The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't have a bloody clue how to review The Raven King, but I can't not. It's just so Stiefvater-ish. I'm assuming that if you're reading this review, you've read the rest of the series. If you haven't, yes it's worth it, yes it's a perfect ending, now go away and read The Raven Boys immediately. For the rest of you, why aren't you already reading it? Or are you just interested in other people's opinions? Which is a strange reason to read reviews. Oh all right, I'm stalling.
One, it was f-ing brilliant. It's a shiny, magical, sparkling, dark, tangled web of brilliance. I seriously don't know how Stiefvater manages to incorporate so many character arcs, so many camera lenses, so many elements of plot, without either going insane or sending her readers insane. But somehow she pulls it out of the hat. She guides us through with apolmb, making sure we never get lost, and revealing just the right information at exactly the right time.
I'm actually really looking forward to reading it again. I read it too fast the first time - I needed to know what happened, in a visceral way, and I couldn't pace myself well enough to soak up all of the detail. Stiefvater books always get better on second and third readings, because there's always some detail, some hook, some link that you don't notice the first time around. Something that makes you marvel at the cleverness of the author, and imagine her smug smile as you have that 'wait but... ohh I see' moment.
I could wax lyrical about Stiefvater's writing for days - she is my most respected author, for a great many reasons, but mostly because of how she manages to make her books about so many things at once. Yes, you could see this as a series about magic and sleeping kings and so on, or you could see it as a series about friendship, or a series about doomed love, or a series about priveledge vs poverty, or a series about the longest awaited kiss ever. Or a whole host of other things. That's the real beauty of Stiefvater's work - you get out of it what you need. She really is one talented wizard.
A word on the end (non-spoilery). It's perfect, because it's not an end. It's a beginning.
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