Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, Mythology (Welsh)
Source: Bookmobile (first three), and Andrea a.k.a. Mermaid Tales for The Raven King
Overall Rating: ⛤⛤⛤
I read The Raven Cycle series over a span of a few weeks so naturally it made sense to make one giant review for each of the books!
I’ll also note that I hadn’t read a YA novel in a long time before this series and I really enjoyed it! Maybe I’ll have to look into more YA series…
Also shout-out to my friend Nimra for recommending the series to me! 😀
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Publication: September 18 2012
I can’t believe how much I enjoyed the first book! The atmosphere, the setting, and the villain were all fantastic. There were so many twists in the story
(SPOILERS: especially Noah my poor dead puppy Raven Boy :() that kept me hooked. I will say that Barrington Whelk was by far my favourite part of the book. He was such a sinister villain and really creeped me out which doesn’t happen to me a lot in Young Adult novels. I also didn’t really understand the appeal of Blue, she just seemed to try too hard to be different. A great beginning to get readers hooked on the series!
Also, what kind of parent would willingly nickname their kid Dick? Don’t they realize how many people would bully him over that? Why didn’t more people pick on Gansey because his name is Dick?
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Publication: September 17 2013
Not my favourite but maybe I just don’t like Ronan. I understand he was a pivotal role in this book (and the series as a whole now) but his voice just didn’t appeal to me. Again, there were a few good twists that surprised me but not as much as the first. I didn’t really like Kavinsky being a secondary villain in the novel, though again I understood it. I loved the introduction and presence of Mr. Gray though and was not expecting how his character was developed. Stiefvater is definitely a master of writing complex villains!
Also, Gansey is very pretentious and I know he doesn’t mean to be but it just gets on my nerves. There are points where I can see why Blue is falling in love with him but most of the time I just don’t get it.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
Publication: October 21 2014
I’m giving this one a slightly higher rating than The Dream Thieves and I don’t really know why because nothing exactly huge happened to the plot. Actually, it was quite boring at times since it was just about looking for the sleepers but not waking the third sleeper and a lot of spelunking and yada yada yada. I did feel more connected and engaged in this book, and again the new villains were fantastically written. I absolutely love/hated Colin Greenmantle, if that makes sense. I adored any chapter where he and Piper showed up, and I love Piper no matter how scary she is. I didn’t fully feel Blue’s grief over
(SPOILER: Persephone’s) death, but I did enjoy watching the slow build-up of romance between Gansey and Blue develop (even though I still don’t fully understand his appeal).
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)
Publication: April 26 2016
I really had to think for a few days over my feelings for this book. I stand by my rating though. While some parts of The Raven King were really engaging and interesting most of it was a confusing mess. An entire new subplot was introduced
(SPOILER: with the dealing of magical artifacts, which while briefly mentioned in The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue was brought in full force. If anything this plot should have been given more detail in the previous two books, but oh well.) as well as a whole slew of new characters that were brought in out of nowhere and should have been introduced earlier. I thought I was going to love Laumonier, but for a villain they were pretty lackluster. There were too many strange parts in this book that didn’t make sense (SPOILER: Blue is a literal half-tree whose father is a literal tree, Robobee was a strange addition, Glendower being dead after all the other sleepers stayed alive, I could go on.) and the kiss between Gansey and Blue, that readers have been waiting for for three books was so unbelievably anticlimactic (SPOILER: As well as Gansey’s death. I really didn’t feel like Blue mourned/grieved for him the whole two minutes he was dead.). There was only one real twist in the book that surprised me ( SPOILER: NOAH! And sidenote: what happened to Noah at the end of the book? He kind of disappeared?) but in all the book was pretty clichéd.
While I enjoyed the series after not reading a YA series for so long, I was disappointed I wasn’t more into the series. I never felt for Blue, and I get so annoyed with the typical YA heroine who purposely becomes a loner because she is “too mature, too different” to deal with regular people her age. Why aren’t more YA heroine’s ordinary? You can be ordinary and still be special.
The Raven Boys was easily my favourite book in the series and I’m disappointed the series didn’t continue with the same wonder and mystery it began with, and that it ended so rushed without any real emotional connection.