The Raven King was definitely one of our most anticipated books of the year, and, as its publication approached, I oscillated between feelings of excitement and complete dread. Excitement because I just had to know what was going to happen to these beloved characters. And dread because then the series would be over.
Last week I was flying from California back to the east coast. This was the day after The Raven King came out, and I had been seeing people post it all over Instagram. Suddenly, all the dread disappeared. I wanted to read it so badly. In the airport, just before I got onto the plane, I made the split second decision to download it then and there. It was the right decision. By the time I got home I was almost halfway through the book. I then finished the next day in the wee hours of the night (thank you jet lag).
About the Books
To put it simply, The Raven Cycle is about a group of private school boys searching for the tomb of a Welsh king in the wilds of Virginia. In the first book, Blue Sargent, the only non-psychic in a household of psychics, gets adopted by the group and becomes involved in the search for the king.
That's the simply version, in reality the books are about friendship, family, magic, love, curses, dreams, fate, and mystery. All the characters' stories interweave and their love for and dependence on one another gets stronger and stronger.
Why I Love Them
1. The tight-knit gang of boys.
This has got to be number one. From the very first book I was utterly captivated by way that Maggie was able to so perfectly convey the friendship between these boys--Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and, in the last book, Henry.
2. Blue Sargent and the boys.
I can't help but love Blue, and I love the bond that she develops with all the boys. Of course, I adore Blue and Gansey together; even though they can never kiss thanks to a pesky prophecy, there is so much heat between the two. But I also love how Blue plays a special role for all the boys. I especially love the scenes with Blue and Noah.
3. Ronan and Adam.
With Ronan and Adam Maggie has crafted a characters that are tough and vulnerable all at once. As much as I love Gansey, and I really love Gansey, these two are at the heart of this series. Plus, they have some really cool (creepy) (crazy) magical abilities.
4. The residents of 300 Fox Way.
That house of psychics, Maura, Orla, Calla, Persephone, makes me so happy. Happy because there are some adults in the story, and they are even semi-responsible (yeah!), and they play a big role in action.
5. The setting.
This is a huge one for me. Huge. As in it should probably be higher up on the list. The town of Henrietta, Virginia is as much of a character as the characters themselves. I love how the books follow the seasons (The Raven Boys - Spring, The Dream Thieves - Summer, Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Fall, The Raven King - still Fall). In The Dream Thieves I could feel the hot, steamy, stickiness of summer. In Blue Lily, Lily Blue I could feel the crisp fall air and the see the riot of fall colors. I kept thinking about how amazing it would be to do a Raven Boys road trip. I don't live that far from Virginia. Maybe I could make that happen.
6. The revolving villains.
I actually really love how the villains keep changing in The Raven Cycle. I think it keeps the books focused on the Raven boys and Gansey's search for Glendower, rather than shifting it to a struggle between the good guys and the bad guy. And, I like that some of the bad guys are a little less bad and a little more complicated.
7. The magic.
The Raven's Cycle has some crazy magic. In Cabeswater the trees speak Latin. Dreams become reality, and people can make deals with trees. Sleepers wake after thousands of years. A kiss can kill your true love. Prophecies come true.
8. The gorgeous writing.This one has to be last because none of the above works without glorious writing, and Maggie's writing is lovely and lyrical and full of emotion.
Most Read Authors: Maggie Stiefvater posted here.
You can also find a review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and Sinner there.
Review of The Dream Thieves here.
Shiver featured here.