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review 2016-05-01 10:25
Babbling Worship: The Raven King
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) - Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King

by Maggie Stiefvater
Book 4 (final) of The Raven Cycle

This book... This conclusion...

This series... This world...

These characters...

Everything was just wonderful.

**Was there every any doubt that this book would be wonderful?  (Hint: Maybe, but not very much... really.)


Warning: This is not a review. This is obviously a fangirl's squee.



“Depending on where you began the story…”
... it was about Blue and her Raven Boys...



To me, The Raven Cycle was always about the characters and their growth; their self-revelations, and their adventures as a lot of impossible things happened around them. It’s about a group of teens finding themselves and finding each other and finding out what kind of purpose they want their lives to be about.

To me, The Raven Cycle was always about the characters and how they loved each other and how they would always be together. Because while the story started out, four books ago, with a vague summary blurb about an angsty forbidden romance, the story ended with a group of growing kids who struggle through life and death and every other possible ugly thing in between and continue their adventures with an endless road of opportunities ahead of them.



Obviously I’m extra biased towards The Raven Cycle. Ever since chapter one of the first book, I had fallen utterly in love with our beloved characters and the world they live in, written beautifully in a magical, almost tranquil way. Well, to be honest, it took me more than one chapter, though I can’t quite pinpoint where in the first Raven Cycle book I fell in love with it and everything about The Raven Cycle.

I’m thinking it might have been somewhere around the moment that Gansey had said the words “And this is why I never wanted to have a baby with you…” to Ronan when the other boy adopted his raven... or something to that effect.

Or maybe it was at the point when I realized that Gansey wasn’t as typical and standard as he seemed at first glance.

And as each book of the series progressed, I realized that it wasn’t just Gansey I loved (even if he IS number one for me), but that it is definitely every one of the characters around him. Ronan grows on you over time and Adam is a bit of a conundrum. Noah is so piteously lovable in his own way. And Blue--Blue was already a readily likable person from the beginning.

All of the 300 Fox Way psychics had their moments. The Gray Man was full of badassery intrigue… and even the villains had their own share of charm that made it hard to dislike them a hundred percent.

Even the addition of Henry Cheng was quite magnificent. I found it hard to dislike him from some previously disagreeable dialogue he displayed as an Aglionby boy. But his end hour inclusion into our main ragtag group felt natural and somehow right. He was a pretty interesting character, that's for sure.

If we consider the “reviews” I’ve written for the past three books of The Raven Cycle, there is no doubt that this particular review of The Raven King will in no way help anyone decide whether they want to read this book. This review serves no purpose outside of my talking about how much I loved it. Because, honestly, if you’ve made it this far, I’d just assume that you’re willing to love the book even against all odds. 
Not that The Raven King doesn’t deserve to be loved, although I have to admit that it didn’t start out the best and felt a little slow-going in the beginning. But that slow-going was still very easy to love and readily readable. That slow-going was like a savoring of what we know is a beloved world coming to an end.

And to be honest, I kind of preferred it this way. In no way was this last Raven Cycle book a rush to find the conclusion, nor was it an act of throwing all the eggs together to create a finished product. Even if it technically IS a rush to conclude everything that’d been going on, even if it HAD rounded all the tangents together, it is a rather well-rounded conclusion.

I’m definitely satisfied with it.

Everything just kind of fell into place and I’m left with nothing but a bunch of scattered gifs trying to convey both the peaceful calm of how satisfied I am with the conclusion as well as the aggrieved feels of how empty I feel at coming to the final destination of a favorite series with characters I will probably forever love, who will have a special place in my heart for a long time, and I will miss immensely now that the journey is over.
Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/04/babbling-worship-raven-king.html
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review 2016-04-29 01:07
Review to Come: The Raven King
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) - Maggie Stiefvater

I'm actually not feeling entirely empty or Book Hangover-ish right now...


And yet...




I'm formulating a review and it might take a while to get there.



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review 2016-01-28 02:30
The Raven Cycle short drabbles!
300 Fox Way Holiday Piece - Maggie Stief... 300 Fox Way Holiday Piece - Maggie Stiefvater
A Mild Raven Boys Holiday Drabble - Magg... A Mild Raven Boys Holiday Drabble - Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle series

#0.3: 300 Fox Way Holiday Piece -- 3.0 Stars

#0.4: A Minor Raven Boys Holiday -- 4.0 Stars



How did I not know about these shorts?

300 Fox Way Holiday Piece // GR page
A Minor Raven Boys Holiday // GR page

Both shorts are cuties, but I liked A Minor Raven Boys Holiday a bit more. The first one, 300 Fox Way Holiday felt a little abrupt and inconclusive. Either way, it's Maggie and it's The Raven Cycle.


And also, A Minor Raven Boys Holiday is about Gansey and some thoughts into Gansey.  I love all things Gansey.


(The links above take you to the actual short story at their respective sites.)


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text 2015-09-04 03:18
The Raven Cycle Disney Princesses by Maggie Stiefvater

 If The Raven Cycle Characters were Disney Princesses...


Maggie Stiefvater -- Facebook



I love following Maggie on Facebook, because every so often you get a little gem such as this.  I just had to share it.  This article was epic!  And so accurate.


Happy reading!



Source: www.facebook.com/MaggieStiefvaterAuthorPage/posts/10154231338509466:0
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review 2014-10-24 03:44
A Quote-Bombed, Somewhat of a Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater

I don't think I'll ever be able to say anything useful in reviews for Maggie's Raven Cycle series. I never actually read the summary to this book and sort of just dove right into the reading. But as far as I can tell, we pick up where we left off from the previous two books--the continued search for Glendower on top of a new search for Blue's mother. New characters come into play and more secrets are revealed and we get lots more heartbreaking moments, bittersweet moments, and the heartwarming, fuzzy sweet moments.

The only thing that bothered me was that the story progression seemed a little slow. In spite of so many things going on and so much activity flying by, the direction of the story itself seemed a little confusing until a certain point when all of it decided to finally tie together.

But, nonetheless, I'm just so in love with all of it!

(And yes, I am aware that, upon finishing this post, that this review somehow turned into big compilation of quote-bombing. It just kind of happened. So much for a useful review, eh?)

- The writing is excellent, magical, whimsical, effortlessly amusing and humorous. There's more of a distinct strangeness to the narration and character dialogue that is so witty and fun. Always nonsensical, always silly, always one-liners that make you go back and think and then smile about it like an idiot because the quip seemed ingenious at the time, no matter how small or easily overlooked.

I spent so much time highlighting full passages for the witty humor, or the thoughtfulness, or the insight, or the strangeness... or even just because:

She was weirdly lovely, even though she had unevenly clipped her dark hair all over her head and wore a shirt she'd attacked with a rototiller. Or perhaps because of these things. When had she gotten so pretty and so grown-up? Without getting any taller? This was probably what happened to girls when they lived on only yogurt.




The only thing more pleasing than seeing Ronan singled out was seeing him singled out and forced to repeatedly sing an Irish jig.


"T.J. asked you out. You just stared at him. Ringing bells? [...]

Blue looked up (and up, and up) at her tall cousin. "At lunch, T.J. came over to my table and drew a penis on the unicorn on my binder. Is that the incident Charity is referring to?"

"Don't Richard Gansey the Third at me," Orla replied.

"Because if that's what she meant, then yes, I just stared at him. I didn't realize it was a conversation because penis."



Blue asked, "What kind of job are we talking about here anyway? Like, a job where we pull a salary and at the end we get our faces put up on the wall of a magical forest with Most Valuable Employee of the Epoch?"

"A job like, at the end of it, everything settles into balance and we all live happily the damn ever after."

"Well, that sounds great, except a, what about that sleeper in the middle and b, you can't actually complete a negative job ever, i.e., when does Mom know she's successfully not woken someone, and three, does this still involve Gansey dying? Because f, that is not my idea of a happy ending."

"I regret this conversation," Calla said, and began stacking receipts.

"Also g, I don't want to do school anymore."

- I love the characters from our main group of Raven Boys plus Blue all the way to the weird antagonists with their strange agendas (Piper and Greenmantle), and especially all the random side characters of 300 Fox Way.

I love how Blue describes her boys:

But what she didn't realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another.

There is a lot more character interaction that never ceases to draw me into the Raven Boys and Blue and their world of ley lines and dead Welsh kings and lovely, yet bitter sweet emotions. And the more I delve into their world, the more I love these kids.

Even Ronan is starting to grow on me as more of a dark-humored, ill-tempered, sarcasm-filled teen who just has problems expressing his love in a non-toxic way.

With acidic precision, Ronan replied, "For starters, I'd have to sleep right there by the pit, since I have to be touching something to pull it out of a dream. And I'd have to know what was on the other side to even know what kind of bridge to make. And then, even if I pulled all that off, if I took something that big out of my dream, it would drain the ley line, possibly making Cabeswater disappear again, this time with us in it, sending us all to some never-never land of time-space fuckery that we might never escape from. I figured after the events of this summer, all this was self-evident, which was why I summed it up before like so--"

Ronan repeated the noise of glorious disdain.

But these are sometimes the best friendships: when you can be honest with each other, when you can say whatever you want to say, offend everyone, be a shitbag, make jokes, and at the end of the day, you still care enough about each other and love each other enough to remain friends and be there for each other for the moments that matter. At the end of the day, even though you've been fighting forever, you're still the closest of friends.

Everything had begun ugly for Adam, but he knew what Gansey meant. His noble and oblivious and optimistic friend was slowly opening his eyes and seeing the world for what it was, and it was filthy, and violent, and profane, and unfair. Adam had always thought that was what he wanted--for Gansey to know. But now he wasn't sure. Gansey wasn't like anyone else, and suddenly Adam wasn't sure that he really wanted him to be.


Adam couldn't remember how they had managed to fight so continuously over the summer. Gansey, his best friend, his stupid and kind and marvelous best friend.

Blue has more development to go, but we get to see more of her personality and spunk. I'm not sure I remember her being so political about issues, but there's more tidbits involving her and her passionate views. On more significant matters, she begins to form an understanding of her powers and how to use them--that she's more than just a "psychic battery". There's a lot to do with auras and mirrors and whatnot and it's fascinating to learn more about the workings of the magical world of The Raven Cycle.

I thought we'd see more insight into Blue's world in this book, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue continues in the same fashion as The Dream Thieves had by not focusing entirely on one character. Unfortunately, it also doesn't really focus much on Blue. As far as development goes, she doesn't do much of it and remains fairly static in her growth.

Instead, we see more growing from the minds of Adam, Gansey, and even a small amount concerning Ronan. There are moments with Noah, but I'm going to say that his moments are more heartbreaking and full of conflict for the future than growth for the better--in fact, I'm beginning to worry for him as the series approaches the end and what will become of sweet, adorable, loving Noah.

"I'm tired of it," Noah said.

"Tired of what?" Gansey asked, voice kind.


He had been crying. That was what was wrong with his face, Blue realized. Nothing supernatural.

The friendships between our small group continue to grow stronger though, and that's what I really love about this series.

- As for Gansey, my love for him continues to be reinforced, over and over again. He's got a vulnerability that had always been lurking in the background that we get to see more of and comprehend in a better light. He's concerned for the fate of his friends, he fears for the fate of his own life, he's distressed over what had happened to him in the past (his death on the ley line and being brought back to life while another's life was taken), he's concerned for his friendships: Ronan's self-destructive behavior, Adam being too proud to ask anyone for help, Blue's current situation with her missing mother, Noah's continued decaying spirit...

I like that Adam is starting to understand better the workings of Gansey's person--that he's not just some entitled rich boy who wants the world to work the way he envisions it. That it's not that he's continuously treating Adam as an outsider or as a charity case, but that he genuinely just wants Adam to view each other as friends and equals. While he's not very good at it, he constantly tip-toes around his friends with his actions and words so he doesn't end up offending them or hurting them. Except at the same time, Gansey accepts that he is who he is and makes use of his position and his advantages to make life easier for everyone else.

I love his passion for his journey and his interactions with other people. I like that Gansey is self-aware of how people view him and how he views himself and he doesn't deny the truths.

"You better wait in the car with your fancy face."
Gansey was too aware of his face's fanciness to protest.

Also... I love how nerdy Gansey is:

Gansey caught sight of Blue then, and he rewarded her with his best smile--not his polished one, but the more foolish number that meant he was excited. "Hallo, Jane. Tell me what Iolo Goch means to you."

Blue pulled her thoughts from Ronan's mask and Noah and school. "A chest cold?"

"Glendower's closest poet," Gansey corrected. "Also, very funny."


"They were very poetlitical--poet--political." Gansey laughed at his own stumble. "Poets were political. I know that's not really a tongue twister. I've been listening to Malory all day. P-p-political. Poets [...] Really, if Glendower were Robin Hood, Iolo Goch would have been... that other guy."


Blue loved this ponderous, scholarly Gansey, too involved with facts to consider how he appeared on the outside.

Finally, we come to the end of this "quote-bombing" somewhat of a review... which I will round off with some tidbits and many more quotes from the book.

First of all, I have a love for running gags and long running jokes, and this book is just chock full of them that keep springing up at all the most random moments when you least expect a running gag.

1. Gansey's insistence on calling Blue by the name he'd given her in the first book, Jane, because it was easier to remember and more common. In turn, his British professor friend ends up calling her Jane as well and this has continued on for three books. It's sweetly adorable in a weird way.

2. Blue's shortness is called to question. I wasn't ever aware that Blue's vertically challenged stature was an issue in the previous two books, but it keeps coming up and I love how Blue is sometimes offended, how her boys will hit her with this same joke, and how she can turn right back around and use the gag to her own benefit. But mainly it just kind of comes out of nowhere.

"Oh, yes, you are blue," Malory agreed. "How perceptive you are. What was the name? Jane? This is the lady I spoke to on the phone all those months ago, right? How small she is. Are you done growing?"

3. The Murder Squash song... is what I think it's called. We first see it mentioned when Ronan is asked to sing in the cave to keep time since he knows "a lot of songs all the way through, and can do them the same speed and length every time." And yes, while I was a little taken by that, it brought up the Murder Squash song that we only get to see the first four words to each time it comes up:

"Squash on, squash two, s--" before someone cuts it off. Apparently Adam and Gansey are highly offended by this song and Ronan and Noah find it highly amusing to taunt the former two with it occasionally.


I'm afraid that if I keep going this rather useless post will go on forever, so I probably should just stop here.



On a note about the romance, I'm glad that it's such a subtle part of the story.  The forbidden, angsty love slowly building between Gansey and Blue is bittersweet, as it had started to become since the previous book.  The knowledge that getting together would hurt Adam's feelings lingers, the change in equilibrium between their group of friends remains a factor that neither is willing to disrupt, and just as well, the curse that Blue began the story with, wherein kissing her true love would kill him...


All of this just continues to build tension between Gansey and Blue on top of the continued existence of a social status difference between her and Gansey.


But since The Raven Cycle hinges more on the friendship dynamics of Blue and her Raven Boys, it's probably just as well that the romance takes a backseat in light of everything else that's happening around the kids.

Conclusion: Love! Feels! Awesomes! Gansey!

"Her aura is like yours--it's blue," he said. "The clairvoyant aura!"

"Is it?" She was going to be extremely annoyed if this was how she had gotten her name--like naming a puppy Fluffy.



"Mirrors," Gwenllian cooed. "That is what we are. When you hold a candle in front of a glass, doesn't it make the room twice as bright? So do we, blue lily, lily blue."


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