YA Audiobook Weekend: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven KingGenre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Fantasy

Series: The Raven Cycle #4

Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 21, 2014)

Information: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Tiara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spoiler-free review! This is a book about endings, or maybe beginnings, perhaps both. This series started with Blue and a prophecy that she would kill her true love with a kiss. Soon she finds herself part of a group whose worlds are far different from her own. Together they search for Owen Glendower, the last king of Wales, hoping to be granted a wish once they wake him. After many trials, they’ve reached a critical point in their search for Glendower.

I thought this was a fitting conclusion to this story. As clichéd as this may sound, it considers that maybe the magic really lies in you, that you are the master of your own destiny. I did feel that one of the characters deserved better with his ending, and a new character introduced I never did get on board with. Some of the other secondary–yet important–characters were curbed sadly, but at the end of the day, this story is about Gansey, Blue, Noah, Ronan, and Adam. Many final revelations about these characters and their truths surface as we prepare to say goodbye to them. The last half of the book was amazing, and I came out of this mostly satisfied.

I hadn’t expected to do a general series overview, but there were some general things I wanted to say about the series.

Stiefvater is excellent with characters. She does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters she loves. A common complaint I see with YA authors is that adults who read YA books shouldn’t complain so much about young adults doing young adult things. On one hand, I agree with that because these characters are young adults and make mistakes appropriate to their age. On the other hand, some authors treat their YA characters like idiots. Stiefvater manages to avoid that. She made her cast of characters feel like real teens that you can love and hate. It’s easy to become attached to them. However…

Stiefvater’s antagonists were never anything special in this series, and honestly, by the time this book rolled around I wished she’d just forget about having villains altogether. There was nothing memorable or important about them for most of the story. I still can’t figure out if Neeve was really supposed to be some sort of gray area villain or not because there wasn’t anything that I really interpreted as antagonistic about her given the strange bubble these characters lived in. As I said in one of my earlier reviews, I dislike villainy for the sake of villainy, and Stiefvater’s villains in this series were the embodiment of that distaste.

Stiefvater’s strength is not plot. I know I probably shouldn’t make a blanket statement like that, but this feels like it could be a thing with her books. She loves her characters. I get that. I think that’s wonderful. I love characters, too, and sometimes, I’m only in the story for characters. There’s no way I would’ve finished this series if I didn’t have a love of characters. If you’re into characters, too, or can make exceptions if you like the characters enough, you’ll enjoy this series. If you’re wanting to get into this series for a strong plot centered around a quest to find a historical figure or one that explores this history in a modern day context, this series is not for you. While I enjoyed her characters, I was highly disappointed by how this really great plot idea became so weak.

At the same time, I still have to applaud her for many of the elements that she introduced into this book. She wrote some of the most refreshing ideas that I’ve read in the YA genre in a while. She knows how to keep readers turning pages and hanging on for dear life with those cliffhangers. These books were mythical, mystical, and dreamlike. This is a unique series that employs ideas that I can’t say I’ve seen hashed and rehashed repeatedly.

Will I read more Stiefvater? I don’t know. As much as I enjoyed this series, I’m still not really compelled to seek out more of her work right now. I won’t say “no” if I happen to obtain more of her books, but I don’t see myself snapping up everything or pre-ordering more of her books. (I did pre-order The Raven King. I rarely pre-order books. I don’t regret it.) She’s a master of words and does a masterful job of weaving them together, and I think this series is a great introduction to the writer.

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More Reviews of this Series

The Raven Boys (Book #1, Wendy’s Review)
The Raven Boys (Book #1, Mogsy’s Review)
The Raven Boys (Book #1, Tiara’s Review)
The Dream Thieves (Book #2, Wendy’s Review)
The Dream Thieves (Book #2, Tiara’s Review)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Book #3, Wendy’s Review)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Book #3, Tiara’s Review)

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9 Comments on “YA Audiobook Weekend: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

    • I actually think I have that audiobook somewhere now that you mention it. That was the book I was originally going to read by her, but decided to start this series instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It sounds like our feelings about this series and Stiefvater are almost exactly the same. So I think everything in your review is just brilliant:). I second coolcurrybooks rec of The Scorpio Races. I tried Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls series and couldn’t get past the first 20 pages of book 1 but The Scorpio Races has all the elements I loved best from the Raven Cycle: a distinct and moody creation of place and atmosphere and fantastic and interesting characters. And carnivorous fairy horses from the sea. It’s pretty great.

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    • Everyone keeps saying I should try The Scorpio Races next. I think I have that as audiobook because I was going to read it instead of this series. I liked her writing, but I started getting a little agitated with some stuff (like the villains) at the end.

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  2. I loved the entire series, but as you say, Stiefvater is not so great on writing an actual story. This book in particular had some disappointing plot things going on (robobee? really?) but I remain in love with the characters and am happy with where almost everyone ended up (could have done with a lot more of the aunts and Noah though). A friend described the conclusion most aptly for me as “emotionally satisfying; logically frustrating.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Agree with mostly everything you say! I, too, could have used more plot and more villiany, but like you, I adored these characters and that was more than enough to keep me hooked the whole series through.

    I tried her other books and found them lacking. Shiver I was so bored with I nearly didn’t finish, so never picked up the rest of the books in that series. The Scorpio Races was better, to be sure, but I never fully connected with those characters the way I did with the Raven Boys.

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  4. Pingback: Tiara’s 2nd Quarter Update | The BiblioSanctum

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