In my review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I talked about some of my issues with the series/Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style. For the most part, I have loved and adored what she wrote throughout the series. In her first three books, she did a wonderful job of weaving plot and character development and little subtleties in her writing. The Raven King* had some of that, but left too many loose ends and gave what I would call a wrong ending for the readers of this series.
I wanted this book to be so much more. I wanted the ending of this series to be so much more.
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Title: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA Fiction, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy
Published: April 26, 2016 by Scholastic Press
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.
About: Maggie Stiefvater
“I am Maggie Stiefvater. I write books. Some are about dead Welsh kings. Some are about werewolf nookie. And some are about neither.
I have been a wedding musician, a technical editor, a portrait artist, and, for several fraught weeks, a waitress. I play several musical instruments (most infamously, the bagpipes), I still make art, and I recently acquired and unacquired a race car.
Currently, I live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with my husband, my two children, some cows, three dogs who fart recreationally, a criminally insane cat, an interminable number of miniature silky fainting goats, and one 1973 Camaro named Loki.
I like things that go.”
I hope this isn’t too spoiler-y for any of you who have read through the first of the books in this series, but by the end of this book, I wasn’t sure what exactly the plot really was anymore. I thought I knew what the plot had been throughout this series. Now I’m not so sure. From a writer’s standpoint, I can’t really even manage to piece out what Stiefvater’s actual plot was.
Her writing style is very unique and definitely not formulaic, but even so, a book needs to have sound plot in order to actually work. The ending was not what it should have been. It was small, and it was flat, and there were too many unexplained events. Side plots were introduced and played smaller, more unnecessary, roles than I expected them to. They didn’t add anything to whatever was her idea of the “main plot” of the series, and in fact took away from it. Made it feel less magical. Less special.
I’ve already talked about how much I enjoy the characters in this book in my other reviews of the books in The Raven Cycle, so I’m not going to repeat myself even though that basically leaves me to talk only about the negatives. First off, many important characters did not get the endings they deserved (or endings at all). The last we hear of a lot of these important, as well as smaller side characters, is them mid-action, and then we hear nothing more of them. On top of that, as was the case with the added and unnecessary smaller side plots, we get tons of unnecessary smaller side characters.
And many of these side characters, who in my opinion play huuuuge roles in the story, are just killed off in an instant. There isn’t even any build up or resolution to it. To, like, three or four characters who are very important. And I think that was really unfair. As with the case of one side character, he actually got a better resolution than others when he didn’t deserve it. I can’t mange to work out why Stiefvater invented these subplots and side characters and made them integral parts of the story when they were just (to be repetitive) unnecessary.
Blue’s curse and Gansey’s death:
I’m not going to talk too much about this, and I don’t think it counts as a spoiler because we all know it’s coming. We know from the first few chapters of The Raven Boys. Blue is going to kill her true love with a kiss, and Gansey is going to die sometime in this series. So it happens. <— and that’s about as much as we get from Stiefvater on the issue. I couldn’t tell if that was supposed to be the climax of the story, because nothing else really was (there was one moment that should have, arguably, been the climax, depending on what the plot should have been, but that was more of a big fat nothing than even this kiss – it was just a disappointment for the characters and readers alike). It was a small moment. And, to make things worse, it was unexplained.
As you can probably guess, I was unimpressed. I was actually really let down. I don’t think readers got the endings we deserved. It was like Stiefvater had been running out of time, or had just spun to many webs with loose ends to know how to tie them up in the end. Which is kind of ridiculous because I can think of a couple of way she could have done this differently. Maybe it was a lack of interest? She was ready to be done with the series? It was unfair.
I still stand by this series. I think it was a mostly magical journey, and many of the characters in these books are worth getting to know as a reader. However, as an ending, The Raven King was a disappointment.
I give The Raven King 2.5/5 stars.
Have you read this series? What did you think of the ending of The Raven Cycle? Did you think it was the right ending for the series? Do you have any other thoughts on things I didn’t touch upon in my review? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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