Book review: The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven King, Book IV of the Raven Cycle. Scholastic, 2016. $18.99. ISBN 9780545424981. 439 pgs. Ages 13+. P8Q7

stiefvater-raven-kingThis is the fourth and final book of the Raven Cycle. The story continues with Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah on their quest to find the mythical king, Glendower, and the various storylines that developed in the first three books. As before, the language is lyrical and beautiful, and Stiefvater’s dark and somewhat sinister atmosphere and unusual ideas about magic still worked for me. I did feel, however, that the story got overly complicated, and some new characters that were introduced felt like clutter. At first I was unhappy with the ending- the quest to find the king didn’t culminate with a happy and neat feeling. After thinking about this for a while, I think that it’s actually very appropriate, and mirrors the frustration of Gansey and the other characters. I finished the book about a week ago, and bits of it keep popping up to me.

VERDICT: I recommend the whole series for high school and public libraries (either for YA or adult readers). I think it will become a classic over time, with its exploration of love, responsibility, loyalty, and friendship. The series does need to be read in order; this book wouldn’t make sense or draw readers in on its own.

February 2017 review by Carol Schramm.

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