Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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Maggie Stiefvater, what have you done to me?

4.5 out of 5 Ravening Stars

I am undone. I just finished the book. I was just finished by the book.

Hold me closer, Tony Danza, I can’t handle it. Oh my God.

This is the 4th and final book in the Raven Cycle. You been warned. I was warned. It didn’t do any good. I am the quivering mass you read before you. How in the hell do you review this? As the writer says in the book, “A general agreement that time, like a story, was not a line, it was an ocean. If you couldn’t find the precise moment you were looking for, it was possible you hadn’t swum far enough.” Just kill me. Just leave me to swim out far enough to drown. I fucking loved this series. AND IT’S OVER. What am I supposed to do now? WHAT?

I guess I’ll start at the beginning. The women at 300 Fox Way (minus Blue) converge to pool their psychic abilities and see if there is a way to save Gansey. Remember, Blue is the only one in the house that isn’t psychic, she’s an amplifier for psychic ability. Also, Gansey’s spirit was seen on the Corpse Road on St. Mark’s day, which means he’s going to die. And Blue saw him, so mostly likely, she’s the one that kills him…. or is his true love. There is so much metaphor in this first chapter that I went back and reread it before writing this review just to drink it in again and know what all of it meant. Frankly, I want to go back and reread the whole damn thing again, from The Raven Boys. Because just as Blue fell in love with her Raven Boys, so did I.

What leaves the land of metaphor and enters actual verb-and-noun status: Pynch. That’s all.

Also, don’t fuck with demons, kids. They do bad, nasty things and they might be giving you a line of crap and maneuvering you into a position from which they are the one in power, not you. That’s not the review, that’s just good life advice. You’re welcome. Piper and Neeve, yes the Aunt-tastrophy from the first book, are both back and very much alive. Piper managed to wrangle the demon’s favor for herself… she thinks. But Neeve is neck deep in this, and wants to try and guide her. Piper isn’t exactly guidable. And demons are terrible negotiators, even worse at being a third wheel. Again, don’t fuck with demons, kids.

The demon is a huge part of this. His whole thing is undoing and unmaking. Cabeswater, and Ronan, as the Greywaren, are all about creation. There is nothing an unmaker hates more than a creator. They need to find Glendower, and NOW.

Also, the criminal underworld. Who knew a paranormal fantasy type thing like this set in a West Virginia town would have so much criminal underbelly? And they would all be so otherworldly? I mean, are there semi-mythical criminals out there that deal with supernatural artifacts? Now that I’ve been opened up to that eventuality, I hope there are. It would make the world a more interesting place. And if there are, I kinda wanna join. They sound like a hoot and a holler.

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This is the hardest review I’ve ever done. It’s not that stuff didn’t happen – it did. It’s not that there wasn’t character development – there hella was. But this is like an experience. It’s so layered. It’s so literary. IT’S SO GOOD.

On the diversity scale, we do have a gay relationship and Henry Cheng is actually now a full character. He is half Korean, I believe he’s Korean/Chinese, but I am not 100% sure. I’m pretty fucked up from reading this and some of my notes are tear streaked. I apologize, Henry. Before, these things were metaphors. But mostly, it’s still mayonnaise on the sandwich, meaning this is mostly white people.

Things that made me less happy: I was disappointed with some of the plot points. Not a lot, but one or two. I can’t tell you what they are for fear of spoilers. I will come to terms with them. Also, I miss Noah. He is hardly in this at all. It was very slow. The gorgeous writing pretty much makes up for it. I mean this one was even more gorgeous than the others. Blue’s family is hardly there, after having been a big part of the rest of the series. And worst of all, it ended. That is my biggest complaint. How dare you, Stiefvater.

How dare you.

 

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