Jun 25
2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater | Book Discussion (Includes Spoilers)

The-Raven-King-by-Maggie-StiefvaterOkay, finally! Here is the promised (though delayed) Raven Cycle book chat. It will include the things that I have withheld as I raved about this series (here and here and here) to ensure a spoiler free experience for The Raven Cycle newbies.

If you haven’t read this series, or even the final book, I want you to know that this post will include spoilers. If that is okay with you – read on. Else I would urge you to check out this post, which is my spoiler free series review of The Raven Cycle, and also includes my non-spolier-y thoughts about the finale – The Raven King.

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

Here is the thing – as I mentioned in my spoiler free series review – I always knew that this was the kind of book series that doesn’t spoon feed you anything. It leaves you with questions, half baked theories, and possibilities.

And that is exactly how I felt when this series wrapped up. I have questions, and theories, and more questions, which is fine, but I really needed some closure.

There are so many different areas which were left open, that I don’t even know where to begin, but let me take on one thing at a time.

The protagonists and the romantic pairings

I will start with Gansey and Blue. I really wanted to see a little more into their future (I mean outside of the road trip with Henry, which was okay, but I really did not care about that – at all). And when I say future,  I don’t really mean months and years into the future – just some more scenes involving just those two would have been completely okay. I basically wanted to see their relationship/dynamic unfolding, to see more of them as a regular couple, I guess, without the dagger of the fatal kiss hanging over them. Speaking of which..I am sure that one more kiss wouldn’t have hurt!

But while we are on topic of romantic pairings, I must say that I absolutely adored everything about the Pynch track – their story, the progression, the conclusion – everything! They almost made up for the (relatively) lack-luster romance of the former duo (for me, that is).

Side Characters – Utilization and Closure

I have said this before, but this bears repeating – Maggie Stiefvater is extremely talented when it comes to writing unique, interesting, well fleshed-out characters.

But I am not sure how I feel about what she does with them. I mean she writes the most wonderful cast of characters, but doesn’t do them justice all the time, and then gives them little to no closure. Yet, relentlessly keeps introducing more of them.

For instance – during the climax, I wanted to see more of all these characters I was following from the last four books – Maura, Calla, The Gray Man (I am not even addressing Noah right now, because he deserves his own space). But instead, there is….Henry. And please don’t get me wrong – I liked Henry, but he was present for what – all of ONE book? And suddenly he is there at the end when everything is going down – finding Glendower, the “death” – everything! It made me feel jealous for the other characters whom I was far more invested in.

See I understand, not everyone can be everywhere, but how about some closure for them then? I would have loved to see what happened of Maura & The Gray Man. I mean, yes I can very well assume, but I don’t want to! Especially when the epilogue included Henry’s road trip with Bluesy, and that scene of Adam with his Dad. That was just SO unnecessary. I was like why waste pages on this?

And speaking of assumptions  – I am assuming that Artemus (who, by the way, is the most useless character I have ever met in literature) just lived happily ever after in the tree, but what about Gwenllian? What happens to her? She is present in a time and age many centuries after she should be. I would think that is the kind of thing that screams for closure!

Finally there are the villains. There are very few authors I have read that write villains whom I am conflicted over (in a good way). But then she gives most of these villains a very anti-climatic end. A formidable character comes to an end with a gunshot – that’s it. And this happens over and over again – with the Gray Man’s brother, Piper, and I am sure I am missing someone else here.

NOAH – Why doesn’t he get a proper goodbye? WHY?

This. I don’t know if this is going to make sense guys. I am probably  just being overly sentimental here, but I felt that Noah deserved more. I felt he should have been there with the others while finding Glendower – in some way, shape or form.

And if not that, then at-least should have gotten a proper goodbye. It really troubled me to see that no one seemed to mention (or even notice) his absence. It almost felt like Henry was a convenient replacement, and that just did not sit well with me (even though I really did like Henry).

via GIPHY

Finding Glendower & the “Death”

Okay…my first reaction to finding Glendower dead was – disbelief. I was like – this is such a bummer! I mean this was supposed to be the grand finale, the thing that we were looking forward to from ages the last four books, and all we get is a dead body? A skeleton to be precise.

But then I thought it was actually a great thing that he was dead. Because the Raven Boys and Blue did find their way out to the light eventually, and they did it all on their own. They did not need to wake up a dead king to get a favor to fix their lives.

And that is such a beautiful, empowering message – that we, regular folks, have the power within us to control, guide, and shape our own destinies. We do not need anyone else to help us, or the stars to align, for our lives to be better. The power lies within us. I think I can live with that. And a dead king is a small price to pay for this takeaway. Don’t you think so?

So many questions (and theories) !

As I wrap this up, I still have a lot of questions churning in my mind. For instance, I would have loved to know how Glendower died. Who killed him? Why?

And if he was not the third sleeper (meant to be woken) – who was the third sleeper? Adam? Gansey? Do you guys think Gansey was the actual Raven King alluded to in the book? I am just a little confused by this whole thing.

Also, like we know the reason behind Glendower and Gwenllian’s burial, I would have loved to know how and why did the demon get buried in the tomb? The history behind that would have been interesting to know.

And finally – Gansey’s revival.  I think I got what the author wanted to say here, but I am not entirely sure. Here is what I think – Cabeswater needed to take a human form, and so it took the shape of Noah’s body. And it “died” once, but that sacrifice counted towards reviving Gansey both times (because it exists outside of time). Or maybe Noah’s human death revived Gansey the first time, and Cabeswater in Noah’s form revived him the second time?

I don’t know! I am probably overthinking this, as I am suffering from an overdose of The Raven Cycle,  so my brain is a little addled right now. Which is why, I must stop. Right now. But I would love to hear from you guys. What do you guys think of the things I mentioned above? Any thing else you’d like to add/shed light on? I would love to discuss!

-Shantala

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Comments

  1. Oh yeah, I loved it that they found Glendower but that he was dead. It’s been clear this whole time that Gansey could have found Glendower sooner if he’d truly been motivated, and I love that Ronan says that to him directly, and that Gansey accepts it and just goes ahead and goddamn finds him.

    BUT NOAH. WHY. How could they not be infinity sad about dear sweet Noah! Especially when he was just being so super-sweet to Ronan about everything that went down with Aurora.
    Jenny @ Reading the End recently posted…Mount Pleasant, Patrice NganangMy Profile

  2. You made me so inquisitive about this series so much that I want to grab these books and read to actually give some valuable feedback after reading your posts 🙂

  3. You folks read so much, makes me feel I am one of the only few on the ‘sinister’ list 😊
    Alok singhal recently posted…Just a few days in the US? Visit Lake Tahoe first!My Profile

  4. What an interesting perspective about this series of books. I remember reading one of her books about the guy who is a wolf and I did like it but had no desire to read more. I got wolfed out. I have a feeling these books would Raven me out. Thanks for sharing about your feelings on the books.

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