Reviews

Series Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

So my March TBR kind of took a backseat when I decided to read The Raven Boys as my last read of February. I was wondering what route this series would take and knew I couldn’t move onto any other books I wanted to read until this series was completed. Lucky for me, my reading game is still going strong so it hasn’t taken me too long to read these four books. Instead of doing four separate reviews, I thought I’d put all my thoughts together here. So let’s get started!

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theravencycle

Book 1: The Raven Boys – Rating: 4 stars

Book 2: The Dream Thieves – Rating: 3 stars

Book 3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Rating 3.5 stars

Book 4: The Raven King – Rating 4 stars

Overall Series Rating: 4 Stars!

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TRB synopsis from GR:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is 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.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

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This series has filtered in and out of my radar for a couple of years now. It’s always been on the fringes of ‘maybe I’ll read that someday’. I decided to take the leap recently when I had been hearing about the series again over on Booktube and minutes later had bought the first book on my tablet. But even though I had heard about it over some years, I had no real clue what this book was about, and why some many people adored it. I didn’t know how compelling this series was going to be until I was already in it.

There’s something quite special about the feel of these books. There are so many mystical strands woven into its plot that it’s hard not to be drawn in. The story is set in the town of Henrietta, where rich boys rule the roost and odd happenings are part of the norm. We meet Blue and her family of psychics and Gansey and his rag-tag team of boys, and join them both on a hunt for an old Welsh king and further understandings of themselves. This series was both humorous and serious. It was both fast paced and gripping. It was filled with familial moments and supernatural happenings. To me, it felt like a hodgepodge of all the things you look for in a good YA series, so I was overall pretty happy.

For me, the characters really stole the show in the series. I was instantly drawn to the character of Blue, who felt stifled by the long-told prophecy that she would kill her true love with a single kiss. What an intriguing start to a story! She was both likable and stubborn, and it was easy to understand her determination and wish for adventure as we learned more about her. Gansey was an equally intriguing character and became more likeable as his character was fleshed out and, like Blue, you started to see his different layers. They many other characters featured in this book were all well thought-out and integral to the story. I loved the ladies of 300 Fox Way and I enjoyed watching Mr Gray as he changed from what he was made to be, to who he actually was. I found it harder to get into Ronan’s character – who is often said to be a favourite – but by the end of the series, I was totally on board!

The main settings of Henrietta, Monmouth Manufacturing and Cabeswater were well structured, and (as often happens for me when I read a YA series) there was nothing left to be desired in terms of world building. I have to say that some of my favourite moments in the series were where the boys and Blue were discovering Cabeswater and all it’s wondrous parts. Cabeswater in particular felt almost like a character – and I suppose it kind of was – and it was nice to go on a journey with a setting as well as the characters.

I found the plot of all the books really intense! There was so much to keep a track of and be reminded of throughout that I sometimes found it overwhelming. It’s been a while since I’ve read a true YA supernatural series so I felt a little out of practise as how to keep up with a world that is throwing things and information at you left, right and centre. I was in two minds about this as I read the book – which explains my ratings. I was completely involved in the plot and constantly wanting to turn the page to read more; I could never see what was coming next – and those are all good things. But at the same time, I was left with the sense that I wasn’t truly understanding what was happening. I felt I had all the components but couldn’t quite fit them together. There were parts where I wondered if I’d missed some information, because I wouldn’t understand why this worked or didn’t work. This was the only real flaw I found in reading this series. But also, it could have been that I was reading them so fast that I couldn’t take it all in. Who know.

The only other niggle I had was about the end of the series. This is spoiler-free (as much as possible) so I won’t give anything away but I will say: I HAD NO PROBLEMS WITH THE CONTENT OF THE ENDING. I was slightly annoyed by what was left out. It felt like a significant page had been ripped out of the novel, and I wanted to know what had happened THEN, rather than perhaps what was given in the last few pages. But I suppose that’s why fanfiction exists, haha!

So really, if you haven’t picked up this series yet and you’re looking for something mystical and mysterious with a fast paced plot and strong friendships, this might be the thing for you! I’m really glad I read this – it’s another series to tick off my ever growing list.

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What were your thoughts on this series (no spoilers please!)? It’s much beloved and I can totally see why!

Thanks for reading!

 

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