Series: The Raven Cycle

Book Review – The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

June 9, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2016, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Published by Scholastic Press on April 26th 2016
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

three-stars

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: "Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close."

The Raven Cycle series

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) [PurchaseReview]
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) [PurchaseReview]
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) [PurchaseReview]

style-3 review

SPOILERS AHEAD

 “He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

We finally come to the end of the Cycle, whether we like it or not. The search for Glendower, for the lost King buried somewhere along the ley line in Virginia, comes to an end. Gansey has been searching for Glendower since he was stung to death by hornets and was miraculously brought back. “You will live because of Glendower. Someone else on the ley line is dying when they should not, and so you will live when you should not.” They are the words that have haunted him and kept up his mysterious search even when it seemed that all hope was lost. But he’s not the only one on this strenuous journey: Ronan, the dream thief, Adam, who gave his free will to Cabeswater, and Blue, who saw Gansey’s ghost before she even knew who he was and knew that he’s either Blue’s true love or she’s the one that kills him.

“What a strange constellation they all were.”

I’ve always praised this series for its fascinating way of blending magical with the contemporary and making it something anyone could believe in. Somewhere in the middle of The Raven King though, the magical hold these stories had on me died. That carefully created magic suddenly became frenzied and befuddling, leaving me grasping at straws to understand it, meanwhile watching as the story left me in its dust. The other magical aspect of this novel though is the vast amount of characters and how incredibly well developed each and every one of them are. The stories had always been centered around finding the lost King, waking him, and having him grant them a single wish. Slowly, as time progressed the friends began to realize that while they were still on an active search for Glendower, they no longer needed his aid because they had each other and they were more powerful together than they had ever realized before.

“This was where they were now: Nightmares were real. There was no difference between dreams and reality when they stood here in Cabeswater together.”

And as far as the romances, what an accomplished example of true friendship and romance going hand in hand. One never overpowered the other; they existed together in perfect harmony. Blue and Gansey. I adored reading about the short time on page that they did spend together in each others company. They nestled together like two puzzle pieces. Ronan and Adam. While these two didn’t come as a great surprise, it was still a delight to see it come to fruition. While Ronan has always kept his feelings under-wrap, I felt it essentially dulled the spark that I wanted to feel between them. That powerful realization of when they both recognize where their friendship has come to felt subdued and I wanted so much more for those two.

When Maggie Stiefvater started this series, The Raven Boys set the scene for powerful things to come. Magical things. And while the magic continued to linger, all of the predictions that were made and the expectations that were set all seemed to become entangled and left without any satisfactory explanation. I felt it was anti-climactic and made everything that came before inconsequential. These friends endured loss and suffered greatly in their adventures to discover Glendower and the buoyant tone the ending set felt almost contradictory to what the other novels established. The fervor and seriousness of the first installments set expectations for the ending which ended up vastly contrasting from what was given. I liked the impression left, that the friends’ journey wasn’t over and that many adventures were still to come, but it was hard to truly appreciate it when my mind was still wrapped up in how their previous adventures had “ended”. Add to that was the lack of closure for several other characters: Blue’s father, Gwenllian, the Grey Man and Maura, and Noah. Noah played such a vital part in this story yet he not only wasn’t given a mention of an ending but I expected the group to at least have some momentary thought for his sudden absence in their lives after so much time. Even Adam’s unworthy parents were given a semblance of an ending and that was wholly unnecessary.

My issues and my praises for this novel stack up pretty evenly in the end. I can only imagine how difficult it is to write such a sprawling story with so many highly-developed characters only to have to find some adequate way of bringing their stories to an end. Stiefvater sets this story up with the expectation of extraordinary magic only to have it taper off into something less extraordinary by the end. The Raven Cycle is a highly imaginative tale that showcases Stiefvater’s impressive abilities of bringing any character to life. Despite it all, I’m still sad to have to say goodbye.

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Book Review – Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

November 13, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie StiefvaterBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Published by Scholastic Press on October 21st 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

four-stars

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.

The Raven Cycle series

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseMy Review}
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseMy Review}

“…three sleepers –light, dark and in between. The knowledge that Artemus was underground. The certainty that no one was coming out of those caverns unless fetched. The realization that Blue and her friends were part of something huger, something vast and stretching and slowly waking — “

In Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third in an anticipated four installments, things are beginning to culminate in the most unlikeliest of ways for Blue and the boys. Blue’s mother, Maura, has been gone for the last several months on a mysterious personal quest that she informed no one about, leaving behind a cryptic note which states far too simply “Glendower is underground. So am I.” In their continued search for Glendower, the three sleepers and now also for Blue’s mother, the group discovers that there won’t likely be an easy solution to this chaos they’ve immersed themselves in.

“Queens and kings
Kings and queens
Blue lily, lily blue
Crowns and birds
Swords and things
Blue lily, lily blue”

 This series continues to be truly amazing. I admit, I wasn’t sold on it at first because it was really quite strange and the concept of the story is not an easy one to wrap your head around. “So, basically, this ancient Welsh King managed to get himself buried in Virginia of all places because of this mysterious ley line that runs through the town and some prep school boys and their friend Blue are all trying to hunt him down because the one who wakens him gets a wish. Yeah, kind of like a genie, I guess.” Strange, right? I thought so. But wow, so incredibly original, utterly convincing, compulsively readable and possessing a most impressive depth to the whole magical tale. It’s a very convoluted series with various different storylines all playing at once but Maggie Stiefvater is an absolute pro at making everything clear and vivid. This entire series is such an intense experience, I’m so very anxious to see how all the pieces fall in the final installment.

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Book Review – The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

September 20, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Published by Scholastic Press on September 17th 2013
Pages: 416
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

four-stars

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

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.

The Raven Cycle series

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) {My Review}

The Dream Thieves is the story of a boy with the ability to make his dreams a reality, of a continued quest to uncover the lost Welsh King and the realization that time may be running out.

I loved The Raven Boys, however, I found the ending to be far too abrupt and introduced a fascinating storyline that just didn’t give me enough. It felt like a pilot episode and left me eager for more but also left me disappointed. The Dream Thieves definitely solved that and then some. When I started this book I noticed a lack of a refresher and I struggled to recall particular details from The Raven Boys. I actually found a fabulous recap written by Maggie Stiefvater herself (here if you’re interested) but oddly enough I ultimately didn’t need it. While TDT is a continuation and second installment of a series it felt separate and completely new from the storyline that was previously established.

What I loved most about this story was it took an even bigger leap into the fantasy and magical aspects whereas The Raven Boys merely trod the line. While fantasy is not my go-to genre, this type of fantasy is done in such a conventional way that blends well with the contemporary background the story is set in; it doesn’t ever seem clunky and out of place. It’s such a wonderfully inventive type of magic too. The ability to draw items from your dreams and have them become a reality? I love it.

One thing which was done differently in TDT was that so much focus was placed on Ronan and Adam that the other characters became secondary characters and were oftentimes unessential. Blue’s mother Maura and her fellow psychics had more of a place in the story than Blue herself and Noah was practically nonexistent (except for one incredibly unforgettable scene *sniff*). While I missed the shared distribution of characters, I did enjoy this in-depth look into Ronan and finding out what makes him tick. Two new adversarial characters share a bit of the spotlight though: a fellow Aglionby student, Joseph Kavinsky, a ticking time bomb that is unknowingly affecting their search for Cabeswater and The Grey Man who is searching for the same thing.

With a double dose of fantasy in a contemporary world and a hint of romance and eternal friendship, The Dream Thieves is an exciting follow-up to a spectacular series. It is a gorgeously written story with such a fresh and unique feel to it and of course sets the scene perfectly for the next book which I am already anticipating.

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Early Review – The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

September 16, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from a Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Press on September 18th 2012
Pages: 409
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Dream Thieves

four-stars

“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.

“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.”

Easily one of the most hyped books of the year, Maggie Stiefvater’s first installment in her Raven Cycle series was high on my to-read list. I wasn’t left disappointed but as far as first installments go it could have been better.

Blue Sargent is a non-seer but has the gift of being able to amplify other seers powers. On the Eve of St. Mark’s Day Blue’s mother, a clairvoyant, sits watch over the churchyard all night to watch the ghosts of those that will be passing over in the next year. Blue accompanies her mother even though she’s not able to see any of the ghosts. Except she does this year. A boy wearing the uniform from Aglionby Academy named Gansey; a Raven Boy. And the only reason a non-seer would see a spirit is he’s either Blue’s true love or she’s the one that kills him.

Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah (otherwise known as The Raven Boys) have their own mystery to add into the mix. Gansey has become obsessed over the years with finding the local ley line and believes that once found he will be able to locate an ancient and mythical sleeping king and that he will grant him a wish.

Despite the initial hint at romance, it never actually made an appearance. It was a nice change from the typical though. I was loving the whole Practical Magic feel and loved Blue and her eclectic household. The group of boys aptly named the Raven Boys were quite charming and reminded me a lot of the group of friends in The Secret History (at least before the whole sleeping king granting wishes came into play). The multiple storylines were intriguing, nicely written and converged well with one another. The only problem is it is a bit slow-going at first so patience may be required for some. Also, fans of Maggie Stiefvater may find that The Raven Boys is missing some of her beautiful prose that she’s so famous for.

I would have gladly given this a solid 4 stars; however, I had one HUGE problem. I wouldn’t say that there’s a huge cliffhanger, but more that there isn’t actually any resolution to be seen. No conclusion. No answers. I understand that this is the first in the series but it definitely had the feel of a pilot episode and despite the fact that I will still be waiting with bated breath for the next installment I really wish we would have been given more.

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