The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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Make sure you check out our reviews for the other books in The Raven Cycle, Blue Lily, Lily BlueThe Dream Thievesand The Raven Boys.

Cabeswater is dying. It’s being poisoned. It’s being unmade by the second sleeper, a demon who shouldn’t have been woken. It was created by all the making in Cabeswater, and it’s mission is unmaking. It will start with the forest and all of its wonders and dreams. It will end by unmaking the dreamer who created Cabeswater.

Seven years ago, a life that should not have been lost was taken on the ley line and  Gansey’s life was saved when it should not have been. It’s time for him to repay the favor.

Are Adam and Ronan a spoiler if you’ve seen it coming? I’m going with no. A relationship between Adam and Ronan has been building since early in the story. And it fits. Ronan saved Adam from his dad that night. Ronan brought Adam (and everyone, really) to Cabeswater, a place that has become a part of Adam’s identity and that fights to protect him. And in Adam, Ronan sees someone who fights so strongly for what he wants. I don’t know that Ronan is capable of that kind of fight anymore. I know he respects that in Adam, even if he finds it as exhausting as the rest of us sometimes.

Seondeok is a dream artifacts collector. She specifically collects Niall Lynch’s dream-things. Henry Cheng is her son. When Henry was young, he was kidnapped and held hostage by Seondeok’s competitor, Laumonier (the creepy triplets-who-are-actually-the-same). Henry knows about magic (or whatever you want to call what’s up with Gansey and the gang) and it’s not so much that he wants to be involved, but he wants to share that with other people. I think everyone can understand that need to be included and to know that there are people who know what you know.

I can’t imagine that saving Gansey would have worked half as well if it had been attempted by any other author. Stiefvater’s been building up to Gansey’s death for the entire series, and she’s also been building up to a grand loophole involving Glendower and the wish granted for whoever wakes him. When that plan goes down the drain, all of our hearts break. Will this truly be the end of Richard Gansey III? An death in service to his friends and Cabeswater would be noble enough for our Raven King, but what a sad ending to a story that has otherwise been so much more about the magic in the world than the misery.

The only real negative is the resolution. We received so much more Adam than Blue and Gansey. I’m not sure why she Stiefvater thought we’d be more interested in Adam and his parents than Blue and Gansey’s new life, but that’s what we got. Honestly, I could’ve told Adam that his parents didn’t want him back. They don’t want to hear about his success or his future. They don’t want ownership and they won’t be proud of him. I didn’t need or want to watch that trainwreck.

I’m so excited for Blue to go off and discover the world. Gansey’s been there, done that, but it’ll be a different experience with Blue. Her sense of wonder at anything that isn’t Henrietta will thrill them both and her authenticity will win over everyone they meet on their travels. It’ll be the time of their life. After that we just have to get Blue into college (if that’s still what she wants); she’s got hella admissions essay materials.

The Raven Cycle‘s final act was everything I hoped it would be. It was terrifying and exhilarating and sad. All the pieces of this giant puzzle of a story finally fell into place. Questions were more than satifactorily answered, and my expectations were not only met, they were smashed straight through. One of the best conclusions to a book series I’ve ever read.

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