The Raven King is the fourth and final book of The Raven Cycle, and this review contains minor spoilers for the first four books. I have full reviews for The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue.
THE RAVEN KING SYNOPSIS
Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.
For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.
Oh man, this book… This book was everything. Okay, it wasn’t what I had expected but it was so wonderfully written and wrapped up the series so beautifully that I literally have no words right now.
There were so many things that I loved about this series finale but, of course, my favourite aspect was the characters. It’s been a few months since I read the first three books of the series and reading this book, I felt like I had never left the series and the characters. As with the previous three books, they were so vivid in my mind and I felt like I was with them and going through the same experiences that they were going through. I haven’t always liked Adam, and I haven’t always loved Ronan, but in this book, I just loved them all so much! Of course, Gansey will always be one of my favourite characters of all time, but Blue, Adam and Ronan really made this book brilliant and heartbreaking and mindblowing. I also love how resourceful Maggie Stiefvater is with her characters. They all had a role to play in this book, even Noah and other side characters like Mr Gray and the Orphan Girl. It was just impossible not to feel like I was on a journey with all of these characters. I was a little bit skeptical about the addition of Henry in this book. His was the only character that felt slightly unnecessary but I really enjoyed his role in the book and how he fit into the story.
And of course I loved the relationships between the characters. Blue and Gansey’s relationship is probably one of my favourites because of how subtle but beautiful it is. And what we got of their romance in this novel certainly didn’t disappoint. I also really enjoyed Adam and Ronan’s relationship in this book and how it just wasn’t a big deal. I loved how Adam just embraced his feelings and went with it. It was just a beautiful relationship. The friendships in this book were also wonderful. We saw it in the first three books, but this book really just drives home how much the boys care about each other and how much they’d do for each other.
The pacing of this book is quite slow, but it wasn’t as slow as The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. There’s actually quite a lot that happens in this book but they’re presented to us in little bits that don’t really all come together until the very end. It’s kind of slow-moving in that sense but builds and builds until it reaches the climax at the end. I loved everything that happened in this book. It was so intense and full of twists and turns. I never felt like I knew what was going to happen next and I was just surprised so many times as I read the book. Maggie Stiefvater definitely loves to tease and torture us, even in the prologue! The writing, as always, was beautiful and lyrical and I could have read this book forever.
It was a far more terrifying idea to imagine how much control he really had over how his life turned out. Easier to believe that he was a gallant ship tossed to fate than to captain it himself.
He would steer it now, and if there were rocks near shore, so be it.
The Raven King is definitely a creepy and paranormal book. If you thought the first three books were creepy, this novel takes it to a whole new level. It was so atmospheric but also terrifying at times. There was ancient magic, blood, gore, skeletons and a demon, and there were definitely times when I thought “how am I going to sleep tonight?” Besides being really creepy, it also had a really magical tone that I highly enjoyed. There were lots of weird things going on but I found myself just going with it and really enjoying the experience.
This is by no means a perfect book but I couldn’t really have asked for more from this series finale. I was disappointed with how some things turned out, especially because there was such a big build up before this novel came out, but I’m so happy and in love with how it all ended that I don’t really even care.