The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462The Raven Boys

464 pages

Read: June 1st- June 4th, 2017

Rating: *****

17370618The Dream Thieves

450 pages

Read: June 4th- June 9th, 2017

Rating: ***

22978079Blue Lily, Lily Blue

389 pages

Read: June 10th, 2017

Rating: ****

25394092The Raven King

439 pages

Read: June 10th – June 11th, 2017

Rating: ****

***May contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read the series yet, proceed at your own risk***

Thoughts:

There is absolutely no doubt this is one great YA fantasy series. I have to admit, I didn’t expect much when I started reading The Raven Boys at first. I mean, the synopsis for book #1 is just… it’s just totally YA… true love and kissing ban and girl should not like boy because boy is rich and rich means evil apparently. And that’s what I found a bit odd… the blurbs didn’t really feel like they fit per book?! There’s just so much more substance to each book, to the whole series that I kept going back to the blurbs while reading and found myself shaking my head, thinking- no. just no.

Stiefvater writes a compelling story. I was completely and positively surprised by  a really strong plot with a great cast of characters. They all had their own thing going on and while Ronan was indeed the most outstanding in his abilities, at first I din’t really understand the majority’s fascination with him. Yes, he was the tortured ‘good’ guy but he was also unnecessarily asshole at times. I’m not even talking about the way he greeted or addressed his friends; ‘hey, asshole’… that’s not my problem, in my circle we lovingly called each other bitches. #nodramas But Ronan was just a bit too ‘strong‘… petulant… aiming to appear a man, and failing most of the time! And then he redeemed himself with small loving gestures and I thought- yes, it’s easy to love him because he needs it, but it’s difficult to love him because he won’t let you!

But! I did see his good qualities and started really seeing the things about Ronan that everyone loved towards the end of the series… I started to notice those things with Adam. Because I totally ship #Pynch (I can’t believe I just said that, bleh! I’m too old and uncool to use this lingo.) Anyway, Adam Parrish was, is, remains my favorite character throughout the series. I just love a hard working guy with principles and self pride who doesn’t give up! As for #Pynch… well, these two should have their own book series. Drop Gansey and Blue… let them run off into the sunset with an engine-less Camaro and Henry as the third wheel. What we need is a series about Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish… Greywaren and Magician living in the Barns with The Orphan Girl! Maybe a visit or two or three from Noah…

Anyway, it was great to see that Ronan, Adam, Noah, Blue and Gansey got equal amount of attention throughout the series. Their characters were as important to story progression as they were to each other. The hunt and adventure to  find Glendower is really a simple plot but the personalities around the story were what made it good. It was an imaginative adventure full of dreamlike events and I was captured fully by everything… I don’t know how to explain, but this series made me feel like it was one of those  really trippy dreams that wrap around like a comfortable blanket… there was no OTT high school dramatics (which I appreciated) and yet there was plenty of scenes and settings which were just youthful enough and exciting enough. There was also scenes which pulled the line in between the magical setting and real life, because no matter how fantastical the story is, the characters are still people with lives. Different lives, different backgrounds, different personalities. Clashes, sparks and expertly created relationship development.

I admire Stefvater’s writing in The Raven Cycle… it’s phantasmal! It’s… you can understand all the emotions and feel them, you can visualize everything and feel engaged, but nothing is delivered in painful detail… It’s the overall feeling as I read every page that- yes, this is pretty darned neat. Maybe, it’s because it’s YA but mature minds can add that extra spice in places where they want.. Hybrid series! That’s it… you’ll only get as much out of the story as you’re willing to take!  And I took a whole lot more! I really wound down the time in certain places and just let my mind wander…

Honestly, though, I don’t really know why I’m writing this post… I hardly have anything to contribute to potential readers… are there any potential readers left, even? Most everyone has been to Henrietta and 300 Fox Way (gosh, that house!)… But in a way, I feel like I need closure for myself. The series is read, the story is in my head and I need to move on even though I don’t want to. Henrietta’s ley line magic has captured me… but not without a minor grievance… Maybe because I read the 4 books back to back (yes, I like to be a rebel) within 11 days (I feel like I’ve been in Cabeswater, where did all the time go?) during which my expectations for the ending were running wild in my head.

The story kept building and building and building from book 1-3, to 4…. by way of new side characters, new (side)conflicts even though all the while the main goal was and always remained waking Glendower. And, perhaps, because first 3 books had built up such a storm, such a world, such a freaking experience, I was completely anxious 50% through the last book, because nothing looked like it was going to come to a grand finale! I mean… the ending was rushed… It felt rushed… the conclusions were weak when I compare them to the series overall. Some bits and bobs were tied off but they weren’t half as grand as the 3 books worth of a build up was. Those end conclusions could have lasted for another book’s worth of pages from that magical Stiefvater pen.

Then again… it’s just one of those endings that doesn’t deliver a conclusion for everything with a bow wrapped around it… it’s the end but not the end… In a way, I guess, the ending that didn’t deliver a conclusion for some of the side characters is making me feel like they’re there and they might be back… 🙂

A small thing to complain about though, in the grand scheme of things because I did enjoy the uniqueness of the story, the weaving of the words, the fact that Parrish and Lynch are somewhere doing their dream/magic thing, and that these are not the only sparks that are flying.

35 comments

  1. I only skimmed your review because I haven’t read this series yet *gasps* I know, I know!! I take it you liked it though from what I read?? I was trying not to spoil myself because its on my giant TBR pile??? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eurgh, Y-A, unclean, unclean!!!! 🙂

    In all seriousness epic review of the series and damn, you read it really quickly, the fast reading mojo must have been working overtime with you to thrash through it!!!! 🙂

    Lots of book series seem to have open-ended conclusions for some characters, guess it’s so the author can revisit the characters in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha… sprinkle some holy water in your eyes… to cleanse your grimdark eyes from the sin that is YA! XD

      Thank you, though… yeah.. I was really on a roll with the books… AND I even managed to watch TV and cook and clean the house 😀 so all in all it was a great experience. I don’t have to feel guilty for living in a dirty house because I was too busy reading XD

      You make a valid point re endings… I sure do hope that Stiefvater will revisit some of the characters… that would be mega, she writes a mean book!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this post! You definitely reminded me I have to continue this series some time soon… I read The Raven Boys last year and really enjoyed it, so I guess it’s just another of those series I planned to continue but never found the time for. 😉 Good to know the second is actually the ‘weakest’ of the bunch; at least I know now to keep reading them even if I don’t really like The Dream Thieves.

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  4. I totally agree with your critique. The ending was rushed and doesn’t feel like the end. I guess she wanted to leave room so she could hop back into that storyline and spin out other books, as she plans to do with a Ronan spin-off, I hear.
    I’m not a fan of Ronan or Adam or any of the main characters. I was much more focused on the psychics and would love to know more about them.
    And yea, the book is very YA and I didn’t expect to like it but Stiefvater’s writing pulled me in (I love her writing) and I got to like the psychics and the story and all. It was a good one.

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  5. I’ve heard so many great things about the series. I’m pleased that you were pleasantly surprised by it and it exceeded your expectations 😀 Great review! I really need to make a start on it myself at some point.

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  6. Yes there really is so much more substance to this book series than the blurbs would have us believe!! Ah I get why it was hard to love Ronan at first- but I couldn’t help but be drawn to him because he was such a fascinating character, for all his sharp edges. And I totally shipped him and Adam too!! (hahaha I know what you mean about feeling too old for the lingo sometimes 😉 ) And yes I was grateful for there not being highschool dramatics too!! (or dramatic showdowns that centred on prom for that matter! Why is it always prom? Why do supernatural beings go to prom when they know it will all kick off there… ) I do agree that it felt a bit rushed towards the end, all things considered, especially because some parts of the build up were much slower. But I agree with you so much about how stunning Stiefvater’s writing style was!! And I’m so glad you enjoyed this series 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yhussss! 🙂 I’m kinda happy that we’re agreeing here re the series 😀
      Pfft. the prom… who knows… or the lunch hour: who sits where… two of the worts settings YA can deliver, but luckily this series was above all those silly shenanigans! It;s kind of like the horror movies where people always go outside half naked during the night… it’s like a ‘must have’ scenario which nobody really likes?

      I was thinking that I will definitely reread the series because in a way I think the second time I will enjoy it even more now that the urgency has passed to find out what’s going to happen and the small details will be there for savoring… plus, I think there’s a Ronan spin off in store for the future… so… yay! 🙂

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    • Hahaa… brill… I hope your eye didn’t get caught on any spoilers! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series… I hardly ever reread books, but it’s one of those I think I’ll defo be rereading in the future! 🙂

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  7. I wrote these off initially due to the blurb and a few reviews that lead me to believe this would be a series of teenage angst! How lucky am I that yoi decided to pick them up?! I am readding these to the pile my dear. If they compelled you to finish a series in such short time, they must be worth their weight!

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    • Woop, woop! Yes, Danielle… I’m glad you’re going to give this a go… I truly liked this series, more now that I think back about the 4 books generally… plenty of fabulous writing, great characters and even though in places it fluffed up with unnecessary detail, the overall experience is for sure worth a chance! 🙂

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  8. Wow. You completed the whole series! I actually find that quite amazing as.. I rarely manage to finish series, not because the first books are bad.. more like.. I end up starting new series, one after the other hahah This was however an excellent insightful review. It’s nice to see how much you enjoyed it and how you compare it to the other 3 books. I’m curious to see what the author will do next. Do you plan on trying out anything she writes in the near future? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah… do you know?! I’m weird like that with series… I rather just do a marathon than suffer the long waits in between books and/or not read the full thing and then feel anxious about how the story will progress and then the attention just goes while reading other books… odd… I’m like that with TV series as well… I rather the whole season is out and then I do a weekend marathon… I’ve done this through the Game of Thrones series… never watched it while it was on… everyone’s buzzing about it and Im like… yeah, whatever, I’ll wait till the whole thing is out and then I can just do a session! 😀

      Oh yes! I am definitely planning to read more by Stiefvater… not sure about the older stuff because there’s this wolf guy I think? I’m not big on shifters 😀 but future stuff for sure and there is actually a Ronan spin off in the cards and I bloody well can’t wait! 🙂

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      • I have friends who do the same. They hate waiting a week for each episode to come, they just binge through the whole season once it’s all out hahahah I’m actually half-half with the approach. I do follow shows on a weekly basis cause.. I hate spoilers and the internet is filled with them on release. I also like to wait a bit more for more episodes to come, and this is sometimes just due to the fact that I don’t have time or don’t have it as a priority. But I have to say that binging a series is a pain. I thought I’d be able to binge through the Foundation Trilogy, one after the other, especially when it’s in a pretty edition like the one I had, but then I realized how crazy that idea was hahaha I read so many other books in between each book! I’d probably have the same mindset for any series ever from now on hahah 😛

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        • You have a poijt about the spoilers but I don’t mind spoilers.. sometimes they make me even more interested in the show or book 😀 but I totally get your point… and indeed, the internet, the cafes and every place is a danger zone when it comes to spoilers!
          I remember a year or two back sitting in a cafe with the other half and the table next to us was filled with hard core GoT fans and they discussed the bits and bobs for all the seasons that were out by that moment… I hadn’t seen a single episode at that time … I wonder what would have happened if I’d just stood up and said- spoiler alert guys? 😀 hahaha, they would have probably thought I had been living under a rock for not having seen the show for so many seasons…
          Ah, that Foundation series edition you have is GORGEOUS!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the blurbs made zero sense to me.. it’s like they didn’t really deliver in the book AT ALL… then again… the book gave much more and in a better way than I would have expected… I swear I was reading each of these books and looking at the blurbs every now and then and just shook my head- nope, nope, nope 😀 I do think you’d enjoy the series though.. the writing and atmosphere is pretty decent! 🙂 And the characters are cool as well!

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  9. As you know I loved these books. My favorite was your least favorite though, ha ha! I was excited about her upcoming book(s?) based on Ronan, but I wish she would keep her mouth shut on social media.

    I almost didn’t finish reading The Raven Cycle because she was on Twitter while I was reading The Raven Boys telling people the reason bad things happen in your life is because you are putting bad energies out into the universe and you should check yourself and be a better person. I was fuming because I was thinking about her fans who might have an illness, or mental health problems, or had their house burn down, etc… What a shitty thing to say to people. I decided I was going to finish TRC books and be done with her. Then the new Ronan books started being talked about and it was doing the legitimizibg reading it (them?) thing because it was a Raven Boy MC.

    Now I think I have changed my mind about that because I saw the fallout drifting down on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that she got on a thread with writers of diverse books and told them if they weren’t getting a publishing deal it was because they weren’t working hard enough, not that it was more difficult for them. Geeze, I thought it was because they were putting bad energies out into the universe. What a self-absorbed turd she is. :/

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    • Oh my word! I never knew that?! Pfft… I always seem to miss the most important tweets usually that, you know, give insight into the author and I’m not one for scrolling either given I usually just check the latest what with the time crunch!
      but I am rather disappointed now myself… this is just now how things work in life and I agree, it was a shit thing to say…
      And to say that to writers as well? Gosh, some publishing deals deliver utter nonsense so it’s nothing to do how hard a wroter works… this is just… not on at all! 😦 Hmm…I think I need to start following authors more closely just to get a glimpse of who they really are…
      It’s a bit of a dilemma isn’t it for a reader.. well, it isn’t for principled people, they just boycot the author.. I’m kind of on the fence about it… as long as the book delivers, I rarely care how big of a turd they are IRL.. but maybe I should… something to think about for sure! Thanks for the insight!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think it matters more to me because I am so much older. Sometimes I will still read an ARC or a freebie book from an author that has said something egregious because I am not putting money in their pocket, other times they just totally rub me the wrong way and I say no more. Ha ha. I used to recommend the Mists Of Avalon all the time because it was Arturian legend from the women’s POV, but then Annemarie told me about the author and her husband being charged with child abuse and molestation, so no more recs of that author from me. I was going to reread it when I found it in storage, but now I am going to throw it in the trash. I don’t even want to give it to the library’s used book sale. :/

        Liked by 1 person

        • When you say you’re older, you really mean wiser! 😉 And I can agree with that- you are wiser!

          omg, are you serious re Mists of Avalon author + wife? That is absolutely horrrible!!! Fudge!
          This really makes me rethink on wanting to know more about authors…

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