Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle, book four
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I just finished The Raven King, and I am still dumbfounded. I'm not even sure how to put my feelings into words, exactly. On the one hand, I loved it, and I'm so sad that my journey into Stiefvater's magical world of dead Welsh kings, true love, hilarious banter, and strong family ties, is over. But on the other, there are also some things I wasn't expecting. How am I supposed to go on after this? How am I supposed to live? Stiefvater, you've taken my vital organs and crushed them under your feet. Excuse me while I go lick my wounds. My heart is in pieces, and I honestly don't know what to do with myself.

Worst book hangover ever.

The Raven King is the fourth and final installment to the runaway sleeper hit The Raven Cycle. And I enjoyed it, but that being said, there were also some things that I was disappointed by. (Darn these mixed feelings of mine!) I don't want to be explicit about the plot--I don't want to ruin the book for all the people out there who haven't read it. The Raven King grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go--which isn't surprising, considering--until the very last page. I couldn't put it down, and was on the verge of throwing more than one fit when I was forced to. So, the pacing, phemonal.

But as far as conclusions went, I was sad, and disappointed. I loved some parts of it, didn't dig other parts of it. (I HATE SEQUELS BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS.) Frankly, emotionally, I'm just dead. I loved it and hated it and my soul is rotting out of me. Thanks a lot, Stiefvater. Thank you so much. For killing my soul. The bottom line: Bittersweet and emotional, The Raven King delivers more in some places than in others, but I enjoyed it nonetheless! Next on deck: You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Levithan!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this from my local library and reviewed it.

Yes! YES! This is what I'm talking about, now we're cooking with gas! God, Maggie Stiefvater. Why didn't I give you a chance earlier? I worship at your feet woman! I'm dying from all the FEELS! God, someone kill me. I'm so scared for The Raven King. Someone want to come hold me while I finish the series? 'Cuz I am freaking out here. FREAKING OUT. Okay, so, in all seriousness, guys: Blue Lily, Lily Blue knocked it out of the park. This book is probably my favorite of the whole series now. If I wasn't invested before, now I am, people. It's been such a long time since I've felt this intensely about a book series.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue picks up where The Dream Thieves left off, swiveling the reader from inside Ronan's head and back onto the main focus of the entire series: The epic, all-consuming quest for Glendower. This book pulls absolutely no punches--Stiefvater grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go, not until the final page. (And trust me, if I didn't have The Raven King waiting for me on my table right now, I would be screaming. And or ripping my hair out in panic...)

I won't mince words here: I loved it. Every dark, freaky, magical, emotional moment. And Stiefvater more than delivers: magic, secrets, dark twists and turns, and more than enough humor to keep me laughing out loud through the whole of the novel--even during the darker, more somber parts. God, I loved it so much that I devoured more than half of the book the day I started it, and I literally had to force myself to close it, to save some of it for later so it wouldn't be over so quickly. (Don't you love it when a book does that to you? Me too!) I don't want to say much about the plot; I don't want to give it away for the people out there who haven't read it. All I know is that Stiefvater's magical prose has seduced me entirely, and I am wholly and unapologetically under the spell that The Raven Cycle has cast over hundreds, if not millions, of readers! I can't wait for The Raven King! The bottom line: The third book in the bestselling, blockbuster Raven Cycle, Blue Lily, Lily Blue is one of my favorite books ever! Absolutely stunning! (If you haven't read it yet, just do it. As soon as you can!) Next on deck: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stievater Review

Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Maggie Stiefvater, what in the world have you done to me?! You should be ashamed! Twisting my emotions like this! But before my emotions get the better of me, I'm just going to say it. I loved The Dream Thieves, but not as much as The Raven Boys. I was a little confused by the direction of the sequel at first. But I let most of my doubts go and just read. And despite myself, even when I was fighting it, I fell under Stiefvater's spell al over again.

The Dream Thieves picks up with a more personal point of view of the series--with this book, you get to see the story (mostly) from Ronan's perspective. And as Ronan is one of my favorite characters in the whole series, in young adult literature period, truthfully, I really liked the way that Stiefvater offered us glimpses into his mind, and his life in general. (Ronan Lynch is now fighting Gansey in my head for my favorite Raven Boy...) I also enjoyed the way Ronan's individual story was tied into the larger plot. I have an even greater appreciation for Stiefvater as an author--it's almost magical.

But the prose was gorgeously simple, as per her signature, full of subtle magic and humor and utter heartbreak in spots. Old characters and new ones won my heart--however reluctantly at first. Full of magic and excitement and angsty heartbreak, as well as frightening twists and turns, The Dream Thieves did definitely deliver for a sequel, even if it wasn't quite the way I expected. I'm so excited for the next two books! The bottom line: A worthy sequel to the smash-hit series debut The Raven Boys, Stiefvater more than delivers for her loyal fans in The Dream Thieves! I can't wait to see what's coming next! Next on deck: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Okay, so I'll start this review by being honest: I read this book when it first came out in 2012, and I didn't really like it. But with the publication of the final book, The Raven King, and a lot of my Tumblr followers urging me to give it another chance... I couldn't resist it. (Darn you peer pressure!) So I ordered The Raven King and checked out the first three books from my local library. As it had been quite a while since reading it, I could remember some of it it, but only vaguely. Honestly, it was the plot that did me in.

I'm so glad that I gave this book another chance. I loved the uniqueness of the plot, that was what sold me initially, but what really drove it home for me were two things: Stiefvater's simple but hypnotic, snappy prose, and the characters that she so lovingly crafted. Frankly, everything after that was just gravy. (I know, I know, I don't sound the most impartial, but I loved it!)

Blue Sargent has been told her entire life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Blue is the 'normal' girl in a family of powerful psychics. When she discovers a young man in the cemetery where she and her mother, Maura, do their annual St. Mark's Eve vigil, she is drawn, however reluctantly, into a quest to find a dead Welsh king, and with it, she befriends four boys: the charismatic, sensitive Gansey, quiet, mild Noah, angry, rough-around-the edges Ronan, and Adam, the boy from the other side of the tracks. And despite herself, Blue and her new friends discover that magic might be so much closer than they could've ever imagined.

Where do I start? I loved the prose--it was so simple and hypnotic and so incredibly funny! I was constantly running the gamut of emotions: happy, sad, full of laughter. And the characters were definitely my favorite part of the book--honestly, it sold me to read the other three, by the time I finished with it. I especially loved the chemistry between all of them, particularly Blue and the boys. The pacing was breakneck, and I was constantly scratching my head at every turn, trying to figure out the twists and turns as the book went on. (I think I drove my husband a little crazy with that... Sorry, honey!)

Stiefvater definitely gets brownie points for originality, too--I didn't know what to expect, exactly, when I first began, but the finished story is definitely something new and fresh, especially considering the young adult market these days. And that ending! God, if I didn't have the next three books waiting for me on my coffee table, I would die! I loved it. Wholly, totally, completely. The Raven Boys has my heart and I simply can't wait to see what's in store! The bottom line: A series debut that I decided to give another chance, The Raven Boys has something for everyone: Magic, diehard friendship, excitement, twists and turns--highly recommended to all! Next on deck: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater!