Book review: Long-awaited 'Raven King' ends with a twist

Posted May 2

"THE RAVEN KING," by Maggie Stiefvater, Scholastic Press, $18.99, 439 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

The long-awaited fourth installment in Maggie Stiefvater's best-selling Raven Cycle paranormal series, “The Raven King,” was released April 26.

The Raven Cycle combines psychics, magic, Welsh mythology, ghosts, mystery, treasure hunts and romance all into one. It begins when Blue Sergeant, who is told all her life by her psychic female relatives that if she kisses her true love he will die, finds out that Gansey, a boy from the nearby all-male private school Algionby, will die within the next year. This boy also happens to be on an obsessive search for the burial site of an ancient Welsh king, Owen Glendower.

“The Raven King,” attempts to tie up the many loose ends of a long and complex storyline. Despite the book being more than 400 pages long, there is a lot to cram in and several sections of the novel feel a bit rushed as a result. But Stiefvater throws in a twist at the end, involving the main plotline of finding Glendower, that is absolutely perfect. She gave herself a challenge when she revealed to her readers at the beginning of the series that one of her primary characters would die. Many readers wondered and feared how this would be resolved, but Stiefvater came through with a satisfying conclusion.

Stiefvater’s poetic writing style received acclaim when her young adult fiction novel “The Scorpio Races” was named a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, and she brings that same style to the Raven Cycle series.

In “The Raven King,” she threads a theme throughout of the difficulty of defining where a story begins and ends. The line “Depending on where you began the story, it was about …” begins many of the chapters. She also has her characters thinking at points that they feel like a long story is wrapping up — when that is really what is happening. It gives the readers a perspective that feels as though they are participating with Stiefvater in finishing the story.

“The Raven King” contains strong swearing, violence and horror, including some bloody scenes and a demon taking over people’s bodies. A homosexual relationship also takes place between two major characters, and two scenes in the novel show that explicitly.

Michelle Garrett is a journalism graduate from BYU and works as a business magazine writer for a network marketing company in Utah. She is also a contributing blogger at Email:


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all