Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

the-raven-king

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: April 26, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 438
Goodreads || Book Depository

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.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Autumn TBR

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You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t do TBR posts because what I read really depends on my mood. But the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books that are on my Spring TBR (which I’ve changed to Autumn TBR because southern hemisphere), so I thought I’d list a couple of books that I plan to read in the next two months. Most of these books I’ve either preordered, requested or already own copies of, but I’m super excited to get to all of these.

The Goodreads page for each book is linked!

1. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I absolutely loved both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime and I have to get my hands on this as soon as it’s released! Like, you don’t understand how much I need to know what happens next. I’m about to implode from the need.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This is another series finale that I’m super excited for. The Raven Cycle so far has been magnificent and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I’m pretty sure ACOMAF is on everybody’s TBR and wishlists. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was really great and I’m so excited that ACOMAF is inspired by the Hades and Persephone story. I’m slightly iffy about it though because Rhysand is going to get a lot more page time and I don’t know how I feel about him.

4. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

I absolutely love Morgan Matson and everything she’s written. I’ve already heard really good things about The Unexpected Everything and I can’t wait to have it in my hands. It’s going to be fantastic!

5. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn was another 2015 release that I really enjoyed and I have really high hopes for this sequel.

6. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Out of all of Rick Riordan’s books, I’ve only read Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I want to eventually catch up and binge read everything else. Apollo is probably my favourite of the major gods and I’m so excited to read about him as a mortal.

7. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

I’ve had the first four books of the Heroes of Olympus on my shelves for a few months now but I still haven’t read them because I want to marathon the whole series. I have the US paperbacks of the books and the last book, The Blood of Olympus, doesn’t come out in paperback until early April. So I’m holding off until I have all of the books in my possession. I’ve already preordered The Blood of Olympus, so hopefully it gets here soon.

8. Dreamology by Lucy Keating

I’ve had an eARC of Dreamology sitting in my Kindle app since last year. I was planning to review it for Happy Indulgence but the awesome Aila read and wrote up a review for it in like a day. So it’s kind of continued sitting in my Kindle app… It sounds fascinating and Aila really enjoyed it, so I’m really keen to see what I think of it.

9. This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

This is one of my most anticipated contemporary releases of this year and I have an ARC of this one! I cannot wait to read this and will have a review up closer to release date, which is in April.

10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

This sounds like a really cute contemporary and there’s been quite a bit of buzz about it around the community. But let’s be real, I’m excited about it because the author and I share the same name.


What books are you really keen to read in the next few months?!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don’t Get

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. Today I’ll be featuring some well-loved characters that I just don’t really like, or don’t understand the obsession with. I’m sorry if any of my responses offend anyone. Just know that I’m not judging anybody for their love of a character.

1. The Darkling (The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo)

I don’t fully understand everyone’s obsession with the Darkling. I mean, I was intrigued by him in Shadow and Bone and was really excited to read more about him, but his character went downhill after that first book. There was hardly any character development and he went from being an interesting character to just being super evil and creepy. For me, his character was just a wasted opportunity.

2. Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas)

I really like Chaol as a character but I was never Team Chaol. In Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, I was Team Dorian and now I’m firmly in Team Rowan. I like Chaol’s personality and what he stands for but I don’t really understand why everybody is in love with him. But that’s the thing with ships I guess… we can’t always agree.

3. Jacob Black (Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer)

I feel like this is one that a lot of readers will understand. What was even the point of Jacob Black in that whole series? His character was so unnecessary (New Moon as a book was basically unnecessary) and it would have been a much more enjoyable series if he wasn’t in it.

4. Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

I’ve never really liked Ron… He’s kind of annoying and wimpy . He’s funny, I’ll give him that, but I would’ve enjoyed the series just as much if Ron wasn’t in it.

5. Mather Loren (Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch)

I’ve been Team Theron since the beginning of this trilogy, but even when Theron’s character went downhill, I wasn’t a big fan of Mather. I don’t really understand how people switched ships. I can understand people jumping off the Theron love boat but just because you no longer like one love interest as much, doesn’t mean that you need to fall in love with the other. It’s not a mutually exclusive thing for me. I dunno… someone please tell me what’s so great about Mather!

6. Charlotte Holmes (A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro)

A Study in Charlotte was a book that I was completely underwhelmed by and it was mostly due to the characters. Charlotte Holmes in this book is a carbon copy of Sherlock Holmes from the BBC tv show. There’s nothing original about her and she’s probably 3000x more annoying that a character should be. I was just completely unimpressed by her.

7. Safiya fon Hasstrel (Truthwitch by Susan Dennard)

This is one that I can kind of understand. I thought Safi was a really strong character but she was so super annoying for most of the book! I didn’t completely understand what was so special about her and she just came across as another badass female heroine.

8. Tarver Merendsen (These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner)

I just wasn’t a big fan of this book overall. I didn’t like either of the main characters and because the character development and romance was such a big part of the book, I ended up not really connecting with it. Tarver was a pretty boring character in my opinion. He was resourceful and strong but that’s all there was to him. I don’t really see what people are going on about when it comes to this book and the romance.

9. Adam Parrish (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

I feel like there are so many people who are in love with Adam from The Raven Cycle and I don’t really see it. He was super annoying in The Raven Boys, and while his character does get a little bit better as the series goes on, I’m still not the biggest fan of him. I don’t really understand his actions or his thought processes and he kind of makes me uncomfortable…

10. Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas)

Okay, this is one that I’m still on the fence about. I can kind of see why people are interested in him and I can also see myself growing to like him as we get to see more of him… but based on his actions and what we did see of him in ACOTAR, I don’t really agree with everybody’s obsession with him. He’s a bit of a dick, if I’m honest.


Let me know if you agree with any of these!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books To Read If You’re in the Mood For A Realistic Romance

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, we create a list of ten (or however many books) based on a theme. This week’s topic is Books to Read If You’re In the Mood for X, and I’ve chosen to feature books with realistic romances. What I mean by a realistic romance is one that isn’t all-consuming and nonsensical. It starts and develops in a manner that is logical and realistic, and it takes a backseat to issues that are more important.

1. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I absolutely love the romance between Samantha and Jase in this book. And that’s mostly because Jase is such a nice guy. He definitely has a lot of issues to deal with but he’s never broody and assholish. He really cares for/about and supports Samantha fully, and I loved the two of them together so much!

2. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

What I enjoyed about the romance in this book was that it wasn’t at the forefront. It didn’t overshadow all of the other issues in the book and it wasn’t the only relationship that was explored. So often in YA, it feels like the romance is the only relationship that matters or exists, but in this book, we see friendships and familial relationships too. I thought the romance developed very naturally and realistic decisions were made throughout the book.

3. The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

While there was a bit of insta-love in this book, I enjoyed how the romance progressed. There wasn’t any dancing around each other and things just happened super naturally. I enjoyed how much Alice and Manny cared about each other and how they were there for each other during even the tough times. What I enjoyed most was that the book still left room for other relationships, particularly the beautiful relationship between Alice and her brother, Joey.

4. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger’s relationship probably isn’t the most realistic that I’ve read, but I really liked that they started off as strangers who became friends and then something more. There was less romance than I thought there was going to be and I found that to be really refreshing. The book also ended in a really realistic way, for me.

5. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

I absolutely loved Cluck and Lace’s romance in this book. It’s a hate to love kind of romance but I highly enjoyed it because it didn’t feel dramatic and forced. The decisions that were made in this book were sensible and I loved how they supported each other when nobody else was on their side.

6. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue and Gansey *deep sigh*. Another hate to love romance. I went into this series expecting lots and lots of Blansey from the very beginning since the first book mentions Blue killing her true love, who is Gansey (not a spoiler cos it’s revealed in like the first chapter). But it ended up very differently and I really enjoyed how it’s been playing out. It’s definitely very slow burn but it’s development is so natural that I can’t help but love it.

7. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

The romance in this book is a little bit instant because Emmy and Oliver were kind of an item before Oliver moved away, but I can’t deny that the romance in this book is stellar! It’s a very supportive relationship and they both take it very seriously.

8. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

The attraction and romance in this book is probably one of the most realistic that I’ve ever read. This book really captures the feeling of unrequited love and what it’s like to have a large age difference (large for a high school girl). I loved how everything was handled in this book and how the romance wasn’t forced. I liked the decisions that were made and thought the book ended in the perfect way!

9. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

The relationship between Sydney and Mac in this book was beautiful. It didn’t overshadow the themes of family, which I really appreciated. I liked how they leaned on each other during the tough times. I probably could have used a little bit more romance, but I appreciated how well Sarah Dessen explored the really important issues in the book.

10. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

All the right decisions were made in this book. I really enjoyed the relationship between Kate and Ben in this book, but when Kate begins to wonder where Ben was when a terrible crime was being committed, things start to fall apart. I loved the decisions that Kate made in this book and how she chose to protect herself.


What are some of your favourite romances and do you think they’re realistic? The majority of my list are contemporary romances. What are some of your favourite realistic fantasy romances?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hesitated to Pick Up But Ended Up Loving

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is books that I enjoyed recently that weren’t my typical genre. Now, I don’t really have a typical genre. My favourite genre is contemporary but in the past year, I’ve really started reading more widely and there isn’t anything that I’d really consider out of my comfort zone. The only exception is crime fiction, horror, thrillers, mysteries… anything that’s super suspenseful, I will (and still) avoid like the plague.

Instead of featuring books that were out of my comfort zone, I’m going to feature books that I hesitated to pick up for ages and ages, but ultimately, ended up enjoying a lot in recent months.

1. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

I had the first three books of the Raven Cycle on my shelf for about 9 months before I finally picked them up and marathoned them in December. I don’t read very much paranormal fiction and I had heard that the pace of this one is super slow, so it just kept sitting on my shelf. I’m glad that I ended up reading them because I absolutely love this series!

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs

I had wanted to buy and read this series ever since I first heard about it because the photographs in the books really intrigued me. However, I wasn’t sure that it would be my cup of tea because I don’t really like scary things. After some peer pressure (and the imminent release of the finale), I decided to pick them up and give them a go and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I love all three of the books and I can’t wait to see the movie!

3. Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

Peer pressure also made me finally pick up this trilogy (thanks Joey and Aentee!). I don’t really like reading dystopian fiction so I hadn’t really intended to pick this up… but those around me wouldn’t stop raving about it and I couldn’t not check it out.

4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I honestly don’t know why I didn’t pick up PJO until December of last year… It was just never really that high up on my list of priorities and I preferred to read YA over middle grade. MY BAD.  I absolutely love Percy and Camp Halfblood! Cannot wait to dive into The Heroes of Olympus soon!

5. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

This was another trilogy that I kept hearing about in the community but was never really that interested in. I finally ended up buying the books in October or November, and read them at the very beginning of this year. This is one of my new favourite series. I love the characters, the plot and the political intrigue so much! The third and final book cannot be released soon enough!

6. Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I received a really early proof copy of this at a HarperCollins event last year, and after seeing Jeann @ Happy Indulgence DNF it before the halfway point, I was super hesitant to check it out for myself. I finally read it a few weeks ago and actually really enjoyed it! Jeann has also since finished the book and ended up enjoying it too.

7. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

This was a contemporary that I bought pretty much as soon as it was released in Australia. But then it just ended up sitting in my TBR pile and I didn’t get around to reading it until December or January, despite constant nagging from many bloggers. I loved the romance in this book and thought it was absolutely adorable! I highly enjoyed this book.

8. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

I got an ARC of this book in August of last year, but the book wasn’t released in Australia until December. I just kept procrastinating and not wanting to read it because it was still so far until publication. I ended up picking it up in November and I fell in love with the novel. It was brilliantly written and deals with a serious topic that needs to be discussed.

9. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

This one had been on my shelf for two months before I finally read it earlier this month. It’s a book that’s actually right up my alley but I kept hearing nothing but good things about it and was worried that I wouldn’t like it. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and I ended up loving it!

10. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

This one probably isn’t a ‘recent’ read. I think I read it over 6 months ago but I remember having this on my TBR pile for months before I finally read it. It deals with mental illness and schizophrenia and it’s always hard to be in the right mood for a book like this…


Have you read any of these books and what did you think? I highly enjoyed all 10 of the books/series that was mentioned in this list!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters Who Need to Join My Reverse Harem

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Because next week is Valentine’s Day, this week’s theme is Valentine’s Day. I’m going to be featuring ten characters who I adore and they totally all need to join my reverse harem right now. These are in my particular order but William Herondale is bae.


1. Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

What can I say about Will Herondale that hasn’t already been said? He’s smart, sexy, broody and is an amazing friend *heart eyes*. I just want him to read to me every night.

2. Jase Garrett (My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick)

I’ve said this many times before, but Jase is just the ultimate good guy. And we need more characters like him who are just super nice and caring, and have no unnecessary drama. Jase is amazing with his younger siblings and he can totally fix my car… when I buy one eventually.

3. Richard Gansey III (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

Obviously I need an enigmatic rich boy in my reverse harem and Gansey is perfect for the role. He’s super smart and I love all of his little quirks. I just want to hug him all the time and protect him from all the bees.

4. Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)

Kaz is cutthroat but is super sweet to the people he loves. And as much as I don’t want to split up Kaz and Inej… he really needs to join my harem. We could go sailing and then he can be all sweet and romantic with his “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.” But I’m too much of a city girl…so I’ll probably end up ruining the moment by saying “Ketterdam sucks. Come to Australia.”

5. Rowan Whitethorn (Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas)

My sexy fae prince. I love Rowan’s determination and how he protects those he cares about. Also his possessiveness is just *squeeaaalls*

6. Prince Theron (Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch)

Theron was the character that I fell in love with straight away in Snow Like Ashes. He loves poetry and the arts, and he’s just really sweet and romantic. I don’t like Theron as much in Ice Like Fire but I’ll always be in love with first book Theron.

7. Captain Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)

I was tossing up between Prince Kai and Captain Thorne…but ultimately, I went with Thorne because he’s hilarious and will provide so much comic relief. All the other guys are pretty serious and intense, and Captain Thorne will bring all the fun! Plus he can drive a spaceship so… fun space adventures are in my future.

8. Cluck Corbeau (The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore)

I read The Weight of Feathers recently, and it’s become one of my favourite books. Cluck is just an amazing love interest. He’s another character that I want to hug and never let go of. He’s been through a lot but I’ll be sure to treat him well.

9. Jem Carstairs (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

I love Jem. Not as much as Will, but it’s pretty hard not to love Jem Carstairs. He’s so caring and loyal and unafraid to do what’s right. Even demonic cats love him. But mostly, he’s on this list because I just could not split up Will and Jem.

10. Willem De Ruiter (Just One Day by Gayle Forman)

Willem is another enigmatic character but I love that he’s a bit of a lost soul. He loves to travel, so we could travel around Europe together. He speaks French, Dutch and English… which I find extremely attractive. And he’s also super romantic… and I love romance.


So keeping in mind that all ten of these men belong to me (mwahahaha), who would you invite to join your harem?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Villains / Morally Ambiguous Characters

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Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a freebie week, so I’ve chosen to feature some of my favourite villains and morally ambiguous characters. These are in no particular order.


1. Queen Levana (The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer)

The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series and one of the reasons why I love it so much is because of the villain in the series. Queen Levana is so evil and complex and I just loved her and thought she was a great villain.

2. Mayor Prentiss (Chaos Walking – Patrick Ness)

Mayor Prentiss is terrifying! He was so evil in the first book of the series and I loved that about him. But then I read the second book, and his motives and intentions were so morally ambiguous that I had no idea what to think of him… which made him even more terrifying.

3. Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas)

I loved Manon from the first time I met her in Heir of Fire. She’s fierce, fearless and just cutthroat. But she also has a soft side and I can’t wait for Sarah to explore that side of her a little bit more in the remaining books.

4. King Angra (Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch)

This guy is just pure evil. Totally terrifying and I’m kinda scared for the last book of the trilogy, Frost Like Night.

5. Max (Max – Sarah Cohen-Scali)

Max is not a villain. But he’s a child born into the ‘Lebensborn’ program, groomed to become a Hitler youth and fight for Germany during WWII. This whole book was about Max’s childhood, from his birth in 1936 until he’s found by the UNRRA after Germany’s defeat.

6. Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling)

I love Bellatrix. She’s absolutely batshit crazy and scary. I especially love Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix in the movies!

7. Arobynn (Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas)

Arobynn is just the biggest asshole and I still haven’t forgiven him for what happened in The Assassin’s Blade. But he’s such a confusing and complex character that I couldn’t help but be intrigued.

8. Aeduan (Truthwitch – Susan Dennard)

Aeduan is arguably my favourite character in Truthwitch. He’s so mysterious and interesting, and I can’t wait to find out more about him and his connection to some characters that are mentioned.

9. Mr Gray (The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater)

Mr Gray appeared to be the villain of The Dream Thieves but Maggie Stiefvater never ceases to surprise her readers with how complex her characters are. We not only got to see his villainous side, but also his fear and the more human side of him that just wants to belong. I loved his character.

10. Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling)

Draco is my favourite character of the series and I had to include him in this list.


I know, I know. I didn’t include The Darkling on this list… but that’s because I don’t really like him that much. Sorry! Who are your favourite villains?

 

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

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Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: October 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 391
Goodreads || Book Depository

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third instalment of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers for the first two books, The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, but you should probably read those reviews first.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue Synopsis

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is my favourite of The Raven Cycle so far. It was well-paced and the story was captivating. I enjoyed the characters even more in this book (and I didn’t think that was possible).

This third instalment is much faster in pace than the two previous books. It’s still quite slow, but compared to the first two books, this one almost moves at a regular pace. It had more of a sense of urgency, which made the book even more mysterious and eerie for me. This book was also more magical and paranormal than the previous books, adding to the mysterious atmosphere and tone of the book.

While The Raven Cycle and The Dream Thieves provided more questions than answers, Blue Lily, Lily Blue started answering some of these questions. Pieces of the puzzle started to come together and the story developed much faster as a result. The whole book just made more sense and allowed me to start theorising and speculating, which I wasn’t able to do for the first two books because I was so confused. It was the first book in the series so far that had a plot that was almost as captivating as the characters. Almost.

This series remains a character-driven series for me. Each of the characters underwent even further development, which I didn’t think was possible because Maggie Stiefvater’s characterisation has been perfect already. The characters became even more multifaceted and I just fell in love with them further. Each character has skills to bring to the table and they’re all essential to the story. Certain characters that I didn’t love in the first two books definitely became more likeable in this third book and I was firmly behind them and on their side.

Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.

The relationships between the characters were the most noteworthy aspect of Blue Lily, Lily Blue for me. Blue and the Raven Boys care so deeply about one another that my heart was just squeezing inside my chest the whole time. I absolutely loved every Gansey and Blue scene and I will ship Blansey until the end of time. But I also absolutely enjoyed everybody’s worry and love for Gansey and OMG MY HEART.

I absolutely cannot wait for The Raven King to be released in April! The ending of Blue Lily, Lily Blue had me on the edge of my seat and I need to know what happens next!

Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

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Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 439
Goodreads || Book Depository

The Dream Thieves is the second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s, The Raven Cycle. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers for the first book, The Raven Boys, so feel free to stay if you want to know if the series is worth pursuing.

THE DREAM THIEVES SYNOPSIS

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Dream Thieves picks up a few weeks after the events in The Raven Boys but it doesn’t exactly pick up where the first book left off. After finishing The Raven Boys, I was a little bit confused about some of the things that had happened and the consequences of those things happening. I was hoping that The Dream Thieves would give me some clarification or explain what had gone down in The Raven Boys. However, this book went into a completely different direction and the questions I had at the end of the first book were left unanswered. Which is completely fine… but I just felt like there were more and more unanswered questions and puzzles to solve and very few answers being given.

To me, the plot of The Dream Thieves felt largely unrelated to what happened in the previous book. At times, it almost felt like a filler book before we moved on to bigger things in the next two books. In this novel, we follow Ronan, the impulsive brawler of the group. We find out at the very end of The Raven Boys that Ronan is able to take things out of his dreams (this is not a spoiler since this is never explored in the first book) and in this book, we explore his story and the whole process of the dreaming further. Of course, Ronan’s dream thievery is linked to the greater story of the ley lines and the search for the lost Welsh king, Glendower, but for a huge section of the book, it felt almost like a separate and unrelated story. Having said that, I really enjoyed getting to know Ronan a little bit more because we didn’t get much of his back story in Book 1 and he was the enigmatic and closed off one of the group. I found his background and his family’s story to be really unexpected and interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything we learnt about him.

I enjoyed the plot of this second book a little bit more than the first one. It was magical, fascinating and very strange at times and I couldn’t help but be drawn into Ronan’s story and want to read more. There were some plot points that genuinely surprised me. I did, however, find the climax of the book to be slightly lacking. It wasn’t as exciting and intense as I had hoped it would be but I still really liked it and can’t complain about it too much.

The pace of this book is very slow, probably even slower than The Raven Boys. It took a very long time for the book to get started and I wasn’t really engaged until after the 150 page mark. The story and the characters were still intriguing enough that I finished the novel in two sittings and I never felt bored even though there wasn’t very much happening. Obviously, I wish that the book could have been a little bit more fast-paced but the writing and the pace really enhanced the atmosphere of the book and I didn’t mind it too much after I got past the slow patch at the beginning.

The characters were still the stand out aspect of this series so far. They really filled in the large gaps in the book where there wasn’t much going on. My favourite characters are still Blue and Gansey. Their characters were the easiest for me to relate to and they felt the most normal to me. They’re so full of love for their family and friends and I just want to hug them. I also enjoyed Ronan’s character a lot more in this book. He’s still a little bit difficult to connect with since he’s such a closed off and distant person but getting to know his background and his cool dream thieving abilities really helped me relate to him a little bit more. The character that took a nose dive in terms of likability was Adam. I liked him quite a bit for most of The Raven Boys, but he became very annoying in this one. He acted like he was entitled to things just because he’s had a tough time and he wasn’t able to see things from the others’ perspectives. His need to be better than other people was infuriating and I just wanted him to work with the team!

“Being the Magician isn’t about being powerful when you have things and useless when you don’t,” Persephone said. “The Magician sees what is out there and find connections. The Magician can make anything magical.”

Yes, Adam. Take note. We are also introduced to a few new characters in this sequel. We have Mr Gray, a hit man who’s searching for something called the Graywaren. He does some atrocious things but his character was so complex, layered and unexpected that I really ended up loving his addition to the book. I think what Maggie Stiefvater does so well is really spending the time to develop her characters and make them multi-faceted. She plays around with stereotypes and tropes and I really love her characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and characters. I didn’t think the plot of this novel made any developments to the series and it almost felt like a side story with some links to the overall story arc of The Raven Cycle. However, I still really liked the book and I’m predicting that the events that take place in all these books will probably have some impact on what happens in the finale.

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

the-raven-boys

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
Goodreads || Book Depository

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Raven Boys is the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s paranormal series, The Raven Cycle. I’ve previously read the Shiver trilogy, which I really liked, and I think The Raven Boys, as a first book, was just as good, if not better. It was creepy and atmospheric, with lots of interesting and unique characters.

The Raven Boys, for me, was very much a character-driven book. It has a whole cast of very intriguing characters that draw you in and make you want to know more. Our main protagonist, Blue, comes from a family of psychics but she’s the only one who doesn’t have psychic abilities. Instead, she’s almost like a battery that enhances the spiritual energy around her and makes it louder. She becomes involved with a group of Raven boys from a nearby private high school, who are involved in a search for magical ley lines and a lost Welsh King.

The leader of the Raven boys is a boy called Gansey, who I found to be the most interesting of all the characters. He’s a very genuine character who everybody else seems to see as a little pretentious. But he’s definitely not your typical rich and perfect male protagonist. His character is complex and misunderstood and I loved him so much because of it. Adam is the scholarship student from an abusive family. He doesn’t quite fit in with the others and is always aware of his poor background. I really liked his character from the start but he started to get on my nerves as I progressed through the book. He became very resentful of others for what they had and his jealous nature started to come through, which annoyed me a lot. There’s also a weird love triangle involving Adam, and I really did not like it… We also have Ronan, who’s hiding some secrets and is a little bit rough around the edges, and Noah, the mysterious and quiet friend who comes and goes and isn’t always around.

There are a whole host of other characters, including all the psychics that Blue lives with. I found some of the side characters to be very creepy and I was suspicious of them all the time. They gave me this uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t shake and some of their actions left me feeling pretty creeped out. The mysterious and magical tone of the book also added to the slight creepiness of the book. It was so atmospheric and dark that it did make me feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. I didn’t find the world and the setting to be particularly scary but the writing and the atmosphere of the story left me a little bit anxious. There are also ghosts in this book, and I have pretty low tolerance for ghosts.

While I really liked the plot, there wasn’t very much going on in this book. It’s very slow-paced at the beginning and the action doesn’t pick up until the second half of the book. I found the magic and the ley lines to be very hard to follow at the beginning and I felt confused until later in the book. We’re not given very many explanations, so I had to just accept what was happening and go with the flow. The last 50-100 pages of the book were more fast-paced and there was a lot more happening. However, by the time I reached the end of the book, I still didn’t feel like I completely understood what had happened. Some characters made choices and did things that I didn’t understand (and I didn’t know what the consequences of those action would be either). I just still felt confused after finishing the book, but I can forgive that since it’s the first book in a series.

The writing was beautiful and I didn’t find it hard to get into. I think having read Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy, I was already familiar with her unique writing style so I didn’t need a lot of time to adjust. At the beginning, the writing also reminded me of the writing in A Little Life. It was very descriptive with little dialogue, and it really set the tone and atmosphere of the book. I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives that we got and I liked being able to see through each characters’ eyes. Like I mentioned, the pace of the book was a little bit uneven, with it being very slow at the beginning and fast at the end. But even though the book was mostly slow-paced, it wasn’t slow for me to read. I flew through the book really quickly because it was so engaging.

Even though this book left me feeling a little bit unsatisfied because of all the unanswered questions, I still really enjoyed the characters and the story. The confusion that I feel makes me even more excited to jump straight into The Dream Thieves.