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The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater – Review

51LlOUzjzYL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe end of the search for Glendower is here. All that Gansey and his friends have been  searching for will reveal itself. Will they get their one favor? Will the prophecy about Blue and her true love come to pass? What will become of Cabeswater? More importantly who will everyone be after this adventure is over?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4

The character development in this series was fantastic. I fell in love with Ronan, Adam, Gansey, Blue and Noah in the first book. The way they grew throughout the story was great. They all started out as pretty simple people but they gained more and more depth throughout the story.

This series is a character story. There is mystery, adventure and romance but none of those trump the character’s journeys. Each one of them find themselves throughout this hunt for Glendower. They all find their strengths and weakness. They learn who they are as individuals and as a group.

I think one of my favorite parts of this story was how each one of them learned that they can be individuals as well as a member of this friendship group. I think that was most evident in Adam. He was so desperate to be his own person he pushed people away. He thought any help was only going to make him feel weaker. We saw him learn how he can stand on his own two feet, as with his power over Cabeswater but he also needed the support of his friends. They were what kept him grounded and whole.

Gansey’s growth was interesting because we saw  how in the beginning it was all about him finding Glendower and taking care of his friends. As the story moved forward we saw him question his long time need to find the sleeping king. We saw him come to terms with the fact that he can’t live his friends lives. He had to let them make their own choices. He can support them but he can’t force them to be anyone they are not.

Ronan as my favorite throughout the series. He was so rough at the start but we learned quickly why he was that way. He slowly began to open up and let others help him. I liked seeing him getting control over his dream power and seeing him use it help. I am eager to see how he continues to grow in his own trilogy.

Blue was great as well. She was separate in the start of the series. She was the odd one out and she pretended to be okay with that. I enjoyed watching her open up, accept who she was and find people who accepted her. She gained more confidence and it was great to see that journey.

I also loved the slow burn romance in this book. I spoke about Gansey’s and Blue’s in the last review. It continued to spark in this one. Again there was no huge revelation or anything, it was just as if it was another character. It grew and we saw it become part of who they were as characters. It was natural and gentle and I liked that.

The other romance in this story (which I won’t mention to avoid spoilers) was great as well. It was built up over time and again so subtle yet powerful. There was no hesitation about it either. It was accepted and taken forward. It felt as if it was always meant to happen and I loved it.

What I was just okay with

I am not sure what I thought about the ending itself. It was very tough to follow and for me it left me wondering what exactly happened. I got the main points of it but it felt vague. I liked it because it fit the story. The story itself was vague and not detail heavy.

I had a bit of an issue with it just because I was expecting a bit more. I wanted a few more answers form the ending. I got some but not as many as I initially wanted. I think I would have been more upset over it if it wasn’t for the way all the character turned out.

I mentioned in my review for the first book that if I didn’t love the characters so much I probably would have disliked the plot. That same thought goes for the ending as well. I was satisfied with where everyone ended up. I didn’t get held up on the ending as much as I am sure I would have in a different book with different characters.

What I Wished was Different_

My only major issue with this book was Henry. What was the point of him exactly? The talk he has with Gansey could have happened with anyone. He appears, becomes fast friends with Gansey and that is it.

His robobee invention helped but I am sure there could have been a different way of dealing with that problem. Or Henry himself could have been introduced earlier in the series. I liked him but he felt unneeded. I think if we had gotten him earlier he could have grown like everyone else and that would have been interesting to see.

Also we kind of lost the women of Fox Way in this story. I wanted a more satisfying resolution to them. I liked their involvement in the other books but I think they got pushed to the side of the ending. I think they could have been utilized and made the ending a bit more dynamic.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. I found it a great end to the characters. I do wish the plot ending was a bit tighter.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“It’s not always running away…..to leave.” (pg. 79)

“It was easier to tell hero from villain when the stakes were only life and death. Everything is between gets harder.” (pg. 121)

“If you can’t be unafraid…..be afraid and happy.” (pg. 210)

“I stopped asking how. I just did it. The head is too wise. The heart is all fine.” (pg. 338)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Review – Maggie Stiefvater

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Blue has found somewhere to belong. She has found friends that mean everything to her. They are getting closer and closer to find Glendower and waking him up. They are on the verge of making the ultimate discovery. There are just a few things in the way such as mysterious sleeping king’s daughters and a missing mother. Can Blue and her friends find a balance and end their hunt once and for all without losing themselves in the process?

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4.jpg

Blue and Gansey’s growing relationship was one of my favorite aspect of this story. It is very subtle. There are no huge declarations of love or feelings. It is explored in a simple easy way throughout the story.

I am used to YA stories where the romance is overwhelming in the story. The characters are constantly thinking about each other. They are obsessing about if they should or should not end up together. You begin to wonder how they function thinking about anything or anyone else. For me, it always feels a bit unrealistic.

Here we saw how they became a couple without ever having this huge moment about it. It felt more real to me. They both know that their relationship can cause issues but there is no denying the way they found comfort in one another. I loved the way Gansey would anticipate the calls from Blue. We didn’t need him to go on and on about how important those calls were. We saw it and felt it right beside him.

I think this way of allowing the romance to grow organically let us concentrate on the rest of the stories and characters. It kept Blue and Gansey’s romance from taking over the story.

I also thought the addition of Gwenllian was fun. She was a good way to keep the plot moving and giving us more connection to the Glendower story. She is hilarious and I liked the way she talked about the world around her. I thought she gave the story and interesting perspective.

What I was just okay with.jpg
I still enjoyed the character growth throughout the story. I liked seeing Adam come into himself and Ronan begin to find a purpose for his dreaming. I thought we started to see what Gansey wanted an how he felt about the world. I was still invested in them as much as before but I started to wonder if the plot was going anywhere.

I still felt like we were heading somewhere but the story didn’t quite know where. Characters were thrown in hoping to almost distract us from the fact that things weren’t moving anywhere. The hunt for Glendower was still on but I almost wondered why it mattered at this point. I was just expecting for the plot itself to solidify a bit more in this second to last book.

What I Wished was Different_.jpg
Malory’s character seemed to have no point for the story. He came to visit and I expected him to really push the plot forward. I almost expected him to have some huge connection to Glendower himself and for his revelation to throw Gansey into turmoil. I wanted him to mean something to the story.

Instead he came, gave a bit of new information and then just hung out for the rest of the story. What he revealed he could have revealed over the phone. His insights into the ley line wasn’t anything we didn’t already know. I forgot he was even in the story for most of it. When he left at the end I didn’t care. He was jus there for another person to talk to, it felt.

I gave this installment 3 out of 4 stars. I liked how it continued the growth of the characters. I just wished that I felt more connected to the plot and that some of the characters had a real purpose.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“Lonesome means a state of being apart. Of being other. Alone-some.” (pg. 28)

“It was so impossible to live life backward.” (pg. 115)

“How unfair she’d been to assume love and money would preclude pain and hardship.” (pg. 242)

 

 

The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2) – Maggie Stiefvater- Review

17347389-2.jpg(This is a review for the second book in the Raven Cycle series and thus there will be minor spoilers for the first book in the series).

The ley line is awake. Finding Glendower and waking him up has become a task that is tangible. Blue has stepped outside her bubble and seen that there is much more to the world then she previously thought. Adam is finding out that living on your own, being wholly independent and finding your strength is not always the easiest task. Gansey’s goal is set and he is more determined than ever to achieve it. And Ronan has a secret, one that he has to learn to control or else all their work will have been for nothing.

 

What I loved:

This was 100% Ronan’s book. I wouldn’t say that any of the other books in the series are focused on one specific person as much as this one was on Ronan. We learn more about his past, we learn about his dream ability and we see him learning about himself.

Ronan is my absolute favorite type of character. He is the type that seems tough and hard on the outside. He seems like someone I would write off right away as a jerk but once you get to know him you see how soft and sweet he is on the inside. He has the biggest heart, he just doesn’t know how to show that heart to anyone. He is dealing with some intense pain and his way of dealing is to push people away with harsh words and actions.

I loved seeing him be vulnerable. I loved see him try to find a way to use his power for good. I also liked seeing him stand away from Kavinsky, a fellow dreamer. We got to see a path that Ronan could have gone down. He could have become someone who just dreamt everything and didn’t care. Fallen in drugs and alcohol and just given up.

Instead Ronan is someone who found friends, people who care about him and he has held onto them with every last ounce of muscle that he possesses. I loved in this book his journey of realizing the difference between what he can do and what he should do.

I also really liked the take on dreaming and Ronan’s power. I have not read a book before with this exact set up. Ronan can dream up something and bring it out of his dreams. Throughout the story we learn just how much of his life was actually dreamt up. This was an interesting look and gave this story a more fantastical feel. We now wonder what is actually real, who is real and does it actually matter in the end.

Again the pace with this one was pretty slow and meandering. I didn’t feel like we got a whole lot about the plot but I was so enthralled by Ronan and learning what he could do that I didn’t really care as much about the fact that the story still seems to have only taken a few baby steps forward.

What I was just okay with:

I have begun to sense a theme with these books, there is a ton of character development and then at the end we get a big push of action. Something happens and people fight and we have a handful of chapters that are super fast paced. It feels like we were on a nice car ride through the country and all of sudden realize we have to rush home and slam our foot on the gas.

I enjoyed the ending of this one. I enjoyed what we learned but I also wish that maybe some of this action as spread out a bit more throughout the story. We don’t have to have a few chapters hitting us over the head with action just to meander out again.

I also noticed that some characters seem to be introduced as antagonists only to be taken down at the end. I had an idea of who we were going to up against for the rest of the series but we do seem to be given people to dislike and then they are dealt with in the last few chapters. It kind of makes understanding the true stakes a bit trickier

What I wished was different:

Noah’s character is still one that I am not sure what to do with. I like him being around, I like the fact that he is a ghost. I think it is an interesting twist and I liked how no one really seems to care that much that he is a ghost. But he doesn’t seem to be doing anything for the story at this point.

He is there to let them know how the ley line’s power is holding up and that seems to be all. I kind of wish we were getting to know him better or had a better idea  of what his overall purpose to the story will be.

I gave this installment 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed learning more about Ronan and his abilities and I like where I think the story is going. I just wish we knew more about Noah and that things were paced a bit better.

Quotes:

“All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers, or kept-from, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches – that’s what will be left at the end of it all.” (pg. 1)

“If you never saw the stars, candles were enough.” (pg. 60)

“Time’s circular, chicken. We use the same parts of it over and over. Some of us more than others.” (pg. 340)

 

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater- Review

51zb1Ggd5VL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Blue has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. She has made a resolution to never kiss any boy, especially not one of those Raven Boys. Raven Boys represent everything she hates; privilege they take for granted, power they don’t know what to do with and just plain arrogance.

That is until she actually meets some of these Raven Boys. It’s interesting how your opinion of people can change once you get to know them. She is pulled into a world that she thought she understood. She learns there is more beneath the surface of these boys. She joins them on a  quest for magic and power and learns there are always more secrets to uncover.

What I loved:

I don’t usually comment directly on a writing style. I will mention it if there is an issue that I had but usually the writing style itself doesn’t stand out to me. I always feel it is more about the world created and the way the words make the images and story come alive versus exactly the way they are used. I know people fall in love with books because of the writing style alone but I have never been that kind of reader.

This book is one of the few books that I find myself reading not only for the story but for the writing style. I read a review that mention how Stiefvater is very precise with her writing. She doesn’t mince words and everything written has a use. I wholeheartedly agree with that review.

The writing invokes images that are bright and alive. She makes comparisons that are unique and new. Nothing about her writing feels like I have read it before. I read all the time, I am never NOT reading a book. This is one of the first times I felt like I have not read something like this before. I couldn’t find writing like this in another book. It is precise and it creates images with little effort. It pulls you along word by word. It is smooth and fulfilling no matter what the paragraph is about.

I realized by the end of this first book that this is a character series. It was interesting because by the end of the book I didn’t quite realize how little actually happened in this story. I was so enthralled by Gansey, Noah, Ronan, Adam and Blue that it didn’t matter that the story didn’t move very far.

This was an introduction to each of the main characters. Gansey is someone who is rich, knows he is rich, likes being rich but doesn’t quiet understand how to use his money in a proper way. He is someone who thinks that handing out money shouldn’t insult or hurt others. He just wants to help but he doesn’t quite understand at this point that money doesn’t always make things better. He has a great heart but he has trouble showing that full heart to the world without his money being part of that gesture.

Adam is someone who is desperately trying to find his own place in the world. He grew up in an abusive home. He never had any true self-worth. He works day and night to prove that he is as worthy as everyone else around him. Adam doesn’t want any type of charity or pity. He doesn’t want help because he thinks that help makes him weak. I am eager to see him realize that help means someone cares, something he hasn’t truly seen in his life until now.

Ronan is my favorite type of character. Ronan is a tough character to write. He is tough and abrasive on the outside. He could have come off as someone we shouldn’t care about and should put off as the jerk friend. Stiefvater does a great job at showing his true, soft side early. We see his tragic past and realize where his anger and hurt comes from. We see why he has a wall up and as I read the series I am loving seeing that wall start to crumble.

Blue was hard to get a grasp on in this book. She is kind of in the middle for most of the story. Everything seems to play out around her. She is the grounding effect for most of the characters. In this book she didn’t seem to have much of her own character. I could tell she is someone who is struggling to find her own place, much like Adam. She is learning that what is on the outside rarely represents what is on the true inside of someone.

Noah was the enigma in this book. I tried for most of the story to figure out his story and was shocked when I learned who he truly was. I like his addition but I am hoping to see more from him in the other books (though as I am on the third book his character hasn’t evolved much).

I enjoyed getting to know each of these characters and picked up the second book right away because I wanted to be in their world again. I wanted to see them live their lives. I am not as invested in the plot line as I am in their lives.

What I was just okay with:

I enjoy books that provide multiple POVs. I think it really helps to full tell a story like this one. You can’t get close to a number of characters if you only ever see the story from one set of eyes. I did have trouble though discerning who we were supposed to be following sometimes.

A chapter would start and it would be about a page to a page and a half before I knew who exactly we were following. It didn’t completely throw me out of the story but I did find myself having to skim the lines again to put what I had just read in the right context.

What I wished was different:

I didn’t initially pick up this story because the summary seemed very generic. It seemed like a simple love story, a bit of mystery but nothing overly exciting or anything I hadn’t seen before. The summaries of these books do not do this series justice. I don’t know who wrote them or approved them but they did not do the best job at letting you know what type of book you would be reading.

The whole true love’s kiss aspect is an extremely minor part of the series (I am almost down with the third book and it has gotten about a chapter’s worth of coverage total). It is more about these boys and Blue finding out who they are set against this back drop of find the ley line and the sleeping king.

I know that romance is a draw, especially in the YA genre, but I felt like that was a cop out for this series. I would never have read this series if I hadn’t read reviews stating how much deeper the story was.

I gave this series 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I am in love with the characters and am eager to see them continue to grow and find their true selves. I am interested in where the magic plot line goes but in the end I am more concerned where each character ends up.

 

Quotes:
“A realization that even if you had discovered the future, it really didn’t change how you lived in the present.” (pg. 2)

“Rags to riches isn’t a story anyone wants to hear until it’s done.” (pg. 131)

“They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed able to walk away from them” (pg. 351)

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