his gift and Gansey's ever increasing desperation to finally find Glendower all with the shadow of Gansey's impending doom hanging over them was suspenseful, tense and emotional.

But there was a lot of this book that was just straight up shit. And that's what I'm wrestling with.

This didn't feel like a final book because the conclusion absolutely, completely and totally sucked. In my opinion, it bombed. And it bombed hard. And I'm heartbroken. I've invested so much time and emotion into this story. I've thought about Blue and her Raven boys for months, I've anticipated, I've read the other three books in The Raven Cycle series three times and I'm really not one for rereading so that's the level of enjoyment I got out of this story. And then to be thrown that lame-ass ending?


Not happy.

The ending feels as though Maggie Steifvater was just done. It feels like she was so over this world and these characters and just wanted it done. I mean, I could be wrong. There could be some deep and incredibly profound meaning hidden in there that went way over my head, but the way it reads is like she just wanted it finished and damn all those loose ends. And there were a lot of loose ends:

- The ending Noah received fucking sucked. Straight up, crap. There was some thing about the whole circularity of time and it was him who whispered to Gansey that he would live after he got stung by hornets all those years ago. Which, okay, was neat and fine and I actually quite liked it because it was the revelation that Gansey was always searching for something that was in fact right there in front of him the whole time. It was friendship and compassion that brought him to life and indeed, kept him alive during his time in Henrietta. Okay, I liked that. A lot. But then to simply never hear of Noah again?


What the fuck was that? What was that? Noah was a Raven boy. We've empathised with him since the first book. We've seen him go through some shit and he's been there for them and been a big part of the group and then he just fizzles out?! No. Crap.

- The Gray Man had zero conclusion either. Yeah, okay there was the whole thing with "I can never return to keep you safe and for reasons" but it wasn't good enough. You can't create this layered and interesting character who has become such a big part of the other character's lives and then just have him vanish in a puff of smoke. I understand that the Gray Man is a very vague character in general. That's the way he lives his life and that's fair. But I was enjoying the way that falling in love with Maura and becoming something like a father figure to Blue was drawing him out of a life of crime and back into the real world. I loved his development over the series and I felt like he was really fleshed out and playing an important role. So to then not even have a definite conclusion for him, not even an actual reason for him simply never being mentioned again, not even one, solitary sentence or round-up felt really awkward and nonsensical.

- Maura and the psychics were other characters that just vanished into the ether. The last we saw of them, they were standing outside 300 Fox Way, not sure where Blue and the gang were headed, not sure if they were going to live or die, not sure what their part to play was going to be. And that's it. We never see them or hear from them again. They're completely disregarded in the finale and the epilogue. I mean, one fucking line. Is that too much to ask?! For all I know, Maura et al were killed in some horrendous gas explosion inside 300 Fox Way and their ghosts are now doomed to stalk the earth, seeking revenge for whoever left the stove on for all eternity. I mean, I could literally just pull anything outta my ass because Maggie Stiefvater obviously had no ideas.

We have to talk about Gansey's death.


It was crap. We've been waiting for it to happen for three books and then when it does happen it is the most anti-climactic bullshit ever concocted. I mean, I sort of understand (kinda) why. It wasn't supposed to be the main focus really, I think I get that. There so much else going on in the lives of the main characters, they've come so far and learned so much about themselves and each other and they all knew Gansey was destined to die. And that it would be Blue who would inadvertently wield the blade (if her lips can be counted as a blade) but to have him just fucking drop.


"Get him," Ronan started and then had to gather himself to finish, in a snarl, "Get him off the road. He's not an animal."

There were a few really powerful sentences in there. But that's all they were. Sentences. The whole episode was literally over and done with in one breath. It's such a huge moment. It's the culmination of everything that has happened for four books and it should have fucking smacked me in the face but instead it was a tap on the shoulder. It was shit. There's no other way to put it.

The worst part about Gansey's death wasn't actually this incredibly lacklustre demise. The worst part is how it wrapped up because it even further took the punch out of the event. If Gansey had been left dead, I could have gotten on board with it. I could have taken his very plain death to be some kind of statement about the fragility of life, the futility of his quest, that the only thing that really matters in life is how you live it, the relationships you develop, the impression you leave on people. I mean, I would have been grasping at straws slightly as we are really only given the bare bones of these ideas, but I could have fucking made it work because I wanted to so badly. But then, to have him come back to life.


It made the whole thing seem so pointless because it removed all consequences. These boys (and Blue) are dabbling in some pretty serious shit. Some fucking mind-bending crap. But hey, no worries because the fucking forest will just spring us back to life! And the fact that Cabeswater had to be destroyed for this feat to be accomplished? Who cares? Ronan will just dream us up another one! There are so many ways this could have gone down to create some kind of meaning rather than the empty vacuum we were left with:

- Gansey could have stayed fucking dead


- We could have had him join Noah with his remains placed on the lay line
- Ronan could have dreamed us up a copy and then the results of the group either knowing or not knowing and Ronan's subsequent guilt could have been explored

There were a million ways it could have gone down. But no. He pinged back to life. And don't come at me with the whole "Cabeswater changed him" bullshit. That was such a cop-out. So what's changed? Time slips? Big whoop, so he has to check his watch more often? This could have been awesome. He could have come back as an entirely new seeming person, or his memories could have been disrupted or he could even have just had two different fucking coloured eyes and I would have been happier. But there was no hint of the changes inside Gansey aside from the dumb time thing which I think we were supposed to be intrigued by as he had been experiencing slips in time continuously for a while so I'm taking it this is another nod to the circularity of time? But then that's a giant gaping plot whole because every damn character has been experiencing the same phenomenon with the whole 06:21 repeatedly debacle which actually never came to anything either.

I thought the time shifting constantly to 06:21 was some kind of foreshadowing, maybe to Gansey's impending death, or some kind of event surrounding Glendower. But it didn't seem to mean anything. Did I miss a bit? Was the importance of that time explained and I missed it? Were there clues I didn't pick up on along the way?


This is precisely my beef with The Raven King: in the previous books there have been so many little things like this that have eventually amalgamated into the conclusion with the pieces slotting together cleverly and in a satisfying way. This final book had none of that. There was so much left hanging. Take Blue and her useless father for example:

"How did you meet my mother?"
"She came to the spirit road intending to communicate with trees, and that is what she did."
Blue started, then stopped, then started again. "Am I human?"
"Maura is human." He did not say and so am I. He was not a wizard, a human who could be in trees. He was something else.

So we have this massive revelation about Blue's origin. She's finally getting some answers about who her father is and discovers him to be a race that can become one with trees. It's heavily, heavily hinted that in fact, Blue is also one of them. And yet . . . nothing. We hear no more about it. That's it. One conversation, one poorly described dream sequence and we're all over the fact that Blue is some mythical creature who belongs amongst the stars. This should have been a big moment. And no matter what way you swing it, no matter how you try to reason that Blue loves Gansey and the Raven boys so much that she wants to disregard her nature, she's focussed on their quest, they keep her grounded because she's loves them so much, the day you find out you're not human is still a big fucking deal.

And her curse?


Zero explanation. Zero conclusion. We have no idea what the rules are here. Can she never kiss anyone again? Was her curse simply incidental as Gansey was fated to die anyway? Was her kiss more a result of belief in a curse that an actual curse? Was the prediction more about the death of the true love than the actual kiss? Is her saliva poison? We'll never know.

Henry Cheng. We gotta talk about Henry Cheng. He was fucking shoe-horned in there so tight I'm surprised he wasn't asphyxiated. My interpretation is that Henry Cheng was there to aid Maggie Stiefvater out of the corner she had written herself into. He didn't gel with the other characters because we don't know him. He came out of the wood-work only to make sure that Gansey got where he needed to go. The whole Robo-Bee thing was simply bizarre. I have no idea if Henry has any kind of power or any link to the ley line. If he has some kind of capability. I don't know what the deal with his shady mother was. I feel like he was completely redundant other than to serve as a plot devise. Nothing about Henry Cheng was clarified. He gave Blue a glimpse into a life she wanted, of travelling and meeting other people. But for him then to then continue to tag along and play such a huge role in the final scenes felt incredibly awkward. Glendower was never his quest and I think he knew that. He seemed happy just to be friends with Gansey, but when shit is going down and going down hard, making a new friend seems kinda inconsequential. I hated the role Henry Cheng played. I thought he was going to be there to throw some kinda spanner in the works, create some kinda twist. I thought he was evil masquerading as a helpful passerby, but nope. Turns out all he wanted was a buddy? What?


I did not care for the whole treasure hunting foe. It was shit and lame. The whole Laumonier thing was just plain stupid and again, never truly came to anything as it was a simply case of shooting them in the face to vanquish them. Same with Piper. One shot and she's down. Again, clutching for a meaning amongst all this I could say that there's nothing to fear from mere men when demons are raining down on us. Or that the true villain wasn't Piper but what she had become? Or I dunno, that sometimes life doesn't need complex solutions because we're all inherently fragile beings? Fuck, I don't know. I'm trying really hard to make this work, guys.

I just felt like, generally the treasure hunters, antiques dealers, magical artefact collectors, whatever you wanna call them were not threatening enough. There felt like no urgency there. The peril wasn't real. It felt thrown in there for the sake of needing something to add a little pressure to the characters as they attempted to fight the demon, who was also kinda crap. I mean, a demon? One of the things I've loved about this series is that it's been free from cliche. It's fresh and different. Until we arrive at this fucking demon. It feels like such a cop-out. Clutching at straws for a villain? Throw a demon in there! I mean, there was no explanation for the demon. We can assume it's been sleeping in that cave system, okay. But why? How did it relate to the quest as a whole? Who put it there? What is going on?


I mean, I could go ahead and try and squeeze it into some kind of statement about good and evil, and the nature of Ronan's ability as Greywaren and his creation of objects from nothing and there needing to be consequences as a result. Or I could try and piece together some kind of explanation from Piper and her greed and the folly of disregarding what you destroy when all you do is take. But I'd be making it up. I'd be fucking making it up because it wouldn't be canon. Because the canon presents us with this fucking demon and nothing more.

You can see how hard I wanted this to work.

I mean, the sleepers thing was a giant let down too because Glendower is dead. So in actual fact, there ain't no sleepers and whoever said that there were three was talking out their fucking ass. Buuuut . . . I actually did kinda like the fact that Glendower was dead. It wasn't what I was expecting and it was kinda lame, but it gave us the groups' friendship and their knowledge of each other as a reward for this long fought quest Gansey has been on. There were some emotional scenes following this revelation that felt genuine and heartfelt. Gansey's deep disappointment was well portrayed and sort of beautiful in an incredibly sad kind of way. I can piece together that the quest left them with so much more than if they had discovered Glendower alive and just napping, and I think that's a powerful thought, that it's not always the result, but what we learn along the way that has the most impact and provides the biggest prize. But again, I'm piecing it together and in a finale I don't feel like that's the way it's supposed to be.

You know, I wanted to talk about Ronan and Adam and the unsatisfying way that their relationship was revealed and Adam's dead-eyes and how forced and clunky it felt and how disconnected they were not only from each other but from the group as a whole but I'm running out of characters here so I guess that's for another day.

This book made me so sad and for all the wrong reasons. I should have been saddened because of a powerful and emotional ending for characters who I adore and feel like I know. But instead I'm sad because it was shit. There are some really great chapters in here, but it's all overshadowed by so much crap. None of it hangs together, it feels like a collection of scenes at times with no cohesive plot running throughout. There is some really beautiful writing and some very quotable passages, but at the same time there are sentences that are completely redundant or feel like filler, or even make no sense at all. I was expecting this to be something I would love and I kinda hate it.

Oh, I so didn't want it to be this way.


(I get that this is a long review, and for that I apologise but unlike Maggie Steifvater, I wanted to cover all the bases.)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 10, 2020

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.
Everyone knows about that feeling you get at the end of a series.

When you know the really terrible thing that author hinted at (for three books) is about to happen.
He was a king. This was the year he was going to die.
AND all you can do is rationalize that the author couldn't possibly let that happen - she wouldn't betray us like that, RIGHT?
Wanting to live, but accepting death to save others: that was courage. That was to be Gansey's greatness.
BUT the closer you get to you-know-what the more your heart quickens and you start holding your breath.
“Wake up, you bastard," — he said. "You fucker. I can't believe that you would ..."
And he began to cry.”
As always, I abso-freaking-lutely loved this book.

This is my third time through and each time, I just want to smush all these characters in a hug.

Seeing how Blue, Ronan, Adam and Gansey grew and developed over the series does wonders for my heart.

I was a smidge disappointed by how the ending was wrapped up within only a few pages...but you're left with enough of a their-in-a-good-place ending to keep you happy.

(And the you-know-what was completely resolved!) (Oh thank goodness!)

And who knows, maybe there will be another...?

I'm not asking him to stay, Ronan thought. Only to come back.

Audiobook Comments
Literally could not recommend the audio more. It's gotten to the point where if I read the book, I can hear the Will Patton's voice.

He does such an amazing job with the tone, inflection, everything that it feels like I'm listening to all my favorite characters chit-chatting rather than someone reading the book to me.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
530 reviews34.5k followers
April 27, 2018
”The head is too wise. The heart is all fire.”

There’s no better way to start this review than with this quote, because after reading this series my heart is truly all fire. When I began to read “The Raven Boys” in October 2017 I had no idea that I’d love this series so much. I was completely oblivious to the fact that those boys would take over my entire world and I had no clue that I’d become so attached to them. I just didn’t know what I was getting myself into but after finishing the last book I can say that I don’t regret anything!!! XD

Over those last seven months I’ve been on a long journey with my boys. I cheered for them, I suffered with them, I was sad and despaired, I was hopeful and happy. I sighed, I laughed, I cried, I tore at my hair, I screamed, I dreamed, and I died about a thousand deaths!
In short: I lived and breathed those books!!!

They became an integral part of me and my life and I actually feel like I’ve become one of the Raven Boys as well. I guess that means that in some way I kind of made a bargain with Cabeswater too. Uh oh! XD

Well, anyway!
What I want to say is that I love those characters so much, I feel like every attempt to put it into words is automatically bound to fail. There are no words to describe how intensely I feel about those boys and even if I’d become a hundred years, I still wouldn’t be able to express all of my feelings.
It’s an impossible task and maybe this is good the way it is. It’s part of the magic of those books and truth be told, I’m convinced we all need a little magic in our lives every once in a while. ;-)

So, speaking of magic:

There was lightning and thunder outside of my window when I finished this book.
It looked like the end of the world.

To read those final pages of “The Raven King”?!
It FELT like the end of the world…

I will miss my boys and Maggie’s unique magic so damn much! T_T *sobs and is unconsolable*

The plot:

”You were the one who told me, Ronan, that something was starting, all those months ago. Now’s not the time to be going rogue. Someone’s going to get killed. No more playing around. There’s no more time for anything but truth. We’re supposed to be in this together, whatever this is.”

I think this quote is kind of giving direction to the entire last book because after the third sleeper was woken up a lot of strange things begin to happen. Our boys have a lot of different troubles to face and to say they are in deep doo-doo would be putting it more than just mildly. *lol* They don’t only have to work on the discrepancies among each other, but also outside of their magical world and inside of Cabeswater. In short: There’s a whole wagon of feels that’s going to hit you, and it’s going to hit you hard! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-P

The characters:

”Leaves,” Ronan Lynch’s voice said, full of intention.
“Dust,” Adam Parrish said.
“Wind,” Blue Sargent said.
“Shit,” Henry Cheng added.

I’m sure this is the moment the people who know my reviews have been waiting for. Yes, you already know what’s coming. ;-) Let’s make it official then: This is my spoiler section and if you don’t want to be spoiled you better leave now! Because this was the last and final book and I’m going to spoil the hell out of you if you didn’t read the other three. XD Fair warning, sound advice! Take it or leave it! It’s up to you! ;-P

Gansey – The King:

”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.”

Oh, Gansey. My troubled soul! I once again felt so sorry for him and to top it all off we finally found out that he actually knows he’s going to die. Of course I should have known that he would figure it out, but for some reason I thought he was unaware of his impending death. Well, turns out he knew it all along. *sigh* The way it all happened in the end was so unexpected though. I didn’t see this coming… NOT AT ALL and I think I was at least as devastated as Gansey when he found out that Glendower had been dead for years. My heart bled for him… for him and his wishes and all his unfulfilled dreams. T_T

”It was this: this moment and no other moment, and for the first time that Gansey could remember, he knew what it would feel like to be present in his own life.”

”Gansey’s death had been foretold for this year. It was him. It was always going to be him.
Glendower was dead. He’d always been dead.
And Gansey kind of wanted to live.”

Blue – The Mirror Tree:

”Her hair had got wilder since he first met her, less contained by all of her clips, and her mouth had got messier since he met her, more desirous of forbidden kisses, and her stance had got harder, her spine sharpened by grief and peril.”

It was really nice to find out about Artemus’ origins and it caused me understand Blue a little bit better. It explained why she always felt wrong in her own skin and I guess it also explains why Gansey and she had this special connection. XD Still, in some way the reveal of her background story only confused me even more and I don’t even dare to say it but after four entire books, I still don’t feel like I really know her character. *lol* After BLLB her character became less tangible again and I really don’t know why. Maybe Maggie, that genius master mind, planned it that way? I guess I’ll never know. *shrugs*

”Blue was filled with frustration that her life was so clearly demarcated. Things that were not enough, but that she could have. Things that were something more, that she couldn’t.

Adam – The Magician:

”It seemed like he should become stranger, more other, when he was near Cabeswater, but in reality, the closer he was to Cabeswater, the more firmly present he remained. His mind didn’t have to wander far to communicate with Cabeswater when his body was able to lift a hand to touch it.”

I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE IN LOVE WITH ADAM PARRISH! There I said it out loud! *lol* Don’t get me wrong, of course I still love Ronan too, but Ronan reminds me too much of myself. XD I love him in sense of Philia and Agape whereas Adam Parrish is my Eros and Agape. Haha! Does that make sense? Guess to all of you who had some serious Greek philosophy lessons it does. ;-P Well anyway, I love Adam and what he has become and I was so damn proud of him throughout the entire book. Despite his father and everything that happened to him he’s become a beautiful human being and I just love him for it! <333 He’s strong now, he found his way and nothing can stop him. Not even a stupid demon that’s trying to possess him! YAY! Gosh I just love my boy!!! My Adam! <333 *heart eyes* Still, Maggie why did you have to hurt him so much?! T_T

”Stop saying privilege. Love isn’t privilege. But Gansey had always had love, had always been capable of love. Now that Adam had discovered his feelings in himself, he was more certain than ever that he was right. Need was Adam’s baseline, his resting pulse. Love was a privilege. Adam was privileged; he didn’t want to give it up. He wanted to remember again and again how it felt.”

”For Adam, it meant linking in to the ley line that pulsed beneath the forest, unwrapping himself and allowing the bigger pattern inside. It was a process that was both eerie and awesome to watch from the outside. Adam; then Adam vacated; then Adam, more.”

”Do you know what hurts the most? What this means you think of me. You didn’t even give me the chance to be OK with it. You were just so sure I’d be eaten by jealousy. That’s how you see me?”

Ronan – The Greywaren:

”It was too cold for fireflies, but a multitude of them glistened in and out of being above the fields nonetheless. Those were his. Fanciful, purposeless, but lovely.
Ronan Lynch loved to dream about light.”

As it seems Ronan is always good for a surprise. *lol* I didn’t expect that Matthew was one of his dreams and I certainly didn’t expect the revelation about Cabeswater! XD I mean OMG!! Ronan dreamed Cabeswater into life!!! To dream a place like that? Gosh, he must be so damn powerful and skilled af!! Sounds like my boy? Yes, it does! ;-) I loved that he finally made peace with Declan and that the three Lynch brothers got along so well in the end. It made me happy to see them like that and I wish it could have stayed that way, but no Maggie had to break my heart into thousand pieces. As Ronan’s twin I felt with him when Aurora died and boy was it painful!!! WHY MAGGIE!!?? WHY??!! GOSH DAMN IT! RONAN LOST HIS FATHER AND NOW YOU HAD TO TAKE HIS MOTHER AS WELL???? You made him and orphan!!! He would have deserved so much better than that!!! T_T To see Ronan suffer and cry? It hurt so damn much… I can’t even…. *sobs*

”In this other place, it was easy to tell that the music was the sound of Ronan’s soul. Hungry and prayerful, it whispered of dark places, old places, fire and sex.”

”Ronan Lynch’s stare was a snake on the pavement where you wanted to walk. It was a match left on your pillow. It was pressing your lips together and tasting your own blood.”

”Ronan skidded to his knees, his arms around her, and it hurt Adam, somehow, to watch how ferociously he hugged his little strange dream creature, and how she buried her face into his shoulder. He stood with her in his arms, holding her tightly, and he heard him saying, No, you did good, it’s going to be OK, we’re waking up.”

”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.

Noah – The Ghost:

”My mom always said he was a firecracker, which just meant he was always getting speeding tickets and jumping on tables at family reunions and stuff. He always had so many ideas. He was so hyper.”

I don’t know about you, but I would have loved to get to know this hyper Noah. His story made me so damn sad and I really wish he would have had a chance to get his happily ever after. Unfortunately he didn’t get what he deserved and I can only hope that he’s happy wherever he is now. The way I see it Noah chose to safe Gansey when he died the first time. He did it in order to guarantee that Cabeswater could save him the second time around and in a strange way this actually makes sense. XD Still, Noah Czerny is adorable and precious and he would have deserved the world!!! T_T RIP Noah! <333

”Blue didn’t care that he – it – Noah – was strange and decaying and frightening. She knew that he – it – Noah was strange and decayed and frightened, and she knew that she loved him anyway.”

”Goodbye,” Noah said. “Don’t throw it away.”

Henry – The Special Extra:

”Once, you got me coffee,” Henry said. “When I was losing my mind. Consider the favour returned.”

Why was Henry introduced so late?! I loved that boy!!! He’s amazing and funny and honest and pure!!! I really wish he would have been a bigger part of this! I would have loved to read more about him and I instantly felt a connection to this awesome boy! I was so sorry when I found out that he had been kidnapped and I truly loved him for acting to safe Blue’s principles in front of the others. *lol* It makes me sad that I probably will never read about him again and I really hope Maggie will include him in one of her future stories. Please, Maggie! *makes huge puppy eyes*

”What do you want me to say?”
“Nothing yet,” Henry said. “I want you to think about it. And then I hope you will choose to trust me. Because I’m overfull on secrets and underfed on friends.”

”But it wasn’t that Henry was less of himself in English. He was less of himself out loud. His native language was thought.”

The Demon & Piper:

I already didn’t like Piper in “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” but my initial dislike for her grew into an even bigger monster in this book. I really started to hate her with a fierce passion and in the end all I wanted was for her to drop dead. *lol* I know those are strong and negative feelings coming from me but I really hated her so much! XD Piper and that mean demon almost killed my lovely boys so I think I’m kind of entitled to feel that way. I always knew that the demon would kill her and if you ask me he waited way too long to do it. *lol* Whoopsie, was that mean? *smiles innocently*

The friendships:

Henry & Gansey:

”Now get out,” Henry said.
Gansey looked at him. “I beg your pardon?”
“Stop driving,” he said. “I know you need to. You’ve needed to since we left. Get. Out.”

I loved the chemistry between Gansey and Henry! Yep, chemistry! Don’t even try to say there is none because it was all over the place!!! XD It was so amazing to watch and I couldn’t help but marvel at their interactions. It was wonderful how Henry always knew what Gansey needed and it was so funny that Gansey had no other choice than to accept it because he knew Henry was right. =)) I really wish we could have seen more of them and I truly hope there will be some sort of short story in the future. I know Maggie is busy, but I can always hope, right?! ;-P

”It’s like we’ve met each other before. No, not really. We are friends at once, we would instantly do what friends would do for each other. Not just pals. Friends. Blood brothers. You just feel it. We instead of you and me. That’s jeong.”

Ronan & Blue:

”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.”

Those two!!! *LOL* I will say it again and again! I love how close they became over those last few books and whenever they spoke with each other it always made me smile. Ronan’s reaction to her scar was priceless and it was so damn adorable that he was proud of her getting suspended! XD Their dynamic is so much fun and I’m so glad they started to get along so well. =)))

”Look, Sargent,” Ronan retorted. “I was gonna dream you some eye cream last night since clearly modern medicine’s doing jack shit for you, but I nearly had my ass handed to me by a death snake from the fourth circle of dream hell, so you’re welcome.”
Blue looked appropriately touched. “Ah, thanks, man.”
“No problem, bro.”

The ships:

Ronan & Adam aka Ronam:

”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.”

I CAN’T EVEN!! MY HEART!!! MY. HEART.!!! I loved every little moment between them, every single gesture, every eye contact, every smile, every playful remark!!! THEY ARE EVERYTHING!!! Their first kiss blew me away and I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling for two days! And OMG!!! Ronan thinking about Adam’s hands? It was my undoing! I love hands, I love Adam, I love Ronan! ARGH! I think I’m going to die! And what a wonderful death it would be!!! Still, nothing, really nothing could prepare me for CHAPTER 39!!! PERFECTION, UTTER AND SHEER PERFECTION!!! I read this chapter about a thousand times. It still moves me, it makes me cry! <333 *shakes head and fights tears* I just love them so much… Thank you Maggie! *sobs*

”He had memorized the shape of Adam’s hands in particular: the way his thumb jutted awkwardly, boyishly; the roads of the prominent veins; the large knuckles that punctuated his long fingers. In dreams Ronan put them to his mouth.
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 a match.”

”Asshole,” Ronan said.
Adam smiled cheerily. Ronan would start wars and burn cities for that true smile, elastic and amiable.”

”When Adam kissed him, it was every mile per hour Ronan had ever gone over the speed limit. It was every window-down, goose-bumps-on-skin, teeth-chattering-cold night drive. It was Adam’s ribs under Ronan’s hands and Adam’s mouth on his mouth, again and again and again. It was stubble on lips and Ronan having to stop, to get his breath, to restart his heart. They were both hungry animals, but Adam had been starving for longer.”

”They sprawled on the living room sofa and Adam studied the tattoo that covered Ronan’s back: all the sharp edges that hooked wondrously and fearfully into each other.
“Unguibus et rostro,” Adam said.
Ronan put Adam’s fingers to his mouth.
He was never sleeping again.

Blue & Gansey:

”And third, most importantly, Gansey was outrageously and eternally driven to distraction by the image of her behind the wheel of his car. Ronan and Adam weren’t with them, so there was no one to catch them in what felt like an incredibly indecent act.”

Don’t you love it that Gansey thinks Blue driving his Camaro is an “incredibly indecent act”? *LOL* Those two are so innocent it’s not even normal. Haha! Where Adam and Ronan are all fire, tension and heat, Gansey and Blue are almost too shy and sweet. XD I was so happy they finally decided to tell the others and the chapter of Henry Cheng’s toga party gave me life!!! Seriously, I loved this party so damn much! It’s a perfect example of Maggie’s awesome writing skills and I truly wish this chapter would have never ended. =))) I’m so happy they can be together now and forgive me this pun, but I think their first kiss was rather breathtaking, don’t you agree? ;-P *lol*

”It was Blue’s shoulder and her collarbone and her legs and her throat and her laugh her laugh her laugh. He couldn’t stop looking at her, and here, it didn’t matter, because no one here cared that they were together. Here, he could play his fingers over her fingers as they stood close, she could lean her cheek on his bare shoulder, he could hook his ankle playfully in hers, she could catch herself with an arm around his waist. Here he was unbelievably greedy for that laugh.”

”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.

The conclusion:

It was such a wonderful journey! I’m so sad it’s over now. T_T I will miss my boys so much! I will miss their comments, their unconditional love, their easy banter. *sniff* This series goes straight to my favourite shelf and it will stay there forever! <333
Thank you, Maggie!

Also, a big thanks to my lovely Adam! Thank you for holding my hand throughout the entire book. I was so lucky to have you at my side. I think I couldn’t have done this without your support and I’m so glad we read this together! <333

”That’s all there is.”

(No, not really! I could have gone on and on but I already reached the gr word limit. So, yeah I’m sorry guys! *lol*)
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
June 14, 2021
completing this reread after 2 years...might mess around and sob uncontrollably

update: dropping this from a 5 to a 4 because it is so transparently not as good as blue lily, lily blue, but it is still great and i'm so sad.


reading all books with LGBTQ+ rep for pride this month!

book 1: the gravity of us
book 2: the great american whatever
book 3: wild beauty
book 4: the affair of the mysterious letter
book 5: how we fight for our lives
book 6: blue lily, lily blue
book 7: the times i knew i was gay
book 8: conventionally yours
book 9: the hollow inside
book 10: nimona
book 11: dark and deepest red
book 12: the house in the cerulean sea
book 13: the raven king

original review

To whom it may concern,

This is not the last book of the Raven Cycle. It just isn’t. It’s not allowed to be. I didn’t say it was okay if it was and I feel like I should have some say in the matter, considering I like these books a lot and that’s pretty unusual for me.

Compelling argument, yeah? Everyone just send this review on over to Maggie Stiefvater and I’m sure we’ll have another installment in the next 12-18 months.

Great. Now that that’s settled:


Probably not, right? It can’t be. Not when everyone warned me this book was going to be a touch disappointing and I five-starred Blue Lily, Lily Blue and put it on my all-time favorites list and screamed about it from the rooftops. It’s impossible.

But also...this book was so damn good. I’m in crisis. Being in crisis is very normal for me, except usually I am in a negative crisis during which I manage to be somehow astonished that I disliked a book I was looking forward to, even though that’s basically my whole thing.

Currently, I am in crisis because I loved a book so much it’s threatening to break my whole life. This is a YA FANTASY. I don’t love YA FANTASY. I’m not SIXTEEN YEAR OLD. I read YA fantasy and then I write eight-page reviews TEARING IT APART.

Sporadic CAPS to make CLEAR that I am really FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS.

I’m going to do some categories and hopefully calm down.


This whole book was very exciting.

That’s really all I have to say. Feels like it shouldn’t be such an exceptional thing, but unfortunately it is. (The nonexceptional thing being “YA fantasy that is consistently exciting,” not “me not having a lot to say.” Although that too if we’re being totally honest.)

Truly, why isn’t all YA fantasy exciting??? That should be #1 on the priority list. First and foremost, nonstop action; next up, love triangles or the not-like-other-girls trope or manic pixie dream girls or whatever other dumb sh*t authors are falling over themselves to include in their books.

But I digress.

This is SO FAST-PACED. For the most part, the other three books have a slow, kind of research-y feeling first half, where our characters are learning stuff and feeling angsty, and then an action-packed second half. THIS BOOK WAS BASICALLY ALL SECOND HALF. Which, stressful. But also awesome.


I want the setting of this series to eat me, which is just about the highest praise for a fictional setting there is.

I love being wrapped up in this world, and I would 10/10 be okay with living inside it. Not just because Gansey exists in it, but because it’s a world of magic and psychics and forests and sunlight and friendly ravens and dream-things and nature and accents and school uniforms and converted warehouses and miniature cities made of cardboard boxes and tucked-away mansions and perfect trees and talking trees and student housing and long drives and attics and also a pizza restaurant I really have an inexplicable soft spot for.

These books are where 300 Fox Way is, and Cabeswater, and the Orphan Girl, and Chainsaw, and Monmouth Manufacturing.



I have exactly two (2) complaints about this near-perfect book, which is how you know my identity wasn’t stolen. Still the cynical, self-obsessed asshole who won’t let any of us have nice things.

Having said that, here we go:

Complaint numéro un: Piper, the greatest villain ever gifted to the genre of YA fantasy, or possibly any genre ever, is completely and utterly f*cked over in this book. She does not get even a fraction of the attention and love and villainous forehead-kisses she deserves. Which is a massive injustice. I may protest.

Complaint numéro deux: Blue and Gansey are...so gross.

I am very aware that saying this makes me look like a horrible freak monster who is somehow possessive over a fictional boy. That is not the case, and also I love Blue.

Their relationship is just made up of 0% chemistry, 100% them doing gross stuff like staring at each other and rubbing faces and whatnot.

No, I don’t have affection issues. Why do you ask?


The title of this category looks like the weirdest remixed song title in all of history. But whatever. We have more important things to talk about. Namely:


There wasn’t a single person I disliked. In the past I have made people very very mad at me due to the fact that someone could call either Ronan or Adam a congealing bowl of vanilla pudding to either of their respective fictional faces and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Which is to say I didn’t care about them that much. But in this book??? I, uh. I - I liked them both.

FINE, EVERYONE. YOU WIN. I LIKED THEM AFTER ALL. But I didn’t like them when you said I would, so. Take your victory with a grain of salt.

Adam/Ronan is the best and I am glad we’re getting more of them because that felt a touch: rushed. Which was maybe just me internally justifying the fact that suddenly I can’t get enough of RONAN??? AND ADAM??? Last-year me fresh out of Blue Lily, Lily Blue would never have been able to IMAGINE.

There is not NEARLY enough of Noah, my small and spooky son, in this book. And that, alongside the dire lack of Piper, f*cking sucks.

But there is also good news. Here is some good news:
- Blue is still completely rad
- Blue’s family of powerful women psychics = also still rad
- A boy named Henry Cheng appears, apparently for the sole purpose of bringing an even higher level of rad to the table
- And, of course:

If you need to read me being disgusting about my love for a fictional character, please visit: literally any of my other The Raven Cycle reviews. I don’t have it in me right now. I am too devastated at my own loss.

As this book says:

“Gansey.” A pause. “That’s all there is.”

In conclusion: Please give me more Gansey. I need more Gansey.

And everyone else is pretty cool too.


Usually when I finish a series I really love, I feel an overwhelming sadness and slump forever and never ever want to read anything again except more books in that series and then they DON’T EXIST which cue sadness again. It’s a never-ending cycle of suffering.

And don’t get me wrong, I am goddamn miserable that I finished these books. (The Gansey withdrawal alone is insufferable.) But this book actually managed to pull me out of my slump, not put me in one.


Bottom line: I miss everyone already and I’m sad.


I had tears in my eyes when I finished this book.





I'm furious and also I loved every second of it so stupid much. Review to come



More than a year after finishing Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I'm finally attempting to finish this series.

I HATE ENDINGS. Pray for me.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
May 13, 2016
I vowed The Raven King would be the last Stiefvater's book I’m going to read. Even though that’s the case, I was genuinely optimistic for it. I want to wrap up The Raven Cycle in a satisfying note. I had fond memories of the characters, and I thought it’s only fitting.

However, the hopefulness ends right there.

Here’s some of the fundamental things I could tell you about this book:

- If you hate the writing of this series, you probably won’t like it still
- The swirling direction of the plot is confusing
- The author introduced a web of new plot, accompanied by new characters; it’s expected a lot of things are going to be sidelined, and forgotten
- It’s predictable. I anticipated the majority of the twist and concrete plan of the author

This is the every bit of part that made my skin crawl.

This contains spoilers and text from the book.

The way Henry was introduced in BLLB was unforgettable. We saw him making an offhand rape comment. This is pretty common. See All For the Game series by Nora Sakavic where their lone!good!moc could be seen making the same proclamation throughout the series. I am willing to let it slide, maybe, this is not about race.

In The Raven King, we get to know Henry Cheng better. He’s half Chinese and half Korean. His mother Seondeok is a Korean dealer of illegal antiquities. White authors can’t seem to write East Asians without associating them with mob, yakuza, and mafia? Another example: All For the Game series by Nora Sakavic

This is the part where it gets nauseating.

“Principles? Henry Cheng’s principles are all about getting larger font in the school newsletter,” Ronan said. He did a vaguely offensive version of Henry’s voice: “Serif? Sans serif? More bold, less italics.”

Blue saw Adam both smirk and turn his face away in a hurry so that Gansey wouldn’t see, but it was too late.

“Et tu, Brute?” Gansey asked Adam. “Disappointing.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Adam replied.

It was explicitly stated Henry’s second language is English. I’m going to assume Ronan is mocking the way Henry speaks, the intonation or accent of his voice. Whichever fucking way I look it is racist. Nobody even called Ronan out. The gross thing, the author made it into an “inside joke” for pynch.

This didn’t end right there. We have another pynch scene where they made a punchline out of Henry’s ethnicity.

“Adam made puerile jokes at Henry’s expense (He’s half Chinese? “Which half?”) and sniggered clannishly; Blue called them on it (“Jealous, much?”): Gansey told them to put aside their preconceptions and think about him.

Really? This made into the final publication? Minority’s ethnical identity isn’t a subject for crass puns.  Blue and Gansey’s meek intervention is not going to pacify me. I’m not here for this. Once again, this become a “cutesy” pynch scene.

These vile ~scenes~ about Henry’s otherization serves no purpose. It doesn’t contribute anything to the plot. You can reason out the narrative is implying Adam and Ronan are jealous (of Gansey’s new attachment to Henry,) but the author could’ve made a different approach of executing that. This is deliberate.

Another troubling scene with Henry and Blue

It was this: Blue, teetering on the edge of offence, saying, I don’t understand why you keep saying such awful things about Koreans. About yourself. And Henry saying. I will do it before anyone else can. It is the only way to not be angry all of the time.

Great another Korean character written by white author who might or might not be experiencing internalized racism. Sounds familiar? See Ellen Oh’s intake of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

I shipped pynch, but after this I’ll always associate them as that, “white gay couple who are lowkey racist.” The only comfort I have is I’m finally free of this series.
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews503 followers
April 28, 2016
He said, “I think it’s time to find Glendower.”
Adam said, “I think you’re right.”

YAYYY!! It's out now and I'm so excited to relive TRK through everyone else's eyes ♥

I'm sitting here now trying to string some decent words together, with dried tears on my cheeks, in hopes of being able to convey even a shred of the feelings warring inside me.

For three books, I have tried to describe exactly what this series means to me. And in those three attempts, I feel as if I have failed. At this point, its beyond words. It's more than happiness and sadness and the overwhelming feeling of wonder. It's all those things and none of those things and five starts just doesn't seem like enough.

Maggie Stiefvater has a way with words. Words that I've known for most my life and learned to string together. She manages to make something more of them. She fashions it into a story, and makes it sound like poetry. She takes everything you've ever felt and gives it a name.

The Raven King makes your heart pound and makes your heart stop. It makes you laugh and makes you have an impromptu sob session at 12:47am. The characters are everything, the story is everything and whatever the first three books were, The Raven King was more.
Outside of Henrietta, nestled on the ley line, something dark watched all this, everything in the Henrietta night, and said, I’m awake I’m awake I’m awake.

Everything is finally unraveling and coming together. This is definitely the creepiest book of them all. I'm a visual person, so I wouldn't exactly say I was scared. I mean, I was scared for Gansey's life and the state of my ships, but I wasn't scared in that horror movie kind of way. Because I'm a visual person. If this had been made into a movie of something, I would have been shitting myself into oblivion. If these things were actually happening to me, my ass would have been dead before Gansey could say Excelsior. However, I recognize creepiness when I read it, and this was creepy™.
“We should all be afraid,” Noah said, his voice thing through the buzzing. “When you play with time –”

...you get Nightmare Fuel. Let's just call it what it is.
He was a king.
This was the year he was going to die.

TRK almost didn't feel real to me. I honestly, could hardly believe that I had the fourth and final book in my hand. I've never met a famous person, but I feel like it would be a lot like this. Like you just can't believe the person you've been watching on TV and seeing in magazines is actually in front of you, shaking your hand and asking if you'd like a picture. I couldn't believe that I was reading new content. In the beginning, I would just get a little jolt and think, wait... I haven't read this before. Because everything I new was from the first three books and it just wouldn't hit me that after months of wait and following Stiefvater's updates it was here.
Blue was filled with frustration that her life was so clearly demarcated.
Things that were not enough, but that she could have.
Things that were something more, that she couldn’t.

It's almost too easy to be spellbound. The characters become dear to you-- I mean, who can't relate to someone who's alway dreamt of more, or of being autonomous, or of being respected, or of being loved. You can easily find a bit of yourself in each character, or a bit of someone you want to become. Your mind buzzes with the characters and the endless possibilities. Of the fact that Gansey is going to die and two kisses have been written into the story and nothing will ever be like it once was.
Making Ronan Lynch smile felt as charged as making a bargain with Cabeswater. These weren’t forces to play with.

Which brings me my next topic: THE SHIPS. Oh, the ships. Oh, my heart. I think the fact that Maggie Stiefvater wrote two kisses in The Raven King says enough.

Well, it really doesn't.

But that's all you'll get out of me. Its glory can't be replicated in a review, only experienced. Or non-glory. As I said, nothing from me.

Something Maggie Stiefvater wrote: I am really, really looking forward to the 26th, guys. I hope you love it or hate it, nothing in between.
Any author that encourages their readers to feel passionate about their story, whether it's passionately loving it or passionately hating it, is an author for me. Because the whole Raven Cycle experience just doesn't stop or begin with the books. The author and the fandom have been a huge part in making this an incredible adventure. With the fan art and the author's willingness to answer questions and interact with readers, it's difficult not to leave with a sense of excitement and satisfaction.

But more than anything, something Maggie Stiefvater wrote on her blog struck me the hardest. It was her reminder while she was writing the series. The worst thing that could happen to the characters is that they stop being friends. And while I was here worried for them individually or worried about them in their respective ships, I had never really thought about that. But I was hit with how true it was. Because what I couldn't stand more than anything, more than Gansey dying, Pynch not happening, or Henrietta falling off the face of The Raven Cycle planet, was them not being friends anymore. Because more than anything, this is a story about friends. Friends and magic. Would this be much without it?

I am just going to finish with this: Maggie Stiefvater is pressing down on the ORBMASTER that is my heart.
Depending on where you began the story, it was about this place: the long stretch of mountain that straddled a particularly potent segment of the ley line.

The Raven Boys (book 1)
The Dream Thieves (book 2)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (book 3)

((f.d: the visuals above were edited by myself-- base images were found on google))


.::UPDATE::. (4/05/16)

⚬ Prologue & Chapter One can be found here!

⚬ Prologue & Chapter One read by Will Patton + Song by Maggie Stiefvater can be heard here!

UPDATE (2/15/15)

And to clerify:
(i'm not making this up, i am actually quoting)

question/statement: maggie, please don't make one of the two kisses that happens just a dream kiss

maggie: I understand the fandom is full of trepidation due to a million and one instances of baiting on the part of mainstream media. But I have no interest in constructing some tricky tease in February and then disappointing a metric ton of readers in September. What would I possibly have to gain, except for an aggressive ulcer and possibly a gentle spattering of hate blogs? The Raven King is the last book in the cycle, and things are getting hairy, and there are a million things happening that I could tease; I have no reason to make something up to amuse myself or string readers along.

So when I say that I’ve written two kisses the fandom was looking forward to, I mean that they are genuine kisses, not ha-ha-it-was-all-a-dream or ha-ha-that’s-just-the-schnapps-talking or ha-ha-it-was-actually-Noah-kissing-a-potted-plant.

When I say that I’m going to kill Gansey, I mean I’m going to kill Gansey.

And when I say there’s something called the ORBMASTER in book four, I mean there’s something called the ORBMASTER in book four.

Did I say that last one before? Well. I’m saying it now.

Please rest assured in your dark heart that I am working up to something intentional and respectful. Please rest assured, also, that if I tease something that sounds dire, it’s gonna be dire. Please rest assured, thricely, that if I tease something that sounds great, it’s gonna be great.

Consider these my final remarks upon this subject until I drop the weighty block of The Raven King into bookstores this September.



So, there we have it.

Update (1/4/15)

i'm dead.

Here's a really well thought out theory: (source)

If you don't want to read through it all, here's the skinny.

. . . *nervous laughter* butbutbutbut it's Gansey!

If Gansey dies, I will die.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
November 15, 2016
“He was a king. This was the year he was going to die.”

I think a little piece of me died after I finished The Raven King. I am numb and energetic, happy and sad, satisfied and insatiable.

And definitely not okay.
“Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”

Depending on where you began the story, it was about friendship.
Courage. Dedication. Loyalty.
While Cabeswater kept fading, while Glendower remained hidden, Blue and her raven boys had to make important decisions, untangle their feelings, understand the metaphysical powers that threaded their web around Henrietta and face demons and corruption and opportunists and monsters. The fight was difficult, sometimes hopeless, but they were never alone. They had each other, and that was enough. For how long though?
“What a strange constellation they all were.”

I don't know what else to say about this series. I've already raved about Maggie Stiefvater's poetic, soulful writing and subtle humour, about the enthralling plotline and the mystical ambience and the three dimensional characters and the all-consuming feelings I've experienced thanks to them. The Raven King was more desperate though. Grim. You could hear the clock ticking, you could sense the impending doom but could do nothing about it. Only relish Blue and her boys' presense, their fights and their bickerings and their unbreakable bond and wish that this bond would survive. That they would survive.

“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.”

That's precisely how I felt. Forgive me for the dramatic note of this review, I just find goodbyes really, really hard. But even though I sobbed uncontrollably, even though my insides were ripped open and my heart bled, I loved this book. Blue. Gansey. Noah. Adam. Ronan. Fearfully, awesomely, worshipfully. The same way Ronan worshipped Adam, and Gansey worshipped Blue. Some questions remained unanswered. Some characters' fates unresolved. Yet somehow, I find it appropriate that a series thar started off with many secrets and questions finished the same way. Leaving you floating between reality and dreams. Not completely understanding everything but accepting it. It was a cycle. A Raven Cycle.
“Why do we breathe air? Because we love air? Because we don't want to suffocate. Why do we eat? Because we don't want to starve. How do I know I love her? Because I can sleep after I talk to her.”

But tears are liberating.
I feel blessed that I set off this beautiful, heartwarming journey. But now the time has come to say goodbye, and find a competent therapist.
See you on the other side.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
December 2, 2020
"The head is too wise. The heart is all fire."

There's two feelings currently fighting with each other: 1. Happiness 2. Disappointment. The Raven King was marvelous in so many ways, but unsatisfactory in the most important.

Maggie Stiefvater is a favourite author of mine because of reasons. Her stories are poetic and magnificent. Most of all, they live through their characters. Detailed and original, they are why I fell in love with the world around them. It's their realness that fascinates me, and their interaction that makes me happy. We have the Raven Boys, Blue, Blue's family and friends, the Grey Man, Piper, Gwenllian, Jesse Dittley, Orphan Girl, Kerah and Kavinsky. They are so alive. I'm a little in love with all of them.

A few topics I'd like to adress:

Henry Cheng
A nice but unnecessary addition to an already complete and amazing cast. Throughout the novel I was uncertain if Henry was upfront or would turn out to be a backstabbing liar. I could have done without him and don't really understand his role in the first place.

Really, apart from being scary and dead, he didn't really do much in this book. I wished for more, if only for his sake. He deserved it.

Foretelling and Foreshadowing
This is what built up my expectations, what speeded up my heartbeat. There's nothing that creates curiosity, thrill and despair more than prophecies. Thanks for being so clever and cruel, Maggie.

The one big issue I have with the book, is the ending.
To say the least, there's too many loose ends. Too many, what-happeneds, too much uncertainty, too many unaswered questions. At least for my taste. (Please feel free to comment, discuss this book, and enlighten me.)

However, the one big boost was Pynch.

I take this end, this conclusion, and tell myself that it was about the journey and not the destination. And I think so much is true. Maggie Stiefvater gave me such a colorful set of characters and put them in a lovely and magical place. She put them into words, bound them between pages and hid them underneath such beautiful covers (no, really, just look at this beautiful cover!), only so I - so we - could live in this world and feel their feelings.

It was an unbelivable journey, one that I will relive many, many times.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
125 reviews94.3k followers
September 18, 2016
Hands down the most satisfying conclusion to a series I've ever read (next to Deathly Hallows).

I absolutely loved it and I'm not over it. I don't think I'll ever be over it. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
February 3, 2018
2.5/5 stars

This will be the last YA book I read for the year 2017.

The Raven King, the final book in The Raven Cycle series sadly doesn’t live up to the quality that the series had established. It is in my opinion that this is the weakest of the series, there are some great moments for sure but at the same time, there’s too many problems I had with it.

Picture: The Raven King by John Fenerov

“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.”

Let me start off by saying that I love the complexity in the plot that the series offered. The overall main plot of the Raven King continues to captivate me endlessly and I was never bored with how the book starts and concluded. The last 100 pages of this book for instance were so hard to put down for me and I enjoyed the ending of the series. The strong bizarre atmosphere and the amount of danger looming for the characters in particular is one of my favorite part of the book.

The main characters development also remained top notch and with the exception for Noah, I love how each main character’s story concludes, especially Adam’s which I believe to be the best part of the book and maybe even the series. He came so far from where he began and he undergoes the most well written developments compared to the other characters.

And, Maggie’s prose again improved to be more engrossing and addictive to read. It’s the only reason why I never had any trouble reading this series or book despite how many problems I had with it.

Let’s start the part that didn’t work for me.

First, my number one main problem with the book, the entire middle sections of this book are mindlessly useless and out of the blue (no pun intended) to read. Here’s the thing, I will never agree with an author’s decision when they suddenly include a totally new character in the last entry of the series and have him/her be the new main character. Sadly, this particular problem can’t simply be overlooked in this book.

Once, I had a drinking contest with my friends 10 years ago, we all drank way too much and somehow, we all literally slept on the asphalt of a parking lot cause we thought it was too comfortable to let go. This is a true story and it became a good memory indeed. Oh sorry, the purpose of my story for this review? Absolutely nothing, just like Henry Cheng’s purpose in the series.

Why in the world would Maggie thought it would be a good idea to have a completely new character appeared in the last book and have him included as the main character is something I will never understand. Henry became Gansey’s instant best friend faster than my instant noodle being cooked. It’s not that Henry himself is badly written or he’s a bad character, again, he’s not. It’s just that if you remove him from the story, it wouldn’t affect the story whatsoever and the fact that he had more spotlight than Noah, one of the main characters since the first book doesn’t really help the pacing of the book.

The worst part is, I’m pretty sure that Henry’s useless story itself took almost 200 pages in total. Seriously, I really think that Maggie included him for the sake of diversity only. Hey, let me tell you this, I’m Asian and I want him removed from the story. Gone baby gone please you damn RoboBee (yes this is again, a new thing included in the last book).

Second, despite the main characters having a proper closure for their story, the amount of unresolved or unsatisfying conclusion to all the side character is insane. Almost all of them don’t have any proper closure; this includes the 300 Fox Way ladies that have been there since the beginning of the story. I won’t mention any of their names to avoid spoilers, all of them, that’s all I can say.

Finally, this may be me being nitpicky but there are three new characters here that were again, pointless and the way they were called annoyed the hell out of me. All three of them are literally called the same name, Lamouier (or something I forgot their name already), I’m not kidding, the same name for all three of them. It really doesn’t help in understanding the narrative on which character is which. Is it so hard to put Lamouier 1, 2 and 3 in the narrative????

In the end, I don’t hate the series overall. The Raven Cycle is one of the most complex YA series I ever read (heck the plot shouldn’t even be categorized as one imo) and it have the characterizations that rivaled some adult fantasy books I read. However, rather than saying I hate this series or book, it’s more like I’m heavily disappointed by the last book because of the potential it had. Despite everything, I enjoyed my time reading this series and I didn’t regret it. The Raven Cycle however will be the last YA series I read for this year, there are countless other priority books that deserve my attention and the disappointment I had with this book doesn’t help in making me want to go back to this genre any time soon, not even as a break.

Overall series review:

The Raven Boys: 3/5 Stars

The Dream Thieves: 3.5/5 Stars

Blue Lily, Lily Blue: 4/5 Stars

The Raven King: 2.5/5 Stars

The Raven Cycle series: 13/20 Stars

This review is also featured on Booksprens where I'll be a guest reviewer for this series, check it out! :)

You can find the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Zemira Warner.
1,569 reviews1,040 followers
April 26, 2016
*before reading*

So many Gansey x Blue shippers on this page. Such basic taste. I can't even. Apparently, ya'll never heard of Pynch.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Let's chant together PYNCH! PYNCH! PYNCH!

*after reading*

I am a mess and I need some time to process everything but here are my initial thoughts about The Raven King:

- This book is about Gansey being a special snowflake who's only worry in life is to avoid bees. haha
- Blue got lost in this story and she didn't have any memorable scenes(that I can think of)
- Ronan is flawless and so is everything he touches including Chainsaw, Orphan Girl(YAAAS Pynch daugher), his car and ahem,ahem... Adam.
- Adam. He's come a long way since his early, angry days. I've loved him from the start even though so many of you don't agree with me but I'll fight you on this till the day I die. (ง'̀-'́)ง
- Why the hell were those 'bad guys' from previous books in this one as well? Their storylines kind of faded into nothingness and they became irrelevant.
- Everything was over so fast. Especially the 'battle' scene. :(
- PYNCH!!! Lord knows I've waited 84 years and I did mess up by posting spoilery status updates. Yep! I may or may not have played sappy songs while (re)reading their scenes, over and over again.

Maggie Stiefvater deserves all the awards for creating these books! They are like poetry to my peasant mind. Wish she would write about our heroes' college adventures. Let's be real. I'm including Blue and Gansey in this wish just so no one comments about me only caring about Pynch.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,167 reviews98.2k followers
March 1, 2018

1.) The Raven Boys ★★★★★
2.) The Dream Thieves ★★★★★
3.) Blue Lily, Lily Blue ★★★★★

“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.”

This is truly a once in a lifetime series. If Harry Potter was my childhood, The Raven Cycle was my 20's. This series was perfect for me, and I don't think anyone could break the spell that this series and these characters have cast upon me.

“They were both hungry animals, but Adam had been starving for far longer.”

“Depending on where you began the story, it was about..." unconditional love and the power it can evoke. This book is the type of book that makes me want to be a better person. It makes me want to be more appreciative of my friends and family. It makes me so thankful that I have a love for reading and that it was instilled in me from a young age. It makes me feel so blessed that I'm able to read and able to read books like this. I'm eternally grateful to Maggie Stiefvater and her words that somehow penetrated my heart and built this perfect story.

I'm writing this review in actual tears, because this story is so beautiful and means so much to me. I probably sound really incoherent and this review is ending up just like my Shiver review, where I'm just fangirling, but sometimes while reading this series I felt like Maggie Stiefvater was writing this solely for me. Like she somehow got inside my heart and wrote my soul down on paper. I really don't have any words that I can string together to do a review for The Raven King justice; I'll just say that it changed me forever, I'm eternally grateful to have had this reading experience, and that I'll never forget it. Thank you, Maggie Stiefvater.

Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah all have a piece of my heart that I will never get back. In return, they will stay with me forever.

“He closed his eyes and he began to dream.”

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Profile Image for Simona B.
892 reviews2,985 followers
February 10, 2017
I'm buddy-reading this with... wait for it... you'll be so shocked when you find out (I've been working on my predictability)... my favorite exploding fluffball Nina, whose review you'd better read because WOW.

"His head was not thinking. His heart was thinking."

Would it be too mean of me to say "I told you"? Because I did tell you that this plot had neither rhyme nor reason. The first three books, plot-wise, were a huge disappointment, but the issue was overshadowed because of the great emphasis placed on the character development. (And even that had its flaws for me -I'm linking my reviews down below.) In order to cut the losses and save what could be saved, the solution was an ending that tied up all the loose ends, that made everything add up, that made every little piece fit in the bigger picture. And that, I think, would have been all the more effective here, with this series, which Stiefvater disseminated of so many subtleties and nuances. It could have been spectacular and magical, because Stiefvater's magic is in the details I mentioned before. And in The Raven King, she didn't play on it, and h**l if I know why.

•I wrote way too many negative reviews lately, so let's start with the silver linings. Namely, Pynch. Holy, wonderful Pynch. (What a name for a ship, though.) I love how the complexity of Ronan's character shows in this relationship. Reading his thoughts, you would never guess he's the same foul-mouthed boy of the crazy car races, the one with the shaved head and a tattoo on his back.

"The ocean burned."

Adam: now this may sound weird and unusual, but I've liked him since book one, and since book one he's always been my favorite character. I feel tears swelling up in my eyes if I think of his growth. He changed so much from the person he was in The Raven Boys, and his evolution follows a path that Stiefvater outlined with astonishing accuracy through all the four books. If for nothing else, I would recommend this series for Adam's sake alone: rarely have I seen such a fleshed-out, round, deep and thought-provoking character.

•The writing is still one of the best things about this series. The first chapters were slighlty overstuffed with figures of speech, repetitions and parallelisms, and I think Stiefvater overdid a little, as if she wanted to make of the book a triumph in style, which grew old quickly enough. The rest of the book, however, is just as well-written as the rest of the series.

And as the saying goes, the rest is meh.

Cabeswater and chapter 67.


Blue's curse.

I never liked her, by the way, and here she was just as insipid as ever.

The boatload of secondary characters.

The fifth Raven Boy (or you know what, let's call him fourth) and the former fourth one.

Robo-bee and the dream things black market.
The only word that comes to my mind, once again, is "random". None of this made sense, none of this had an actual purpose, none of this convincingly fit into the story. I waited until the end for some kind of stocktaking to bring some order in this mess, but I have still no idea of why what was happening was happening.

➽ If you've read my other reviews (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue) you probably remember I had mixed feelings about this series from the very beginning, and you also remember that my expectations for this book were extremely high. They were high because I saw how breathtaking the ending could be given how incredibly promising the base upon which to build it was. This story run toward a cliff with the intention to fly, but, in my eyes, all it did was plunge in the chasm. It felt rushed, hastily cobbled together, improvised. I don't know what happened. Everything was there, waiting only to be arranged a little.
It will take a while for me to process this wannabe conclusion.
Profile Image for ily .
455 reviews629 followers
May 7, 2016



Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
838 reviews3,755 followers
February 15, 2021
“Stiefvater, please, I just want … ”

Well done. I definitely do WANT. I can make a list, too.

PS. Please spoiler tag your thoughts in the comment section if needed, I don't want my review to spoil anyone :)

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,615 followers
April 23, 2018
Re/read audio

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


I wasn't sure I could make it through this book. I worried what was going on constantly. And now...it's all over

I went through a lot of emotions in this book. The bad things that happened in the last book made me sad and I didn't know what was going to happen here. Yes, there are some sad things happen in this book. But I'm not going to give it away.

I will always love the Raven Boys and Blue and the women at 300 Fox Way. I think of them as the Raven Women. I'm so sad to see it's all over though.


Blue didn't quite know how to say it; she didn't know quite what it was. "It. . . just feels like such a waste. Falling in love with all of them." All of them really meant all of them: 300 Fox Way, the boys, Jesse Dittley. For a sensible person, Blue thought that maybe she had a problem with love. In a dangerous voice, she added, "Don't say, 'it's good life experience.' Do not."

Something is not right in the world they have created. There is something evil going on, more so than they thought. Things are not what they seem...were they ever? There is death, there is life, there is nothing.

But something is trying to take down Cabeswater. And Cabeswater is not what it seems either.



Cabeswater had taken so long to come to his aid. Only a few weeks before, a heap of roofing tiles had fallen on top of him, and Cabeswater had swept instantaneously to save him. If that had happened today, he would have been dead.
The forest whispered at him in its language that was equal part pictures and words, and it made him understand why it had been so slow to come to him.
Something had been attacking them both.

These books have been a wonderful journey for me. I loved them so much and yet at times I didn't understand what was going on but I still loved them. Bizarre... I know. I am that way I guess.

I think that anyone that hasn't read these books to give them a try. You may not love them but that's okay, at least you tried. I'm so glad one of my goodreads friends bought me the first book for Christmas or who knows how long it would have taken me to get to meet these wonderful characters.

Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,821 followers
May 5, 2016
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.

I am fairly certain there will never be anything quite like this series.

The story. The mystery. The magic. The characters. The romance. The friendship . *clutches heart*

There are books I like. There are books I love. And then there’s The Raven Cycle. Words always escape me when I try to explain it, because I feel like no description can fathom how beautiful and alive these books are.

And when I say “alive,” I mean that everything about it feels so real to me. The places. I feel like I could step into anywhere in these books––300 Fox Way, Monmouth Manufacturing, the Barns, Cabeswater––and somehow I would know my way around (well … maybe not in Cabeswater, but you know what I mean). The characters. I literally feel like I know them. Each one is so unique, flawed, and lovable. And the relationships between them, whether they’re romantic or platonic, are so complex and beautiful.

It’s all so incredibly vivid and enchanting. And I’ve really, truly never read anything like it. Honestly I think I can say that, in a way, no story has ever felt so real to me. If any book/series can make me believe in magic, it’s this one.

Now, The Raven King.

He was a king. This was the year he was going to die.

Oh, how I dreaded this book. How I longed for it.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue had ended on such a cruel cliffhanger, and I was desperate to know what would happen next. Then of course, the release date of The Raven King was delayed … what, three times? Every time I found out the date had been pushed back further, I died a little on the inside. It was unbearable.

But at last, the day came! Unfortunately there was a delay of my shipment from Amazon, but I decided to just go ahead and buy the Kindle edition because I could not wait one more day. When I finally started to read it, it felt so surreal. Like, is this actually happening? Is this the real book and not a dream? I’d gotten so used to waiting and waiting for it, I could hardly believe it.

As much as I wanted to make the book last, I just could not put it down. Sooo, I finished it within 24 hours. And just, wow. Wow. This book was breathtaking. It was emotional, terrifying, and just … gorgeous. Gorgeous, I say!

When I first finished it, I wasn’t even sure what to think. But the more I’ve processed it and discussed it with friends, the more and more I love it. This book is important to me in so many ways, and I adore it for so many reasons.

Ever since I finished it, I’ve been writing down all my thoughts/feelings about it in a document on my computer. It’s extremely long and rambling, and it took me a whole week to write it, but I’m going to try to fashion this into a (somewhat) coherent review.

So, here we go.

A WARNING: DON’T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS. Sorry, but I feel like I can’t fully express my thoughts on this book without giving away … pretty much everything. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, do not read the rest of this review. This has been a PSA.


Ahh, where to begin.

First of all, I think this was the scariest book of the series––firstly because I was so scared for the characters, but also it had some of the most disturbing scenes/imagery:

• Noah getting possessed by the demon and trying to gauge Blue’s eyes out

• Adam getting possessed by the demon and not being able to control his eyes/hands (and trying to kill Ronan––nooooo!)

• Ronan almost getting “unmade”

• Geez there was a really high body count in this book: Aurora, Neeve, Greenmantle, Piper, Gansey (sort of??). And they all died in such awful ways (well except Gansey, if we’re counting him).

• Just … the demon. *shudders* And Cabeswater getting so corrupted.

There were so many haunting parts that I will not soon forget.

But what’s even more unforgettable is the friendship. *throws sparkles* … Okay, but really, I love the friendships in this series so much. They’re all so dedicated to each other, and it fills my heart with rainbows.

And a special shout-out to Ronan and Blue––oh my gosh, these two are the BEST BROS.

Exhibit A:

“… 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.

Exhibit B:

”Look, Sargent,” Ronan retorted. “I was gonna dream you some eye cream last night since clearly modern medicine’s doing jack shit for you, but I nearly had my ass handed to me by a death snake from the fourth circle of dream hell, so you’re welcome.”

Blue looked appropriately touched. “Ah, thanks, man.”

“No problem, bro.”

And can we just stop for a second and talk about how the world was like literally ending, and Ronan went out of his way to find magical eye cream for Blue’s injured eye?? Seriously, Ronan Lynch is too good for this world, too pure. (Not to mention, at the beginning of the book he was also still trying to find some kind of cure/protection for Gansey. *ugly sobbing*)

I also really love the friendship between Blue and Noah. I’ve always loved the friendship between these two, and in this book it was particularly bittersweet.

Blue didn’t care that he––it––Noah––was strange and decaying and frightening. She knew that he––it––Noah––was strange and decayed and frightened, and she knew that she loved him anyway.

She hugged it. Him. Noah. She didn’t care if he wasn’t quite human anymore. She would keep calling whatever this was
Noah for as long as it wanted to be called Noah. And she was glad that he could read her thoughts in that moment, because she wanted him to know how thoroughly she believed that.


Oh and speaking of ugly-crying …


Brace yourselves for some next-level fangirling. I’m sorry, so sorry. I’m not, though.

Well, let’s start with Blue and Gansey:

They are just so cute together. (I especially loved the toga party scene!!) And I was glad they finally told everyone about their relationship––even though it was already super obvious, but whatever. (I also liked when they held hands and Ronan just said “Gross.” Just … omg, Ronan.)

And ah yes the kiss, that deadly kiss.

He had dreamt of it often enough, and here it was, willed into life. In another world, it would just be this: a girl softly pressing her lips to a boy’s. But in this one, Gansey felt the effects of it at once. Blue, a mirror, an amplifier, a strange half-tree soul with ley line magic running through her. And Gansey, restored once by the ley line’s power, given a ley line heart, another kind of mirror. And when they were pointed at each other, the weaker one gave.


Okay but honestly, wow what a sadly beautiful passage. Four whole books led up to this moment, and it was so wonderfully written. I just literally couldn’t breathe and neither could Gansey, am I right?

Also I’m glad that these two ultimately got a happy ending, because I wasn’t so sure that was going to happen.

Nowwww moving on to …


*Ah-hem* Okay, REALLY brace yourselves for this, because I have a hell of a lot to say. And I’m not sure how to put all my emotions into words, so here are just some of my absolute favorite Pynch moments:

• Adam making Ronan’s shitty music play in Cabeswater just to make Ronan laugh.

Adam smiled cheerily. Ronan would start wars and burn cities for that true smile, elastic and amiable. MY HEART.

• THE KISSES. OH MY, THE KISSES. When Ronan kissed Adam, I had to like … stop for a second because I was like “OH MY GOD, THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.” And uggh just what a beautiful scene in every way.

Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly see yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. … He had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him.

That was this kiss.


Okay, but what’s even more beautiful than that first kiss is the second kiss:

When Adam kissed him, it was every mile per hour Ronan had ever gone over the speed limit. It was every window-down, goose-bumps-on-skin, teeth-chattering-cold night drive. It was Adam’s ribs under Ronan’s hands and Adam’s mouth on his mouth, again and again and again. It was stubble on lips and Ronan having to stop, to get his breath, to restart his heart. They were both hungry animals, but Adam had been starving for longer.

OH MY GOD you should’ve seen my dumb face when I was reading this part. Literally I had to keep my hand over my mouth because I was smiling so hard I felt like my smile might fly off my face or something. I had goddam tears in my eyes. UGGGGH.

I just … *takes a deep breath* Oh man. I’ve been shipping these two since the second book, but I wasn’t sure it would actually happen. But it did, it did, and I haven’t stopped smiling about it for a whole week now. AAAH.

But wait, there’s more!

When he opened his eyes, he saw that Ronan was looking at him, as he had been looking at him for months. Adam looked back, as he had been looking back for months.


• Gansey finding out and just telling Adam not to hurt Ronan like the protective Mom Friend™ that he is.

• Chainsaw sitting on Adam’s shoulder!!!!!!!

• The part where Adam is possessed and tries to kill Ronan, and Ronan is literally more willing to let Adam kill him than to hurt Adam in defense:The choice was death or hurting Adam, which wasn’t much of a choice at all.” I’M NOT CRYING, I JUST … HAVE A BRICK IN MY EYE. *cries*

• Adam driving Ronan’s car and listening to Ronan’s music. Adam’s shitty dad mockingly being like “I see you’re driving your boyfriend’s car!!” and Adam not denying it.

• Ronan and Adam adopting a small goat child???? Omfg they are actual dads

All right, I could go on and on but I will shut up now. Basically, I AM SO HAPPY FOR THESE PRECIOUS CHILDREN (can you tell?). They’ve been through so much and they deserve it, holy shit. It just fills me with joy to see these two so happy and in love. UGH.

Plus, A) there’s no bullshit Tragic Gay Ending™ (THANK YOU JESUS), and B) Adam is a canon bisexual and honestly that means so much to me. And just in general, these two mean so much to me. *collapses*

• Oh and one last thing about the romance in this book/series in general: I like that within the romances, there’s so much focus on friendship. That is, part of why I love these pairings is that they care about each other as friends as well as in a romantic way. For example:

[Blue] just wanted to keep being best friends with Gansey forever, and maybe one day also have carnal knowledge of him.

I mean, obviously that’s meant to be funny––but I think it’s also an important mentality that I feel is uncommon: that is, that friendship is a part of romance and they’re not mutually exclusive?? I’m not sure how to put it into words, but hopefully I’m making sense.

Well anyway, some other things I wanted to talk about …


First of all, I thought it was fitting that Glendower was buried under the mansion where Gansey died (and came back to life). So ~symbolic~ but also not what I expected.

And … Glendower was dead the whole time. Wow. Also not what I expected, and yet it weirdly made sense. I feel like all the characters had to find something in themselves to stop the demon, and it would’ve been a huge cop-out if Glendower had just killed the demon and saved Gansey.

In a way it was anti-climatic, but it was in a good way?? That is, I expected when they found Glendower it would be like, magical rays of light shooting out everywhere, and some great bit powerful being rising up from the grave or whatever. But when he was just a dead body it felt … right, somehow. Like, oh. They actually didn’t need him all along.

It was really sad how Gansey broke down crying afterwards. I hated to see him so crushed and heartbroken. But, I also think he needed to see that Glendower was dead. He needed to see that he could still be himself without Glendower, and that he’s capable of facing his fears by himself.

Ronan dreamt Cabeswater

WHAT. Another thing that I did not see coming. Yet when I found out I was like, “… Oh, that makes sense.” Which is basically exactly what Gansey thinks:

… Gansey was slightly confused. He felt as if he was being told a secret that he’d already been told before. He couldn’t tell if this was because Cabeswater itself had possibly already whispered this truth to them on one of their walks there, or if it was merely that the weight of evidence was already so conclusive that his subconscious had accepted ownership of the secret before the parcel had been officially delivered.

Haha yup, that about sums it up.

But also the more I think about it, there were SO many signs that pointed to this. And also it gives me a lot of feelings. Because like, as I’ve seen some people point out, Cabeswater:

- is bound to Adam
- will do whatever Gansey asks it to
- and is really nice to Blue

So basically Cabeswater IS Ronan and I’m crying again

Blue is a tree … person?????

Well … also not a twist I saw coming, and I’m still not entirely sure what to think of it. Obviously I always knew there was something special about Blue, this just wasn’t what I thought it would be. I’ll have to go back and re-read the other books eventually, but I’ve seen some people say that there was foreshadowing to this in the earlier books, so … *shrugs* Also I think it’s kind of hilarious.

The one thing I don’t get is how Blue can like telepathically communicate with Gansey with her magic tree powers?? I don’t really understand. But, okay.

Gansey’s death/rebirth

I mentally prepared myself for this terrible moment for months and months, and I still did not feel ready for it. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry when it happened. I just felt kind of numb. But also like, “Lol okay so he’s going to come back to life, right? RIGHT???”

And ugh Ronan’s reaction killed me the most:

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 also liked that it turned out the voice Gansey heard was Noah’s and not Glendower’s. Whoa.

But anyway.

As for Gansey coming back to life: well, I have somewhat conflicted feelings. I always knew that I was going to be mildly pissed off about whatever the outcome was. So part of me is like “that’s kinda lame” since you know, the whole series kind of revolved around him dying at the end. But then again, I really like that they all had to craft a new Gansey out of Cabeswater/themselves––because symbolically, that’s really nice, how he ends up being made up of pieces of all of his friends. And I feel like that’s what the book/series is really about. And also Gansey gets to live, so YAY!

Just … the ending in general

The more I think about it, the more I love the ending. At first I was kind of like, “That’s it?” but I think that was just the shock of it being over forever. Now that I’ve had time to process it, it all feels right. It’s fittingly bittersweet. While it’s happy in some aspects, it’s not perfect. Blue meets her father and learns who he is, but he’s incredibly distant. They find Glendower, but he’s dead. Gansey comes back to life, but he’s not exactly the same person. Noah doesn’t get to stay forever. Adam confronts his parents but he doesn’t really forgive them. It wouldn’t have felt as believable if everything had been tied up in a neat bow, so I’m glad that not everything was perfect in the end. And yet, it was still very hopeful.

Some closing miscellaneous thoughts:

• Really my only big criticism is that I wish there’d been more Noah, or at least that he’d gotten more acknowledgment. I understand he was fading away and whatnot, I just wish there’d been a little more closure with him and the other characters. I liked that one really sweet scene between him and Blue, but otherwise I felt like at the end they were all like, “Noah who??” At the very least I wish we’d gotten to see how everyone felt about him being gone, but oh well.
I liked Henry Cheng. For some reason I spent the whole book thinking he would turn out to be evil or something and I really hoped he wouldn’t, but he didn’t. So. I’m glad about that. He was pretty cool.
• Okay don’t ask me why, but for some reason I really thought Chainsaw was going to die??? So I’m happy she didn’t! :)
I’m also happy Ronan and Declan made up. It was really sweet.

The final word:


Thank you, Maggie Stiefvater. I don’t know what else to say.

That’s all there is. ;)
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
June 3, 2018
im here. at the end. i finally made it. so everyone make way for the raven king.

but beyond that, i dont have much to add. as desperate as i am to say this made my life complete, im only left feeling just a little bit underwhelmed. i dont think it helped that the ending confused me beyond belief. but where the plot became lost for me, the characters totally made up for it. they were so well developed and portrayed and i loved their interactions, especially adam. he was my main motivating factor for finishing this series. i dont regret the time spent on these books, i just really wish it hadnt ended on such a meh feeling for me. oh well!

3 stars
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
422 reviews1,630 followers
November 20, 2019
4.5 Stars

Overview: Re-Read

This time around I enjoyed Gansey and Blue's stories more? Their development is more subtle than Adam and Ronan's, but it is there.

This leaves a LOT of questions? There's a character in mortal danger, the chapter ends in a cliffhanger and then The Big Thing ™ happens somewhere else and we NEVER go back to see what happened to that character? I'm assuming it's all good?

^Stuff like that is the only reason this isn't 5 stars. Still has some amazing, beautiful scenes that are my favorite in the series. JUST STILL SO MANY QUESTIONS



First Read:

4 Stars

Ugh. What am I supposed to do with my life now?????

This is really hard to rate, because parts of it were fantastic. Some of the characters and plots achieve perfect closure and their development was everything I hoped for and more.

But some things still feel really unresolved? And it feels like some character storylines are oddly unfinished?

“Need was Adam’s baseline, his resting pulse. Love was a privilege. Adam was privileged; he did not want to give it up. He wanted to remember again and again how it felt.”

- It’s a well-established fact he’s my favorite, but in case you couldn’t tell—HE’S MY FAVORITE AND I LOVE HIM A LOT.

- Has a perfect, well-developed character-arc with fantastic resolution.

- Seriously. I’m not just saying it because he’s my favorite (which he is) or because I love him a lot (which I do) but because it's actually exceptionally well done. Adam’s development can be easily traced throughout the series.

- It's most easily trackable in his relationship with his family and sense of self-worth. He’s still an incredibly flawed, well-rounded character, and it was great seeing him discover his agency.

“Dreamers are to be classified as weapons.
Ronan already knew he was a weapon ; but he was trying to make up for it.”

- Broke.me.

- Seriously. When Ronan cries, I cry.

- I still ship it so hard omfg.

- His overall development was so gradual and perfectly timed. And it really cultivates into this really beautiful story and character.

- Ronan’s relationship with Cabeswater is awesome.

“I don't care to be pretty," Blue shot back hotly, "I care to look on the outside like I look on the inside.”

- There wasn’t really any development? She’s still kinda the same Blue she was in the first book? Which I guess isn’t a bad thing. It just feels kinda redundant.

- I honestly couldn’t care less about Blue’s heritage. It didn’t impact the plot or really tell me anything I didn't know... and it all felt really rushed?

- I will say I like how her character ends up. She’s always had this sort of wanderlust and I think her ‘end’ destination reflects that. It also makes previous conversations more poignant and meaningful. But it still didn’t feel like enough?

“Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”

- …Is that all?

- His ‘big moment’ felt rushed. What there was of it was very beautiful, but the aftermath was almost nonexistent.

- In fact I just feel kind of let down by his arc overall. There was a lot of talk of greatness and a ton of build-up, and it just felt underwhelming?

- Still just want to grab a beer with him, tbh

'Don't throw it away.'

- I don’t actually have a lot to say about Noah, but there's focus on him as a character instead of a plot device (though there's certainly plot) and I felt like he finally deserved his own thing.

- His ending was super abrupt and never talked about.


- No resolution for any of the women at Fox Way. I guess once they stop being useful, we're just supposed to forget them?

- No resolution for The Gray man. I mean, maybe? Kinda? But I’m still not really sure what happened to him.

- It’s not that I hated Henry. It’s just that he was completely irrelevant and I’m not sure why he existed at all. (actually I might have hated him a little)

- This made me feel for Declan when I thought I hated him. All these Lynch brothers are so much more than their first impressions.

- What the frick even happens to Gwenlillian and Artemus?

- Okay so nobody throw things at me, but I don’t see the point in Orphan Girl? Why does she exist? Why is she here? Is she even supposed to mean anything? It just all felt so random and didn’t really impact the overall plot.

In Conclusion:

Looking back on this, it seems like I listed a lot of negative and it doesn't feel like an accurate representation of this series. So I just want to clarify, while this was my least favorite of the series, the series itself is crazy good.

This book had several great parts, and the parts I enjoyed were exceptional. Almost completely makes up for the rest and I wish I could rate this higher.
Profile Image for Chantal .
337 reviews825 followers
August 3, 2016
As I’m writing this, I am actually physically trembling. I don’t think I’ve ever been this emotional about any book ever (not even the last Harry Potter book). That is how much I loved The Raven King.
"At the end of the Raven Cycle, I want readers … to want. I don’t want them to be able to say what it is they want, though — I want it to be a bigger thing than words. I hope they get to the end and don’t know what to do for the rest of the day. I hope they feel unsettled and needing of something more. I want messages that say, “Stiefvater, please, I just want … ” and then silence. They don’t know what they want. They just want.

Really, it can no longer be surprising that Maggie Stiefvater, the queen of words, would be better able to describe my feelings about the Raven Cycle than I can. Because this description is literally me right now. I cannot even try to express my feelings on this book or the series as a whole. Where would I start? What would I say? What if I say something wrong because I missed a detail or interpreted a message differently? I know I’m a reviewer and I love writing reviews so much but sometimes words fail me. This is one of those times.

This is not a review. It is a gathering of different thoughts, a Pinterest board of random contents of my brain, a playlist of feelings. If you do not want to read my inner ramblings, I completely understand. Just know this: The Raven Cycle is exceptional. It’s beautiful and thoughtful and will give you SO MANY FEELINGS. Admittedly, it is not a series for everyone. If you’re a reader who reads for the thrill of a fast-paced plot with twists around every corner and have trouble enjoying books that are more meandering and character driven, maybe this series isn’t the best choice. But if you read to fall in love with characters, to experience wonder, to flip to the last page and have the story continue in your mind, then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

I read The Raven Boys when it was first published in 2012. That was way before I started writing reviews, before I discovered Goodreads. Having finished it now I can officially say that it is my number one favourite series. That’s extreme, I know, but there just hasn’t been another that could evoke in me the same emotional response. These books aren’t just stories; they are literary masterpieces. And they are personal to me in a way that I don’t feel about any other book. I know that with every reread I will discover something new, that pieces will click into place I didn’t even know were askew. The messages and characters will stay with me for a very long time, perhaps forever.

In short: I love these characters and their never-ending complexity, I love Maggie’s writing style that is simultaneously odd and familiar (also, her freaking dialogues are ON POINT), I love the setting that came to life in my mind, I love the intricacy of the plot with its foreshadowing and miniscule pieces falling into place, I love the character development that is some of the best I’ve ever seen, I love that this series is so unique and not afraid to be different. Oh, and it goes without saying that: ULTIMATE SQUADGOALS.

The Raven King contains many of my favourite scenes of both the series and all books in general (these are just a few):

I feel like going into more detail would just end nowhere, so instead I’ve decided to address some of the issues my GR friends (who are all phenomenal reviewers) had with the series. Just a disclaimer: this is by NO MEANS a criticism of them. Every issue they brought up is 100% justified.

There is so much more to say but this review is already much too long. Please, PLEASE discuss with me in the comments (just include spoiler tags). I need to talk about this series to everyone.

Overall, I'm not giving The Raven King five stars because I think the book is flawless. I'm giving it five stars because despite its flaws, I still consider it one of my best reads of 2016 and found it too good to give it anything lower.

Depending on where you begin the story, it was about a little book called The Raven Boys.
Profile Image for Jess.
446 reviews595 followers
April 26, 2016
I'm absolute TRC trash I'm not going to even deny it anymore. Best fucking series I have ever read. The end. FULL REVIEW TO COME.

The most metaphorically vividly decadent series that I have ever read. Yes, that is the only horrible sentence I can come up with to encapsulate my brimming feelings, as of right now. Stiefvater makes words tangible and they just reach straight into me and squeeze whatever life I have out. A delectable and palpable treat for the mind.

And god, the Fisker love is real. Great taste in cars.

(This below was the Jess that lived prior to TRK)
The only thing keeping my heart together, right now, is the fact that Richard Gansey III still lives and breathes. I'm rather fond of my heart. Don't break it, Stiefvater.

Profile Image for Unknown Reviews.
45 reviews118 followers
September 27, 2020
(After an in depth discussion with Henny, I need to bring this down to three stars. You shouldn't have so little conclusion for so many characters/ plots because they'll be in your future series or you just want to be mysterious.)

The Raven King and I had a troubled relationship. That is, I left it lying in the corner of my bedroom for about a week, unable to contemplate that this series would finally be over once I picked it up. But eventually curiosity got the better of me and now here I am, infinitely sad while trying to write my way into a review.

The Raven King centres on our final outing with The Raven Boys – Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Blue and Noah, as their magical world of Cabeswater is slowly being destroyed by an unrelenting demon and the days counting down to Gansey’s death are getting shorter and shorter.

First of all. Was this book perfect? No. I’d rank it either third or last of the whole series. But as far as things go, I don’t believe the attraction of this series has ever been its plot, as much as the characters (obligatory ranking of characters based on importance to the book)

This is Gansey’s book, the daredevil, all-knowing, sweater vest enthusiast and our gang’s leader. I was pleased how Gansey’s arc ran along the lines I wanted it to. After all, he’s been spending years obsessing over finding a long lost king while leaving the rest of the world behind. Through each book he’s becomes less and less enamoured over his magical search, seeing him as more of an outsider to the magical world that all his friends are tied to. Gansey really does have a fantastic internal monologue, as well as great characterisation.

I suppose that Gansey’s main storyline in this book is that he is going to die soon. But there’s nothing much he can do either than wait and reflect. The search for Glendower has tended to take a backseat in every book since the first and it’s no different here. So while I’m glad I’ve gotten to see such a unique and original character unshelled, action wise, I wish we’d gotten more for him in this book since he was at his strongest towards the end.

In the end, it was such a simple, small thing. He had felt flashes of it before in his life, the absolute certainty. But the truth was that he’d kept walking away from it. It was a far more terrifying idea to imagine how much control he really had over how his life turned out. Easier to believe he was a gallant ship tossed by fate than to captain it himself.

Both Ronan and Adam are tied in terms of importance and how much I love them.

Similar to Gansey, Ronan has just evolved into such a fantastic, loveable character. He’s so far from the tough, edgy boy of the first book. His relationships with everyone in this book are just on peak.

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.

Ronan and Blue were just such a great duo.

Ronan possibly goes through the most trauma in this book, but it is compensated with the joy of his relationships. “The twist” if you want to call it that, felt pretty unsurprising to me, I don’t know why. I think some part of me was a little unsatisfied with it, but it made sense for where the book was going. Besides that, everything for Ronan was tied up so neatly. His abilities, his familial relationships, Adam :)

Mentioning Adam, he was always the character I understood and felt for the most. By far, he had the most fulfilling character arc, growing from a boy trying to escape his abusive family into a good life, to a magician whose self-assurance stems from himself and his friends. I was just so proud seeing how he evolved and he undoubtedly had some of the darker moments in this book, as did Ronan. His last couple of pages were perfection. Also Pynch :) Pynch get its own star.

Blue once again, I felt fell to the sidelines. Along with Adam, she always had the contrast of her poverty against the Raven Boys wealth and it’s dug in a little here. The fact that after school, she probably won’t be able to travel the world as she wants to. But overall, Blue is fine in this book. Sometimes I do feel like she suffers from criticising others to a fault; it’s a flaw never seen to or explored more and it can get overbearing. Still, she has many tender and warm moments in this book and I couldn’t get enough of them. One thing I want to add though is she’s given this huge reveal and it’s kind of…brushed over after one chapter? It’s just explained, she does it and everyone’s like “okay, yeah, let’s not explore that a little further.” (this unfortunate “brushing over” is not a once-off occurrence. It’s the bane of this book)

What do I think of Gansey and Blue? I mean, I prefer Pynch. The issue with Blansey/Glue (UGH. I still don’t know the ship name) is they don’t really talk as much as they gaze at each other or listen to the sounds of each other’s voices and personify these things in a beautiful sentence. I suppose the substance isn’t there, against Pynch who had their admiration seeped in through clues and conversation. Pynch is more naturally built up than Bluesey (I just googled it, that’s what the author called it. Don’t know if it’s legit or not, but let’s roll with it.) who lack meaningful conversations in the final book compared to the first three. I don’t know why but the best part of romantic relationships for me tend to be at the end, when you can feel the weight of the love like a paperweight in your hand. However with Pynch, you always feel the intensity of their relationship and that’s why it wins out for me. Plus, they’re two soft boys who comfort each other frequently and I love it.


(Takes a breath)

Is this where I get critiquey?

Let’s talk about Henry Cheng

I do like Henry as a character. He has funny moments like when he drives to Blue’s school and give her the chance to pretend he’s her ex and yell at him. (It’s Blue way of showing how she stands up to elitists in front of her whole school. Then Gansey picks her up and she’s aware she’s lost a bit of that message.) He feels like a quirkier, weirder version of Gansey or Noah, but I’m uncomfortable to how he was forced in.

Henry was introduced in the third book, so it’s not like he’s pulled out of nowhere. Still, a lot of people believe his Asian heritage wasn’t written very well and he was put in so Maggie could make a mostly white cast more diverse. I’ll stay out of how his background was written since I don’t believe I can comment properly on it, though I will say his constant mentions of being Korean seemed to be a reminder from Maggie that she has a diverse cast rather than being simply an extension of his character.

My biggest issue with Henry? If you’ve read IT by Stephen King, you’ll come across a passage where the main seven meet for the first time and the narrator (I think it’s Bill at that stage?) says how right it feels, something just clicks together as a group. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle and there will never be another bond like it. Now, imagine while they’re fighting in the midst of fighting Pennywise a few weeks in, an eighth member joins The Losers Club. Since we didn’t get a thorough intro of him, his character arc and development are a bit murkier. Bill retracts his statement and says now the group is complete, throwing the whole seven being unique and mystical thing in the bin. It takes away from the power and strength of their original bond, the bond that felt so right, it had to be supernatural.

Henry is the eighth member of the Losers Club.

I think Maggie should’ve have incorporated him in and, hey, maybe he would’ve become a Raven Boy in time. But saying he fits perfectly straight away, despite having a minimal amount of time with each character to bond or develop feels very untrue. Especially since the book thrives on the power of friendship and bonds built over time.

What’s worse? Henry replaces Noah. Noah is barely in the book,

Maggie did Noah sooooooo dirty. It’s like she forgot he’s a Raven Boy. Remember when I marked him as one of my favourites in a review, even though he was barely in the book? I just liked him because of his general weirdness? Yeah, he’s in maybe four chapters in this book? If he was in anymore, I can barely remember which stands to a testament of how much he was used.

Now there’s a sneaky little revelation regarding Noah and the plot which I think was done pretty well, even if it disregards other prophecies and foreshadowing. But we’re also told time is circular for Noah. He will continue down the same part forever, a path ridden with pain, confusion and being forgotten by the author. I’m just confused on the ending for Noah in general. I have no idea what happened. And to think Henry replaced Noah, pretty much? I’d be more appreciative of Henry’s inclusion if Noah could’ve been in this book more too.

Seriously, did no editor take a look at this book and think “But Noah’s so nice and weird and creepy. Why is he barely in it?” Cause I sure did.

Okay, my Noah rant is finished, but unfortunately things don’t get much better. I wasn’t really invested in the first two hundred pages of this book.

I enjoyed it in the sense where I love these characters and reading about anything they do, but the plot felt hastily stitched together and I wondered what was the point? Cabeswater being destroyed was the main storyline and I think it was executed well, but the secondary plot and characters were abandoned.

Piper, our villain from the last book, is getting into the business of selling magical artefacts, one of them the demon that is destroying everything. But what do her scenes even add to the book? If you removed them, they’d have no impact on the plot because they come to no relevant conclusion. I’ve never loved the villains of this series (though I had soft spots for Piper and Kavinsky) because they always change and never feel like a viable threat. I wish Stiefvater kept Kavinsky or at least have Piper make an impact on the plot in this book. She and the teens never interact in a first or secondary sense. She may as well not be there. I think Maggie wanted a subplot but she may as well left have left it out considering the lack of effect it actually had. Maybe it’s a set-up for a future book? I don’t know, it just seemed incredibly filler.

I also stand by my controversial statement from Lily Blue, Blue Lily. The overall plot is not complex. I said in my review I couldn’t judge how much she planned out until I finished this book. Well, now it’s finished and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Biggest Problems with the Plot
• The big reveal, which may have disappointed other readers didn’t disappoint me, except the fact it disregards the prophecy of “three sleepers.” The Glendower storyline has always been secondary, but I do think she must have changed her plan somewhere along the way.
• The ending felt really rushed (yet it also saved the book for me). I was fairly pleased until I dug into some other reviews that question the legitimacy of the ending. Little seems to be of consequence. The big sacrifices ended up not being that sacrificial after all. Someone should’ve died in this book, I think. In the end, the stakes felt big but actually weren’t. I do like the happy ending, but it did feel a bit anticlimactic against all the ominous foreshadowing we were given.
• So, Blue’s vision in the first book was true, but Adam’s wasn’t really? Why? And that’s how I think the plot changed again somewhere along the way (and the vision seemed pretty intriguing too)
• The epilogue should’ve been much longer. We get no answers on several people and subplots? I actually noticed everyone was packaged off early in the book so their endings were sort of wrapped up. Now, I think all of these unanswered questions were because Maggie will explore them in future books, but it felt like pieces of The Raven King were missing. Considering I didn’t think the first two hundred pages to be that relevant, I don’t know why she couldn’t cut some chapters out in favour of others. Also, she’s focusing on Ronan’s trilogy now, so if answers will come later, they won’t come for a long time and that makes me a bit sad. Maybe she just wants to leave things open ended, but I think there was a bit too much here that could’ve been answered.
•What Stievfater did in The Raven King was she gave characters who weren’t explored before a chapter of their own to tell us their story and motivation. It was all exposition, but at least it was nice-sounding exposition I guess?
•I’m still kind of indifferent to Gwenillan, Orphan Girl and Mr Gray. The former two annoy me due to how confusing they are, and Mr Gray, I’ve never clicked with.

And despite all these issues, I still adore this series

Yes, I know, most of this has been a rant. Overall, the plot for the whole series has been maybe a 2.5 or 3 out of five. Yet everything else has soared beyond expectations I even predicted.

I guess the power of the Raven Cycle is it doesn’t feel like a book series to me. It feels like a grand, majestic journey that I’ve been allowed to tag along on. Some people enjoyed the start and disliked the end of this book, yet in the last eighty pages, I felt like I was riding a massive wave that brought me further and further into something magical. That feeling has happened in every book, bar Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and three out of four books are pretty impressive. The writing and the characters make this compulsive reading and I’ve never found anything quite like it. The writing here gets gross, creepy, beautiful, beyond weird and I still loved it. And these characters…It’s rare to find fictional creations that evoke such emotions in you.

I’m beyond sad it’s over and I’m grateful I got to have it, even for a short while.

So this is my first farewell to the women at 300 Fox Way.

To magical forests.

To Ronan, Kavinsky and the other dreamers who bring magic to life.

To funny, weird details.

To friendships that may as well be magical.

And to my Raven Boys/ Girl (I’ll let you in on this too, Henry Cheng)

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.

And the best part? It’s not even finished yet :)

By the way, my ranking of the series goes in the order of:
(1) The Dream Thieves
(2) The Raven Boys
(3) The Raven King
(4) Lily Blue, Blue Lily
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,073 followers
February 10, 2018
“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.”

Exactly how I felt while reading the final instalment of The Raven Cycle. I’m so sad that it is over, but my heart feels so full from all the characters and the drama of this series!

As the search for Glendower draws to its final conclusion, Cabeswater is under threat and a demon threatens to destroy the lives of the gang.

“The darkness wasn’t just in the tunnel; it was inside him.”

The darkest of the four books, there were times when I felt these characters spoke to my soul. I could relate to their fears and their love for each other.

“It was the gnawing suspicion that you were leavable, that you were too much trouble, that you were better off dead.”

Blue, Gansey, Noah, Ronan and Adam feel like family, and I loved watching them grow, and their struggles felt like my own struggles. There are plenty of villains, and magic and wonderfulness!

“Sometimes it wasn’t about saving yourself, it was about holding out for long enough until someone else could save you.”

Maggie’s writing style is phenomenal, her descriptions and characterisations unlike anything I’ve ever read! Thank goodness there is more to come from her or I don’t know how I’d cope!

“If you can’t be unafraid, Henry said, be afraid and happy.”
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,309 followers
November 7, 2019
Reread update 11/7/19:
Managed to get through without crying this time??? Somehow?? Idk probably just because I was hella exhausted from rereading the series in 48 hours. ANYWAY still love it.

Update 10/16/17:

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I absolutely adore this conclusion and I enjoyed it even more the second time. I think the stakes are high and it has some of the most memorable quotes of the entire series, not to mention both romantic relationships are superb. I could go on and on about this one, and I’m so glad I reread it.

Original review 8/10/17:
I'm like 95% sure I'm dead soooooooo

This was a perfect conclusion. I can't make words right now. So good.
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