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The Raven King (Raven Cycle Book 4) ((HOT))

What's certainly true is that each of the boys becomes a King in his own way. Blue finds out more about her past, especially her father, but it's the boys' character arcs that breathtakingly come full circle. After teasing at the Ronan-Adam connection for two books, these two at last come to terms with the obvious attraction. Early on Adam remarks that "making Ronan Lynch smile felt as heated as making a bargain with Cabeswater," and in one of the book's most evocative lines Ronan says that "his feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he'd let them overflow and now there wasn't a damn place in the ocean that wouldn't catch fire if he dropped a match." Of course, there are a few aspects of the book some readers will undoubtedly take issue with, such as the reintroduction of charming, rich Gansey-like Henry Cheng as a much more prominent ally and fast friend to Gansey and Blue (and eventually Ronan and Adam, since to befriend one is to befriend all). But in this case, a new (and overtly diverse) perspective helps them all and reminds them that they can indeed care about other (new) people, such as Mr. Gray or Jesse Dittley. Overall, there's so much to love about The Raven King that, despite it being unputdownable, you won't want it to end.

The Raven King (Raven Cycle Book 4)


The second book in the series, The Dream Thieves, focuses on Ronan's ability to take things from his dreams. The book begins by revealing Ronan has three secrets. A hit-man called the Gray Man, who killed Ronan's father, comes to Henrietta under the orders of a man named Colin Greenmantle looking for something called the Greywaren, which he believes is an object that allows the user to take things out of their dreams. It's revealed that the Greywaren is not an object, but a name for Ronan. Cabeswater vanishes, and another teenage boy called Joseph Kavinsky reveals that he can take things out of his dreams as well. Kavinsky abuses the ability to steal from his dreams, and with both boys taking things out of their dreams, they stress the energy of Cabeswater and the ley line. Blue's mother Maura and the Gray Man fall for each other, but the Gray Man runs from Henrietta claiming he stole the Greywaren so that Ronan will be safe from Greenmantle. Adam restores energy to the ley line with the help of Persephone, a psychic at 300 Fox Way. They bring back Cabeswater, and Ronan uses one of his night terrors to fight Kavinsky and his fire dragon. Eventually Kavinsky's life is ended by his own dragon. With his father's will stating that he cannot visit the home he grew up in, Ronan dreams up a new will so he can return to his sleeping mother. Ronan's three secrets are revealed. Blue reads a note saying that her mother is underground, setting up the next book.

The ending. I'm not sure I followed the ending. I caught the general sense of how the resolution worked, but not the specifics: Cabeswater gives its "life" as the sacrifice that will bring Gansey back. I admit that I was confused about Noah's final death, and about the sudden description of circular time in the last quarter of this novel. Cabeswater's "death" almost seems like the cousin to a temporal time-travel paradox. (Ronan dreamed the forest into existence; it gave its life to save Gansey; but Gansey had already given his life to save Cabeswater and the world...from a demon that traveled to our world through Cabeswater?) I think Ms. Stiefvater tries to explain all this by telling us that what Ronan brought forward already existed somewhere, in a different form: Opal speaks a language that's not Latin or English, for example, but a third language even Ronan doesn't know; and Artemis told Blue that his ancient form was not actually a tree. We're also told that Cabeswater's natural state isn't really a forest at all, further adding to the notion that it pre-dates Ronan's dreaming. Gansey has déja vu, and feels time slipping--though both of these symptoms feel new to this installment, which seems a bit unfair to the reader. (It's true that he was characterized as seeming to be both young and old in past books.) Finally, by not tying all the threads, it almost seemed that Ms. Stiefvater left room for future adventures. For instance, Ronan finds an ancient Camaro steering wheel that he somehow knows is not from past adventures but from a future one. (How he can tell the difference isn't explained. Is it because all the other ancient steering wheels would have been destroyed with the unmaking of Cabeswater?) And Mr. Gray is off on his own quest of sorts.

The big picture. If you step back and look at the series as a whole, you get the strong feeling that Ms. Stiefvater wrote it by the seat of her pants, and had trouble shaping all the clever ideas into a coherent arc. We never do get a bee sting, dangled so prominently throughout the previous books, we don't get a sleeping king, who was for so long the point of Gansey's quest, there is a belated introduction of a demon who turns out to be the real problem the teens need to solve. (The form of the demon is incredibly cool, though.) And Henry Cheng becomes important to the plot...or maybe not. Did he need to be added as the "fifth friend?" Does he actually exist so that his mother can exist, to give Mr. Gray an ally? These issues made it feel as though the author was fishing for a way to conclude the story, but couldn't figure out how to fashion the ending from the material she had already put in previous books. I suspect, given that the release date was moved back, this was actually the case--she was wrangling until the last moment.

Nitpicking. Ms. Stiefvater's prose is exceptionally good in the series (and particularly the moods it evokes), but this book was not edited or copyedited as well as usual. There is some bloat, with scenes that are unimportant (like Ronan's attempt to dream up a skin for Gansey, Gansey's mother's fundraiser at the school, Gansey's bribe of the headmaster to graduate Ronan--a graduation that doesn't even come to pass for him). The repetition of individual words made it seem that everyone was rushed to get the book to publication--editors and copyeditors included. Some nitpicking examples:

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.Ronan is one of the raven boys - a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface - changing everything in its wake. 041b061a72

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