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BOOK REVIEW: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

BOOK REVIEW: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

I don’t know. She held him tightly, loving him and keeping him. We could just stay here.
I love you, Blue, but I know what I have to do. I don’t want to. But I know what I have to do.

So the wait is finally over-The coveted final book of the Raven Cycle is finally out-or rather, I was one of the lucky people who got her copy early-and now all our questions have been answered (Were they, though??? No, not all of them, frankly). I finally found out the fate of my beloved Gansey and…I just can’t help to be a little disappointed. IE, this is me all alone, not liking this book:

 photo tumblr_mgwrwynsq01qe9jwko1_400_zps95hzq9rq.gif

It was this: this moment and no other moment, and for the first time that Gansey could remember, he knew what it would feel like to be present in his own life.

GAWD this makes me sicker than a dog, saying that. Was it because I expected too much?? Was it my fault for putting so much pressure on the finale of one of my favorite series of all time? Or could it possibly be that I blame the author a little bit? Because, in all honesty, I kind of do. I mean…this was supposed to be out 6 months ago or more. That’s a long time. At that point, it had already been a year wait, and then adding on many months more is a like a punch to the gut. When I found that out, I was one of those that figured it was more than worth the wait.

Gansey asked, “Do you have time to run an errand with us? Do you have work? Homework?”
“No homework. I got suspended,” Blue replied.
“Get the fuck out,” Ronan said, but with admiration.
“Sargent, you asshole.”
Blue reluctantly allowed him to bump fists with her as Gansey eyed her meaningfully in the rearview mirror.

But here I am, one of the privileged people lucky enough to have finished the book before it’s even been released, and I can’t help but feel like maybe I was a little disconnected. I LOVE Gansey…I can’t even breathe when I think about him. He will always and forever be one of my absolutely favorite book boyfriends ever. But, even with my large and obsessive I-lost-so-much-sleep-awaiting-Gansey’s-fate feels, I still didn’t fall in love with this story like I did with the previous three.

“For what?”
“Emptying another student’s backpack over his car. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“I do,” Ronan said.
“Well, I don’t. I’m not proud of it.”
Ronan patted her leg. “I’ll be proud for you.”

I guess maybe I should be up front and say that I didn’t think there was enough Gansey-or even Blue-for my liking. And when he did appear?? He was like….so boring. It crushed my heart every time he came on and was totally unlike himself, totally without that whimsical aura around him I’ve become used to. Call me selfish, but I guess I just wanted way more of the guy who has became a large part of my universe in the final installment. And also, just to be up front, I read this in one day and it’s hard to say if some things didn’t get lost in my mad dash to finish, so maybe I’m looking at this from entirely the wrong perspective. But then again…maybe I’m wholly right.

Ronan’s throat was raw. I’ll do anything! I’ll do anything! I’ll do anythi
It was unmaking everything Ronan loved.
Please

For those of you Ronan and Adam shippers, this is most definitely your book. I can’t say I’m bitter, because I am quite obsessed with Ronan and I don’t dislike Adam anymore, but it did suck to feel like this book was, yet again, focused on Ronan. Now, that being said, I have a certain friend I just know will die from excitement when she reads this. I’m happy for her-and all those who thought this was the best one ever-but disappointed for myself.

It was Blue’s shoulder and her collarbone and her legs and her throat and her laugh her laugh her laugh. He couldn’t stop looking at her, and here, it didn’t matter, because no one here cared that they were together. Here, he could play his fingers over her fingers as they stood close, she could lean her cheek on his bare shoulder, he could hook his ankle playfully in hers, she could catch herself with an arm around his waist. Here he was unbelievably greedy for that laugh.

I got a little greedy, is all, and I need to get my head on straight, because this book was fucking excellent, in more ways than one. I mean, the creepy demon in this one just…ugh it made my day. The problems in this story, they were everything I could ask for. And oh man….the things that happen because of evil….Agh! They are by far my favorite parts of the story and what made me the happiest-Now, hey, I never said I was sane.

“Don’t be like that,” Calla said.
“Like what?”
“Bitter.” Maura considered, and then added, “I just want you to look at your future as a world where anything is possible.”
Blue shot back, “Like Gansey not dying before April? Like me not killing my true love with a kiss? Any of those possibilities?”

I did cry, I did laugh, I did smile. Though, because of my disconnect somewhere along the line, it wasn’t as much as I had hoped I’d feel. I’d get the beginnings of butterflies and then they’d disappear almost as immediately as they appeared. I’m not used to this sensation when reading this series, I must tell you. And I don’t know if it’s because I was reading the hardback (though that’s SURELY not it?), because I just really needed more Gansey because, really, I really am just that selfish, or because….I just felt pressure to love it. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know. I am just sooooo mad and upset I didn’t feel the love I’m used to.

“I don’t know, Adam! You’re asking me to define an abstract concept that no one has managed to explain since time began. You sort of sprang it on me,” Gansey said. “Why do we breathe air? Because we love air? Because we don’t want to suffocate. Why do we eat? Because we don’t want to starve. How do I know I love her? Because I can sleep after I talk to her. Why?”

And you might be saying oh, but that’s a good rating! No…it is, really, but in Chelsea ratings? For books Chelsea loves and cherishes and adores and obsesses about for a year and a half?? This is a very lackluster rating. And it makes me so sad.

Richard Gansey was failing to sleep. When he closed his eyes: Blue’s hands, his voice, black bleeding from a tree. It was starting, starting. No. It was ending. He was ending. This was the landscape of his personal apocalypse. What was excitement when he was wakeful melted into dread when he was tired.

So. I don’t know. I just don’t feel like dwelling on why it wasn’t perfect for me as I had hoped it would be. There were too many extra POVs talking about things I just didn’t care about (THOUGH THEY WERE ESSENTIAL TO THE STORY, I REALIZE) and not enough of what I had hoped and expected and longed for. Gansey is still some one I will never forget and I will ALWAYS obsess about this series…but, even with all the peril and darkness and epic endings and fantastic writing…for me?? It just wasn’t enough.

Unmaker, unmaker, I wake, I wake, I wake

 

BOOK REVIEW – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

BOOK REVIEW – The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I reckon the reasons for which The Scorpio Races weaved itself throughout my beloved favorites could cause an opposite reaction to other readers. Do I care, though? No, because every slow-paced page, every heartfelt and beautiful sentence, every haunting and atmospheric landscape, every inch of Sean’s bloody-stained jacket and killer horse reminds me that if nothing else, The Scorpio Races has a soul, and I’m consumed by it.

“I am here on firm ground, but part of me is already down on the beach, and my own blood is singing I’m so, so alive

Sigh. I’ve been trying to put my thoughts into words for hours now, but it seems that The Scorpio Races joined the very exclusive club of the novels which mute my abilities to express myself. Puck and Sean’s story is burned into my brain, though, twisting my perception of the reality around me, Thisby’s landscapes forever ingrained in me. That’s why I cannot, I will not leave this space blank and no matter how impossible it seems at this time, I’ll try to do this wonderful book justice. Sorry in advance if I don’t succeed.

“Outside, the wind is a live, starving thing. The sky over Skarmouth is a dull brown, lit by the streetlights, but everywhere else is inky.”

■ If you’re – even a little – accustomed to Maggie Stiefvater‘s books, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the writing is nothing short of spectacular : compelling and beautiful, warming your heart a second and breaking it the next. How could I complain about the slow-pacing if I thought it was perfect for the story? I’ll tell you, I can’t. Is it subjective? Sure it is, and I understand the readers who were bored out of their minds. Yet I wasn’t. Never at any moment.

“Why aren’t you going?”
The question infuriates me. I demand, “Why is it that going away is the standard? Does anyone ask you why you stay, Sean Kendrick?”
“They do.”
“And why do you?”
“The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr.”

■ I genuinely think that your ability to enjoy – to love – the plot depends on your expectations. Does The Scorpio Races revolve around the sea killer horses and the race taking place every year on Thisby’s beach? Sure, but if you think that’s all it is about, you will be disappointed. Many readers pointed it, and they’re right : the race doesn’t start until the very end, and is only an excuse to deal with the real issues in my opinion.

What issues?

The raw and frightening feelings one can experience when not sure if he – she – belongs somewhere. Through Sean, Puck, Gabe, Finn’s eyes, we witness different ways to answer the difficult question of who they really are and what they need to do to find happiness. Is it staying, whatever it takes? Is it leaving? Is compromising themselves okay to reach their goals? As much as I personally find that the “coming-of-age” label is often misleading, in The Scorpio Races it rises to a whole new level. I couldn’t be indifferent to their struggles, because as strange as it might be (given the fantasy elements) they felt real and heartbreaking and oh so moving. Beware of the harshness, though : many parts are – really – difficult to handle, especially because it contains cruelty toward animals.

■ As usual Maggie Stiefvater nailed her characterization. If I sure didn’t agree with every decision they took, none of her characters felt wasted and all of them provoked contradictory feelings in me. Honestly, they’re just so freaking amazing : well rounded-up, fleshed-out, and a little heartbreaking. Sean, in particular, made it impossible for me to not love him almost instantly : his wildness, his loyalty to Corr, his sea horse, his intensity – that boy didn’t need to talk for me to be lost forever.

“All I know is that Sean Kendrick rode that bay mare and waited until he was nearly over the cliff edge before saving himself, and that the dead speak more than he does.”

The Scorpio Races changed me, somehow, even if I can’t pinpoint in what way so far, and this story will linger for a very long time in my heart. Now, tell me, what better compliment could I give it? None.

BOOK REVIEW – Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

BOOK REVIEW – Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie StiefvaterBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

My ten favorite things about Blue Lily, Lily Blue

“Ronan kept going, his voice louder. “No. Do you hear me, Cabeswater? You promised to keep me safe. Who are we to you? Nothing? If you let him die, that is not keeping me safe. Do you understand? If they die, I die, too.”

➊ To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Ronan takes the first place hands down even without having any chapter from his point of view. Actually, after the intensity of The Dream Thieves, getting to observe him through other’s eyes (who am I kidding : through Adam’s) was so so so satisfying. I want more, though.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue will be forever remembered as The Book Where I Finally Love Adam. Shocking, I know, given how much I wanted to slap his whiny ass in the previous books (sorry not sorry). First his evolution is freaking interesting on its own (who doesn’t like a Magician with Slytherin-ish potential now tell me? Okaaaay, I might be *a little* subjective. Look at my profile! *waits patiently* Now you get it) and secondly I just can’t ignore that 90% of his scenes are shared by The Boy Who Dreams Baby Ravens. Duh.

“With a savage smile, Ronan shoved the cart off the kerb and belted towards the BMW. As they picked up speed, Ronan called out a joyful and awful swear and then jumped on to the back of the cart himself. As they hurtled towards the BMW, Adam realised that Ronan, as usual, had no intention of stopping before something bad happened. He cupped a hand over his nose just as they glanced off the side of the BMW. The unseated cart wobbled once, twice, and then tipped catastrophically on to its side. It kept skidding, the boys skidding along with it.
The three of them came to a stop.
“Oh, God,” Adam said, touching the road burn on his elbow. It wasn’t that bad, really. “God, God. I can feel my teeth.”
Ronan lay on his back a few feet away. A box of toothpaste rested on his chest and the cart kneeled beside him. He looked profoundly happy. “

➌ I’m gonna throw a PYNCH on there, because I’m redundant like that. Seriously, though. SE-RIOU-SLY. 80% of my favorite quotes are reformulations of something like… meanwhile, Ronan and Adam kept disappearing together.*Almost* every favorite scene stars them : the BARN. The CHURCH. The GROCERY STORE. Oh. My. Gosh. From the shortest looks and grips to the most adorable and heartbreaking interactions, these boys put my heart into overdrive.

#Can’t Compute
#ISHIPIT.ISHIPIT.ISHIPIT.

“Light, or something like light, reflected off it onto Ronan’s chin and cheeks, rendering him stark and handsome and terrifying and someone else. Then he blew on it. His breath passed through the word, the mirror, the unwritten line.
Adam heard a whisper in his ear. Something moved and stirred inside him. Ronan’s eyelashes fluttered darkly.
What are we doing –

➍ Granted, we can say what we want about these books, about the confusion of their plots and the true love bits and Mallory’s dog (okay sorry dog, that wasn’t called for), but the beauty of the relationships pictured will forever make them special for me. The loyalty despite the doubts, the trust – even if sometimes begrudgingly given at first – the support and the BANTER between Blue and her boys is EVERYTHING. Honestly? They’re just all kinds of amazing and a little heartbreaking.

“Ronan’s arms were still locked around her; she felt them quivering. She didn’t know if it was from muscle strain or worry. He had not even hesitated before grabbing her.
I can’t let myself forget that.

You better not is the only thing I will say.

“The door cracked open…”

You know what I mean, guys. The FEELS.

➎ ♪ SQUASH ONE, SQUASH TWO, S-♫

Greenmantle and Piper. Erm- this is the moment I’m supposed to feel bad for loving the villains, right? But-but-b- they’re funny! Who am I to resist them tell me?

➐ JESSE THE YELLER. BECAUSE HIS CURSE IS BADASS TOO. ALSO, I HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR CHARACTERS WHO USE CAPS. BECAUSE OF REASONS.

➑ There’s nothing better than late night calls, don’t you think? (here’s the moment 99% of my friends think, FUCKING FINALLY, ANNA! Oops)

Calla and the Pretty One‘s argument. Or is it Richie Rich? I can never remember.

It’s official : there’s nothing like a Raven Boys reread to make yourself feel a special kind of stupid; so many hidden details that came to light, I can’t even. Really, though : how in the world did I miss so many things the first time? HOW? Was I high or something?

Oh, nope. Maggie Stiefvater‘s plot is just way more layered and complex than I first imagined. Or, I’m smarter now (somehow I doubt it) (it’s been 2 years, not 2 decades)

Sigh. Now I wait.

BOOK REVIEW – The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

BOOK REVIEW – The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

“Suddenly, for the briefest moment, panic forced itself up.
Am I a dream creature? Would I know?

► No one is more flabbergasted than me to realize – to confirm – that Ronan Lynch is undoubtedly my favorite.

RONAN. FREAKING. LYNCH.

Ronan, who’s so keen on showing the kind of thrill-seeking, self-destructive behavior I would usually hate and manages to make me love him nonetheless. Tell me, is there something more powerful than the annihilation of a usual revulsion? I don’t think there is.

He’s so freaking stupid at times. Unable to fucking communicate. It would be so, so easy for me to despise him and hate him a little. Except I don’t, I cannot. I’m way too busy caring for him.

“Ronan watched Gansey over the body of the creature – it seemed even larger in its death – and his expression was as unguarded as Gansey had ever seen it. He was being made to understand that this, all of it, was a confession. A look into who Ronan really had been the entire time he had known him.
What a world of wonders and horrors, and Glendower only one of them.”

Perhaps I should try and explain why – how – he can avoid my ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME radars… It has to be something, right? It has to be some quality I can quantify? Should I wait for some fucking epiphany about why I’m not growling and facepalming and rolling my eyes?

You wish.

There’s only Chainsaw and a baby mouse and longing. There’s only brotherhood and family and hurt and hurt and hurt. Loneliness and anger and that dazzling smile that escapes, escapes, escapes.

There’s also “I’m being perfectly fucking civil” , because come on now.

I know you smiled too.

“And you, Ronan,” Niall said. He always said Ronan differently from other words. As if he had meant to say another word entirely – something like knife or poison or revenge – and then swapped it out for Ronan’s name at the last moment.
“When you were born, the rivers dried up and the cattle in Rockingham County wept blood.”

If this reread taught me something, it’s that above the mysteries – no matter how intriguing they are – Maggie Stiefvater‘s novels are always so very character-driven. It can be seen as a flaw, or it can be your undoing. Me, though? I love these Raven Boys to pieces – they’re real to me. Yet it’s funny how perception can change over the time, really. Indeed it seems that Adam and Blue switched roles during this second read : the first used to annoy me, and I liked the latter. Now it’s the opposite, but I don’t care, it doesn’t change anything because in the end, above the characters, what’s important here are the dynamics and the relationships between them all. Who cares about specifics?

“Ronan Lynch’s second secret was…”

Oh, yes. That. Strangely, I’m feeling more invested in that ship now. Go figure.

Also – so much foreshadowing : we can say many things about the plot – messy, slow, confusing – yet under the chaos hides order. There are so many tiny clues that I didn’t catch the first time, SO. MANY. How’s that for brilliant, I wonder.

I am not ready for this series to end.

BOOK REVIEW – The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

BOOK REVIEW – The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. 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.

4.5 stars, one stunned face, one hundred facepalms, a dozen OH MY GOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE WROTE IT THEN AND I DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE, one brilliant book.

“Ronan said, “I’m always straight.”
Adam replied, “Oh, man, that’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told.”

Truth be told, I wasn’t fully immerged in The Raven Boys when I first read it, and it took Ronan’s amazingness in The Dream Thieves to make me fall in love with these boys and their strange quest.

Honestly, I didn’t even want to give another chance at what stayed for me the weakest book of the series : God, I was so scared to be disappointed. Not because of Blue’s curse, as I never understood why people were annoyed with the “romance” here (understand : there’s none worthy of attention PYNCH!! , definitely nothing going on between Blue and Gansey, and no will they/won’t they vibes yet in my opinion), but because I found it so sloooow and all kinds of confusing (yes, I mean that it made me feel stupid. No, that is NOT a feeling I enjoy)

Trust me : I am so very surprised at how much I loved it this second time.

One word: FORESHADOWING

All week I’ve been rereading these books and every one of them left a stunning impression on me because of how brilliantly Maggie Stiefvater crafted her plot. Indeed I can’t even count how many times I stumbled upon a sentence and widened my fucking eyes before such talent and well, planning. I don’t know about you, but in the past few years I’ve been too often appalled by how weak and nonsensical plots could get, especially in PNR.

Really, did you look at my name? What do you think, that I chose “frowner” out of the blue? (haha) Elite, Inescapable, Hush, Hush, Alice in Zombieland – They all have a hand in this. Fuckers.

Anyway – what I meant to say is this : no matter how confusing it can appear at first glance, it is NOT messy at all : everything has meaning, even if I didn’t manage to understand it two years ago. Oh! And I should also tell you that I was OVERWHELMED by feels. I know, I know. How can the story’s impact be more powerful the second time is beyond me. I mean, hello, I know all the twists. Go figure.

Not to mention that all these Chainsaw feedings were fucking cute.

OKAY?!
Okay.

RONAN’S THE BEST?!
Ronan’s the best.

Now, is this review useful for you who never read it? The fuck if I know.

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