I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series and couldn’t wait to find out how she would wrap things up. So, I chose the fourth and final book, The Raven King, as my first book to read for my Big Book Summer Challenge. It was a suspenseful and satisfying conclusion.
I won’t be able to say too much about the plot, to avoid spoiling the many surprises in this exciting fantasy series for those who have not yet discovered it. If you haven’t read any of the series yet, check out my reviews of The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue and get started on this magical series.
Seventeen-year old Blue and her friends are back in this final novel. Blue goes to public school and has been brought up among a very eclectic group of psychics (including her mother), but the boys she hangs out with all go to the exclusive Aglionby Academy, what Blue and others refer to as Raven Boys. They are a close-knit group now, including Gansey, the wealthy, likable boy and leader of their group; Ronan, angry and hiding a terrifying secret from the world; Adam, a poor scholarship student who works hard; and quiet Noah. We have learned more about each of the boys with each book.
The boys’ quest to find Glendower, the mysterious Welsh king who was supposedly buried somewhere in the hills near their Virginia town, is still their goal, but now it is more a means to an end. Legend says that whoever wakes Glendower will get a wish granted, and the members of the group have each decided, individually, that the wish must be used to save Gansey’s life. At the start of the very first book, Blue saw a premonition that Gansey would die within the year, and that time is quickly running out. In addition, Blue has been told all her life that she is destined to kill her true love with a kiss, so there is that, too.
A new friend joins the group in this book. Henry is also a Raven Boy and has secrets of his own. He is tied into the complicated matters they are investigating in ways they never would have guessed. In addition, the evil stacked against them continues to grow, as collectors of magic artifacts descend on their little town due to rumors started by a nasty character from the third book. These ruthless collectors will stop at nothing to possess the powerful magic at stake.
As with the previous books in the series, The Raven King is action-packed and full of suspense. In fact, it is the most exciting and fast-paced of the series, as the forces of good and evil converge on little Henrietta, Virginia, for a battle to the death. But it’s not all thriller. Like its predecessors, this novel is also filled with friendship, romance, family drama, and plenty of supernatural magic. It’s a rollercoaster ride of a finale, filled with plenty of surprises and a satisfying, unpredictable conclusion. I can’t wait to see what Maggie Stiefvater comes up with next!
418 pages, Scholastic