Sue (Hollywood News Source)'s Reviews > The Raven King

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
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did not like it

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.
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Reading Progress

February 23, 2014 – Shelved
April 27, 2016 – Started Reading
April 28, 2016 –
page 275
62.64% "I thought I am over this phase, but The Raven King dragged me back to The Raven Cycle's vortex. Hah. I'm sure, Stiefvater is cackling in delight."
April 29, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

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message 1: by Sana (new) - added it

Sana I think it'd just make it more painful.

message 2: by Sue (new) - rated it 1 star

Sue (Hollywood News Source) Sana wrote: "I think it'd just make it more painful. "

Truly, I dont think so there's any way we could prep ourselves for this situation.

Aubrey Come on guys! Cheer up! 1 she said he's going down,but never mentioned if he were staying down! This is Gansey, he did it once, he can do it again! 2 (spoilers if youre trying to take your time reading)........... There are all those weird dream versions of things, and clear statements that things are happening many times in many ways in all in the same time, like when Adam sees that car at the tollbooth... All I'm saying is maybe it's not the Gansey we love that dies! I refuse to believe that if he dies, he's staying dead. Blue will use up her damning kiss and it will work out. Besides, do you think Blue and Adam see a very different version of Ganseys death? She kisses it out of him, and Adam saw a bloody mess of his death, no? Something fishy... unless I misread.

message 4: by Vanessa (new) - added it

Vanessa She's killing my soul.

Breanne Yes, that isexactly what I want you to do.
I think we should really focus on the fact that she said PROMISE not guarantee. :) Because as the books have said, promises can be broken. :)
But if Gansey dies I will become broken and my heart will not be okay.

Linh Pham You guys have sparked hope in my poor heart that desperates need a happy ending with Gansey alive. ; ______ ;

message 7: by Akuma (new) - added it

Akuma Ashley I really thing shes playing with us. Yes I know hes gonna die and I wanna know desperately how, but yes my poor heart will break. I think that hell die then come back to them maybe even through cabeswater. Because everything would fall apart if he stayed dead. He thinks that they can live without them but without him the others would surely lose all hope in magic.

message 8: by Joanna (new) - added it

Joanna  Lea I Dont think i will be okay after this book.

Georgia Low Yes we are asking you to break your promise... please break your promise... I don't want to see how gansey dies...

message 10: by Joanna (new) - added it

Joanna  Lea or she could pull a Harry potter on us....

message 11: by Claire Sykes (new) - added it

Claire Sykes Like Literally, since Gansey is Gansey, you will pour your eyes out when he dies, but my hope is that Glendower's favor isn't used up when Gansey dies (if you know what I mean. ;))

message 12: by Claire Sykes (new) - added it


message 13: by Beni (new)

Beni Bee you guys are the coolest reader friends i've ever never met before.... I just finished part 3 and was in need of all these people who understand!

SaraReads❤️ I think it would hurt even more. HE CAN'T DIE.

Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books) Oh man, the first 1-star rating I've seen! Eeeeeeek. *bites fingernails anxiously*

Maria Oh boy. Now I'm scared to start BLLB and this book.

Great review though! :)

Yasmin ✨ High five, this was also my last Stiefvater book. I'm sooo done with her.

message 18: by Sue (new) - rated it 1 star

Sue (Hollywood News Source) Nicole wrote: "Oh man, the first 1-star rating I've seen! Eeeeeeek. *bites fingernails anxiously*"

Hah! Goodluck, maybe you'll like it better than me. Most people do!

message 19: by Sue (new) - rated it 1 star

Sue (Hollywood News Source) Aria wrote: "Oh boy. Now I'm scared to start BLLB and this book.

Great review though! :)"

I wish the best for you Aria. I really want to like it, but at last ;))

message 20: by Sue (new) - rated it 1 star

Sue (Hollywood News Source) Yasmin wrote: "High five, this was also my last Stiefvater book. I'm sooo done with her."

Thank you Yasmin! I saw your review too, I like how you put up everything. Pro: we're doooone with her and this series.

message 21: by Afrika (new) - added it

Afrika Huruman Uhm the All For The Game series started of as manga and the original characters were all Japanese in the beginning so the Yakuza thing was pretty much there all along.She changed the race of the characters (which she despised)when she turned it into books? and hoping to get published before resorting as self-published author when rejected.But the yakuza remained in the plot and yes theyre Japanese.(I never heard yakuza as whites).Also,Henry referred Ronan as evil and soulless in the book all the time (which I dont mind at all,I loved henrys character)but nobody called him out on it.Ronan liked to mimick someone when he's jealous.He mimicked Adam in book 1 and 2.He was just tend to be detailed in the mimicking,accent and all that.Please understand,this doesn't mean as me dissing your review. I delivered this in a politest way possible. I'm not even angry.Also,I'm a Gay male and Asian myself.(I read this series because of the Finally!! some representation in the mainstream thats not queerbaiting)I lived in Asia and my English sucks.I'm not attacking you.Peace.

message 22: by Afrika (new) - added it

Afrika Huruman Also,I don't hate your 1 star.Its ur star.:)

message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wynker I didn't like the 1st book in this series and couldn't bring myself to read the second. You review made me feel like I haven't missed anything. I seriously Wonder, how could this have pass the final edit? Did nobody realize how offensive it was?

Kivuli It truly rubbed me the wrong way and you just explained it perfectly.
She just tarnished their image tbh.
(view spoiler)
I read somewhere that she's gonna write more POC characters in her new series. If you read this Maggie, Please Don't!
Not if you're just gonna use them like this

Nidofito I totally forgot about those parts even though I remember thinking Wtf when I read them. Nice review.

Beckiezra I definitely felt it was out of place. No one has a problem with pynch, we're not going to act like that's anything but ordinary and not even worthy of comment, and meanwhile it's okay to make fun of people of different ethnicities?

Karintha I took the whole Ronan imitating his voice as him teasing Henry for being a nerd. Most of the scenes we get with Henry before TRK are about how he's so concerned with student councils and newsletters and other school-related things that Ronan thinks is a waste of time. So when he mocks him by saying "san serif? More bold, less italic?" I took it as him saying "you're such a nerd only you care about this stuff".
Also as a minority who sometimes feels judged for my diversity, I've felt exactly like Henry in the scene between him and Blue. I too have made a joke or said something about myself or my culture to almost "beat other people to the punch" because if I say it then they can't say it to be assholes and if they say it, I end up the "irrational angry black woman" all day and it sucks.

message 28: by May (new) - rated it 1 star

May This is absolutely what my problems with her portrayal of Henry were!

Rebecca Schumann Greenhough Good lord. This is why PC gets a bad rap. Take a chill pill and go read something else then. I will keep enjoying Maggie's baddassery, thanks.

message 30: by Sue (new) - rated it 1 star

Sue (Hollywood News Source) Rebecca wrote: "Good lord. This is why PC gets a bad rap. Take a chill pill and go read something else then. I will keep enjoying Maggie's baddassery, thanks."

Fuck off.

Monica Uhhh Asians DO make fun of themselves. I thought her portrayal of the Vancouver boys was pretty spot on haha this is coming from someone married to a Korean man, living in Korea, fluent in Korean and Japanese. Trust me, most Asians would not take offense to those jokes. They make them themselves. I could tell she did a lot of research and I thought she made his character complex and unique as well.

message 32: by Olga (new) - rated it 2 stars

Olga so in your opinion characters in a book can't be racist?

Tiffany Olga wrote: "so in your opinion characters in a book can't be racist?"

That's exactly what I thought when I read this. In real life, people make these types of jokes. I thought it made the characters seem more real in a sense.

magicalagenda @Afrika Huruman you're the real MVP

Madison It just felt kinda unfinished, did mr. gray come back? What happened to Matthew, Maura, calla and the other women of fox way, were they able to return home? It just left a lot of unanswered questions

farren I am saying this as a gay man from Asia. It was fine. Ronan Lynch literally makes fun of so many people and I am pretty sure that it has nothing to do with their race. I still do not understand why antis have to make such a massive deal out of it. There is no excusing racism, but considering the area they live in, and how it is pretty much dominated by white people. Accents *are* made fun of. It's the bad truth. I understand that it made you feel bad, because there was nothing great about it. It's your review, but you must also take this into consideration. Ethnic sensitivity is necessary, but I feel like white people always fall short on it somewhere. Thank you for understanding.

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