17/10 – because I can. Ratings don’t even have meanings after reading this. I’m just crying and rambling now.
I knew that I was going to cry at the end of this series. I knew it from the moment I finished the first few chapters of The Raven Boys. Knowing that still doesn’t prepare you for the emotions and feelings once you get to that place in the story though. In fact, I think because I anticipated it the entire series it made it feel less and more simultaneously.
It made it less because it was expected. You didn’t have the unwarranted, unforeseen heartbreak, like you got from Sirius or Dobby’s deaths — the kind that shocks you so much to your core that you’re not entirely sure what happened and you have to go back and reread that paragraph to make sure you didn’t misunderstand, but then the grief hits you like a train and you can’t stop sobbing.
It made it more because you were holding onto this tiny piece of hope that there may be another solution — like the cure for cancer might be found in time, or that they could hold enough pressure to the wound so that it’s not fatal. Like the characters could prevent fate just by knowing about the prophecy. But if that doesn’t happen then it’s even more crushing because you knew you should have been preparing yourself for this the whole time, even though you were not quite accepting that it would happen.
That’s what reading this book was like to me, and when Henry handed Gansey his raven jumper and he walked into the cave I just expected it page after page. It bordered on cruel in a way, but in a just, predetermined, heroic way.
I’m too close to reading it at the moment to review this book critically, but I absolutely enjoyed it — even with all the emotions. However, I can’t tell if I loved the ending or not. I did in a lot of ways. I loved how Ronan and Adam ended up. I loved Blue’s graduation present and her plans. I loved that Henry was there. I loved that last paragraph because it spoke of something next. But there was so much grief, and so many things not finished that my love for the other things was nearly overshadowed. I know that I always say that I love it when things aren’t neatly tied up, and I love it when characters serve a purpose and are then ended. But I am a fickle, contradictory child.
Now that some time has passed (I actually red this book last year…) I can tell you, without any preamble whatsoever, that this series is my all-time favourite series.
I actually went back and re-read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves immediately after finishing The Raven King, and knowing the ending kind of made the first two books better because you could see all the little hidden prompts that I didn’t notice the first time.
Stiefvater is a master story-teller. Reading this series prompted me to read all of her books, and she’s now my favourite author. The way she retells stories in her own way (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, The Scorpio Races) is magical and puts this totally different spin on the concept of whatever the story is about. She has done this in a way here with the Welsh mythologies, but she has also done it with the ‘rich private school boy’ trope as well, as none of these Raven Boys are what they originally seemed.
I genuinely cannot wait for the upcoming Dreamer Trilogy that continues this series.