Series Review – The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

book-review-the-raven-cycle

The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #1, #2, #3 and #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: September 18th 2012, September 17th 2013, October 21st 2014 and April 26th 2016

Publisher: Scholastic

Format: Kindle Edition 468 pages, Kindle Edition 453 pages, Kindle Edition 400 pages and Kindle Edition 448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: June, July and August 2016

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

The Raven Boys Cover

The Raven Boys

4 Stars

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.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This story is weird but intriguing, it hooked me from the beginning and the set up and connections between the characters is really intricate, involves dead kings, cars, ghosts, psychics and ley lines.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
It’s really quirky and funny, it has its sarcastic lines and honest, real and current anecdotes, but it’s also atmospheric and dark, it lends a very heavy and ominous feeling to the story and its very moody as in it translates its moods very well.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Our main cast of characters is so unique and special and real.
Blue is eccentric. She’s really smart and tends to be sensible and look at things with a logical perspective. But she’s kind and open and sweet and wants nothing more than to be part of an adventure.
Gansey is just adorable. He’s smart and caring. His determination is one of his strongest qualities but he’s also very opinionated. He tends to come across as self-righteous but he’s really not.
Adam and Ronan aren’t delved into as deeply in this book but we get some insights into their characters anyway. Adam is really prideful but that hides a lot of hurt and pain from his life. Ronan on the other hand is defiant and yet connected to something far bigger than him. And in the end there’s Noah whose entire life is just one big plot twist.

The Dream Thieves Cover

The Dream Thieves

4.5 Stars

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.
Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book is action packed and intense, there’s magic, violence, and many twists and turns throughout, it’s a lot heavier than the first book and it’s more focused on character development which I appreciated and enjoyed.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve come to notice that Maggie’s writing style is very concise and deliberate, it’s well thought out while still being entertaining and realistic, the prose is eerie and leans toward creepy at times but it’s lyrical and poetic and really beautiful all the same.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
In this book we got to know some of the other characters a lot more.
Ronan is intense but he has an emotional depth to him that I didn’t realize was there. He’s vulnerable and soft on the inside but at the same time, rough and tough around the edges. I fell in love with him in this book.
Adam is like little boy blue. He’s lost and confused. He’s very angry about his life and how it is and he’s frustrated that he can’t seem to move past it. But at the same time, he’s so open and honest with his friends (most of the time). I’m still figuring him out.
Gansey and Blue take more of a backseat in this book though they are still protagonists. He is extremely frustrated and feels trapped while she is strong and a force to be reckoned with. I love them both. And in this book we meet the Gray Man who is both intriguing and a little scary to be honest. I can’t wait to see where they all go from here.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue Cover

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

4.5 Stars

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.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Every time I start a new book in this series it seems like things get kicked up a notch, this one is full of suspense and horror, action and death, the magic is so much more impressive and wondrous, it’s a lot more emotional and intense, things are getting more and more complex and THAT EPILOGUE THOUGH.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Again concise and deliberate, nothing feels like it was thought of out of nowhere, it’s both intense and entertaining, it’s beautifully poetic and lyrical while still being honest and sarcastic and funny, it still paints the plot and atmosphere to feel very creepy and eerie but it’s so easy to read.

Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Again this book changes focus within the characters.
Blue is such a wonderfully real character. She’s strong, determined and powerful. She’s compassionate and sweet even when she has no reason to be. I loved her growth in this book.
Gansey has won my heart. He has an anxious personality but he’s so passionate. He has more power than he believes in this crazy fantastical world but he’s still caring and smart. Almost like a mother hen in a way haha.
Ronan and Adam have both changed in my eyes for the better. Ronan is still a tough cookie but you can see how much he loves his friends and family. He’s a sweetheart deep down… deep, deep down. Adam on the other hand has had so much character growth it’s insane! He’s come to terms with himself and what he wants to do in life. But, and I never thought I’d say this, I need more romance in this series. I’m desperate!

The Raven King Cover

The Raven King

5 Stars

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.

Critically

Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
This was everything I ever wanted in a finale! It’s full of suspense and horror, death and action. There’s finally some tangible romance which I needed in my life more than I need air to breathe, it has it’s signature creep factor and it’s full of twists and turns while at the same time, tying up most of the loose ends. It was incredible.

Writing Style – 4 out 5 stars
I’ve become such a fan of the way Maggie crafts her stories. It’s atmospheric and kind of creepy but written beautifully in a lyrical and poetic way. It’s intense, emotional, powerful, imaginative and addictive, so easy to read. It has it’s funny moments and I can’t wait to dive into more of her work soon.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
It’s so bittersweet to say goodbye to this amazing and real cast of characters who have grown so much.
Gansey is just amazing. From the beginning to now, he’s kept his finest qualities (honest, determined, brave) but he’s also grown so much. He’s hopeful for the future and has lost that incessant need to search for a purpose.
Blue is just wondrous. She’s more than you think at first glance, in a lot of different ways. She’s a bit sad and vulnerable in this particular book but also hopeful for the future to come.
I think Adam is the one that has grown the most out of all of them. He was such a closed off character in the beginning but he’s come into his own, he’s more open and confident and it was so great to see his journey.
Ronan will always be my baby because he has such a harsh outward attitude, that is really not how he is. It’s not fake but he’s so much sweeter and much more honest and hopeful that it first appears. I just love them all to pieces.

Emotionally

This series is beloved by so many people that a part of me was really worried that I would not enjoy it as much as everyone else and I’m so happy I was wrong!

I had high expectations going into the first book and I’m so glad it didn’t let me down. The plot is intriguing. We follow Blue who comes from a family of psychics as she befriends a group of weird and unique boys on the search for a dead Welsh King, I was instantly captivated by this story even though I’m still not 100% sure of what happened in it. I think that’s a side affect of this world though, everything is so wondrously strange that a lot of things don’t make sense because they’re not really supposed to make sense. There are so many different pieces to this book that it makes the plot very intricate, multi-layered and sometimes just plain weird. To really understand this book and to fall in love with it, I feel like you have to let go and let yourself be taken with it. I can’t really explain to you what the plot is about because some things still don’t make sense to me. Some things I still can’t really wrap my head around but again, I feel like that’s the point. It’s a very whimsical world and you kind of have to accept it as the norm in this first book to be able to fall in love with it. I’m really interested to see what happens next and how both the characters and the plot develop as the books continue. As for the characters, I really liked Blue. She’s a well-developed and unique character. She’s quiet but honest and I feel like while she feels isolated from her family, she doesn’t purposely try to keep that boundary. She’s the kind of teenager that I was, not making trouble, being responsible and sensible but at the same time, wanting something more. Gansey is really sweet and caring, but sometimes it felt like too much. Almost like he was trying to overcompensate for his good fortunes in life by being just super duper nice. I don’t know that was just the kind of feeling that I got from him in the beginning. Adam annoyed me a little bit. He’s kind of stubborn and has a lot of pride which bothered me because it started creating unnecessary tension. Ronan is really mysterious. I don’t have a read on him yet but he seems like the kind of character that is more than meets the eye. Noah didn’t feel as important as the rest of the group until the end where I had the shock of my life!

I’m slowly but surely falling in love with this series. It’s just so magical and so is this second book. The plot is intense. We pick up right where we left off in the first book as the gang continues to search for the Welsh King and manage to find a magical forest called Cabeswater. This book is pretty much all about Ronan, hands down. I feel like each book focuses a bit more on a specific character and this one focused on Ronan. Not only do we get to know more about him, his life, his family, his quirks but also his character development is outstanding! I wasn’t super fond of him in the first book but seeing more of his personality and his point of view made me fall in love with him. Like the first book, this one is made up of so many different pieces, layers and characters. Everything is just so freaking weird and out of this world yet it feels true and believable as you read. One of my favorite parts of this series is that there’s a lot of characters and they all have different parts to play, no one is there to just because they can, even when it might seem weird for them to be there. Maggie is so conscious of everything she places in her books, it’s amazing. Ronan is such a contrasting character. We learn a lot more of his personality and his life and how he’s kind of a like a little sweet marshmallow on the inside. He’s smart though not really inclined to show it and he is really earnest. Adam was had more of a spotlight in the first book but also in this one too. He’s a little lost, not really sure what to do with his life. But he’s trying to find a purpose and an intent with his life. I definitely started liking him a lot more in this book. Gansey has a lot of frustration in this book. He feels like he can’t really do anything for anyone. And I just wanted to hug him a lot. Blue is lovely as always but I loved getting to know her family in this book. They’re so different and intriguing and interesting and honestly, totally entertaining. It was awesome to see all their distinct personalities and I loved how there were various parental figures in this series. And last but not least, the Gray Man is really strange but I want to know more about it, anxiously.

I’m slowly but surely falling in love with the characters in this series and becoming totally obsessed with them thanks to this third book. The plot is intense. This story picks up right where the second book left off and the gang is even more intent on finding Glendower but things just keep getting stranger and stranger. Honestly, this book passed in a blur for me and I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The plot isn’t particularly fast paced, none of these books are, but it’s addicting and the story just flew by. I honestly can’t tell you right now off the top of my head what happened in this particular installment. Again, don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it definitely showed me that in this particular series, I have a different focus. While I’m interested in the plot and how things connect with one another, because they always do, what really sells this series for me is the characters, their development and their relationships. I’m completely enchanted by their dynamic as a group and as an entire cast including the side characters. This book is about Blue undoubtedly. She’s finally finding herself and discovering her purpose. I love her determination in this book. She doesn’t sacrifice her beliefs for other people and she’s trying hard to expand her personality and stand up for herself. Gansey in this book broke my freaking heart. He’s just so vulnerable and sad and lost. I have this uncontrollable instinct to want to hug him every single time I read about him. Ronan is my favorite, I have no shame in saying that. He’s so tough and the kind that reacts violently to extreme emotions but he’s a sweetie on the inside. Adam’s growth in this series is phenomenal, especially in this book. He’s finally accepting himself and it’s just so wonderful to see!

To start off, I don’t think I can really explain all my thoughts and feelings on this fourth book. I’m sorry if its incoherent. The plot is everything. Everything I wanted and everything I needed. It’s a week after the events of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and  things are getting worse for our gang if you can imagine it. The gang is still on their quest to find Glendower but there’s a new energy screwing things up. What I wanted most from this book was a tying up of important loose ends but I got that and so much more! Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened in this book. Spoilers be ahead because last book! Blue and Gansey finally came forth with their romance and made my heart so happy! My ship sailed and they told their friends finally! It just made me so happy at the time until I realized like they can’t kiss which sucked. And thennn, there was Ronan and Adam which totally blew my mind! I didn’t really see it coming but when it was happening, my screech could not be held back! It was like victory! It was amazing and beautiful and made me really happy. Henry is a new character that has been part of the series for awhile but had more of a spotlight in this book. It was really surprising but I loved how Maggie managed to ingrain him in the series and in everything that was happening in the book so it seemed like he had always been there the whole time. I loved that! There’s this little part about Noah, who kind of took a backseat in the middle books because of his state of being, that blew my mind away. Honestly, the way this woman crafts stories is incredible. I loved the relationship between Gray Man and Maura even when they had to be separated for awhile but I did not enjoy their ending. Not fair dude. Ronan finally reconnecting with his brothers was so heartwarming and sweet. It was so nice to have that closed cycle and for their relationships to be repaired. Cabeswater disappearing broke my heart. Though I know why it happened. Blue’s father makes an appearance which was mind blowing but add that to the fact that he’s not a human which makes Blue like not human either. WTF. Biggest plot twist of life. I was terrified of what Gansey dying would be like and how it would happen and still my expectations and fears were blown out of the water. It was just as dramatic as I wanted and it wasn’t permanent! Yay! Honestly, what truly happened is still a little confusing to me, I don’t really understand it a whole lot but I’m just happy he’s still there! Not everything I was interested in got wrapped up but I feel like the important things were and what I wanted had a resolution. Easily the best part of this book and series is the characters. They’re all complex, unique and they just feel so real! I commend Maggie for creating such tangible characters because it just makes the reading experience so powerful and intense. They’re genuine people and they all grow in such beautiful and distinct ways. Perfect ending.

Overall, this series is amazing. It took me a while to really fall in love with it though I was instantly intrigued by the premise and the characters. The plot of the series is made up of so many different threads and connections and it’s so entertaining to see how everything connects. But the best thing about it is the characters and how well they’re written and how much you can connect to them. I can’t wait to read more from this author and I really can’t wait for more Ronan!

So that’s it for this post! Let me know if you’ve read the Raven Cycle or any other Maggie Stiefvater book. I’ve also read The Scorpio Races and I’ll be re-reading and finishing the Wolves of Mercy Falls soon. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors so I’d love to know your thoughts on her work. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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10 thoughts on “Series Review – The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I’ve been planning to read this series through to the end but haven’t had the time yet (so many books, so little time), and I’m super glad to see that your ratings went up to the end! It’s always great when a series finishes strong, and that doesn’t happen all that often, unfortunately. D:

    Liked by 1 person

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