The release of the final instalment to our beloved The Raven Cycle last April was undeniably bittersweet. We were so grieved that we needed the whole of eight months to mourn before we could publish this post. Okay, not entirely true. Our absence from Cabeswater was majorly held liable by our senior year demands and graduation (and starting university and adjusting to a new life and basically every other empty excuse you can think of).
Despite everything, we are here to talk about it now! And you know what they say, better to be late than never.
Indeed the release of The Raven King had been bittersweet for us. It is, after all, our love for this particular series by Stiefvater that inspired us to create this blog. We know, we know. All good things must come to an end. Nevertheless, we’re pretty sure that you have some last thoughts on this series finale that you can’t seem to get over. Are we wrong?
1.) Gansey coming back to life
Listen, we here at Cabeswater cherish, adore, synonym for love Richard Gansey III with all our hearts. We knew for a fact that we would be torn apart when Gansey dies in this book; Maggie’s been telling us to mentally prepare since The Raven Boys.
So, finally, we get to the scene and Dre who has never cried because of a book ever in her life actually shed tears. Until she stopped crying because Gansey…came back to life???
Alright, we’ve seen how authors have pulled stunts like this before. Yet it doesn’t always work out for the best and in our opinion that’s what happened here. Again, we love Gansey. But for the purpose of the story and everything the series has been building up to, we feel that his sacrifice would have had more weight if he stayed dead.
Here’s why we disagree with zombie Gansey:
- We’ve been kept at the edge of our seats for four entire books only to realise that we had no reason to bite our fingernails in the first place.
- After being such a destructive force throughout the entire book, and the drive that keeps the plot going mind you, the demon just vanished as soon as Gansey died. Is it wrong for us to feel like it was too easy?
- It feels too Disney, too good-always-triumphs-evil. The fact that all the antagonists died, from the demon to Piper Greenmantle, and all of the protagonists managed to survive, discounting Noah of course – don’t worry, we have some comments about his sacrifice too – feels a bit too good to be true.
- We didn’t expect his dying by the kiss to be so literal. Didn’t Stiefvater prophesied that it would be Adam who would have Gansey’s blood on his hands (considering the vision that he saw of himself killing Gansey in the first book)? This “prophecy” seemed even more plausible by the fact that Adam was losing control of his limbs to the demon throughout The Raven King. So imagine our surprise when Gansey dropped dead the moment straight after their lips met.
2.) Auntie Maggie’s impeccable writing style
One of the things we loved the most about The Raven King, and about the entire Raven Cycle series for that matter, is Stiefvater’s writing. It’s artistic, but not pretentious. It’s descriptive, but doesn’t bore us to death. She always manages to make a world that’s so vivid and tangible we often feel like we’re right there with the characters experiencing the scenes instead of just reading about it. Ronan and Adam’s kiss is surely a good example: “When Adam kissed him, it was every mile per hour Ronan had ever gone over the speed limit. It was every window-down, goose-bumps-on-skin, teeth-chattering-cold night drive.” And we absolutely love it when Stiefvater gets poetic: “He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.” Seriously, we could go on and on about how much we love her writing style – what a talent, Aunt Maggie.
Noah was done so dirty in this book. Not only did he have to ‘die’ for the second time in this series, his position as one of the Raven Boys was unceremoniously stolen by Henry Cheng. It’s undoubtable that Henry holds a key role in the plot, but where was he before? Every time Stiefvater mentions how Henry was present in the lives of the Raven Boys (i.e. when Adam narrowly missed being hit by the broken roof tile and when Gansey’s car broke down) it felt like she was mostly convincing herself that he’d been important this whole time.
4.) The entire thing about Blue being a tree.
Where do we even start? Firstly, kudos to Stiefvater for successfully portraying Ronan as a character who is more than just his sexuality. The entire relationship with Adam could not have been more well-written. Everything unraveled so naturally and, through it all, Stiefvater didn’t get carried away with their romance as shown through her unfailing focus in their friendship.
Of course, there were other moments in The Raven King that we would have loved to talk about. Dee still can’t get over the fluff between Blue and Gansey and Dre is so glad that Stiefvater gave Declan a chance to redeem himself in Ronan’s eyes.
If we’re being harsh or blunt in this rant it’s only because we love this book so damn much and still love discussing it. We feel so blessed this Thanksgiving weekend for the Raven Cycle and the existence of Maggie Stiefvater, without which this blog would have never been conceived.
We’d like to end this rant with a quote from The Raven King:
“Tell me,” Artemus whispered, ” when you dream, do you dream of the stars?”
Thanks to you Maggie, now we do.
P.S. Thankfully, Stiefvater isn’t over crushing our souls yet, since she announced she has outlined three more Ronan-centered books to be released. Be on the lookout for our next rant about her announcement!