“There were not quite words for it.” | Reflecting on THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater

“There were not quite words for it.” | Reflecting on THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King
The Raven Cycle #4

Written by: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 438
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads

* Synopsis has some spoilers for previous books in the series, but my review is spoiler-free! *

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

My Thoughts

Disclaimer: This “review” is spoiler-free for the entire series.
Also it’s not really a review. I just have a lot feelings.

 

When it comes to The Raven King, there are a lot of things I could talk about.

I could talk about its plot — how this book weaves every little detail from previous books together into something that is so remarkable, and so, so satisfying.

I could talk about the characters — how tangible they feel, how ridiculously over-invested I became in all of their stories. But it’s not just about the specific characters, either. There are moments when each and every character flawlessly displays these truths about how people and emotions work, truths that are so succinctly and effortlessly presented that it hurts.

I could talk about Maggie Stiefvater’s way with words — which is, as usual, incredible. The Raven Cycle‘s words will both delight you and cut you, deeply. There were moments when I grinned like an idiot, and moments (including nearly the entire last 20%, I’m not ashamed to admit it) when I was sobbing. And that’s not hyperbole. I mean literally sobbing.

I could talk about how, as the finale to a much-beloved series, The Raven King had a lot of expectations to live up to — and it did so. It really, really did.

I could also turn into a total fangirl and talk about my ships. (My shiiipssss.)

But I don’t want to get into those things in detail. Talking about details could get spoilery, and this series is one that you need to experience, beginning to end, in the right order. So, no details. No spoilers.

There’s just one thing I really want to talk about, which is: the reason for this post.

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Gunslinging heroine stars in a YA fantasy? MORE OF THIS PLEASE.

I received this book for free from Viking Juvenile. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gunslinging heroine stars in a YA fantasy? MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
Rebel of the Sands
Rebel of the Sands #1

Written by: Alwyn Hamilton
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Release date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

My thoughts

THIS BOOK, YOU GUYS. This book was SO MUCH FUN. You all know how much I love a great fantasy, and I’ve been craving a fun “Wild West”-inspired book for quite some time. So when I read Rebel of the Sands, it was like getting the best of both worlds, and it was AMAZING. There are so many things to love about it — the plot and pacing (nonstop!), the worldbuilding (omg)… but most of all, of course, the characters. And especially Amani.

Amani is so fierce — and believably so. She had to grow into a tough young woman to survive in her town. She taught herself how to shoot, and she’s decided that her skills will get her out of her old life and into a better one. In the course of finding this new life, she gets caught up in a rebellion, and finds a purpose totally different from what she originally wanted, but it’s something she’s willing to fight for — and I loved this. Her goals broaden, from intensely personal to something that reaches beyond herself, and it was wonderful to watch.

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Tracking my TBR – March 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: February 2016 | This month: March 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress; and, in this edition, I’m also featuring the books I’m currently reading, and a couple titles I’m most looking forward to picking up this month.


February was… ugh. So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

BOOKS READ IN FEBRUARY

A Gathering of Shadows Final Bands of Mourning CaptivePrince PrincesGambit KingsRising

Five books last month! One re-read, Bands; new reads were A Gathering of Shadows and the Captive Prince trilogy (AGOS was 5 stars, obviously; CP trilogy were 2.5, 3.5, and then 4 stars respectively).

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A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…

A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…
A Gathering of Shadows
Shades of Magic #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Tor
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


** Spoilers for book 1 in this synopsis!! **

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

My Thoughts

As I start writing this review, I’ve literally just finished this book, and I just… can’t. I can’t. I sort of just want to leave you with a screenshot of my Goodreads updates and leave it at that, but I won’t do that to you. I actually do need to get some words out. Because this book is amazing and I really need to tell you why. So here goes.

Where do I even begin…?

A Gathering of Shadows is the kind of book I adore — one whose driving force is the characters. I can’t say too much about the plot, because a huge chunk of plotty stuff is packed into the end — along with a SUPER COOL MAGICAL TOURNAMENT heck yes — with a lot of ominous lead-up to that plotty stuff along the way. Shadows isn’t slow, though, and a plot-heavy conclusion doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t happen in the rest of the book. Oh man. Stuff happens. And so much of that stuff is my favorite thing — character-focused.

These bromances are my favorite.

So, here’s a bit of background: Kell is restless after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, and he desperately needs an outlet to let off some magical steam. Kell’s discontent is rubbing off on Rhy thanks to their bond; and Rhy is also suffering a devastating amount of guilt over all the deaths that happened in his kingdom, which he sees as his fault. (Cue me clutching Rhy to my heart and protecting him for all time, my little cinnamon roll 😭)

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Tracking my TBR – February 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: January 2016 | This month: February 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress — which books did I read? which books did I skip? — and feature the upcoming month’s TBR “grab-bag” (my version of a semi-scheduled TBR pile).


One month down, eleven to go — and I kicked off 2016 with re-reads. A bunch of them. …Okay, fine, exclusively them. (Don’t judge me.)

BOOKS I (RE-)READ IN JANUARY

TMTBR_Jan16reads

Re-reads: The Way of Kings, Shadows of Self, Mistborn: Secret History*,
Warbreaker, Written in RedMurder of Crows
New Reads: None…

I didn’t even read that many books in January, and they were all re-reads. Every. Single. One. Work was crazy, so I think I chose the bookish equivalent of “comfort-food” last month. And this month might end up being the same… We shall see. 😖

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This modern fairy tale’s writing blew me away.

I received this book for free from Dutton. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This modern fairy tale’s writing blew me away.
The Radiant Road

Written by: Katherine Catmull
Published by: Dutton
Release date: January 19th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Penguin's FirstToRead.com
Format: eBook
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.

After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.

Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.

A Few Thoughts

Honestly, I’m a bit speechless about this book. It wasn’t one I’d heard of before seeing it on Penguin’s First To Read website, but I snagged it there because fairies! Ireland! And then I decided to read it on a whim over my Christmas vacation last month, and once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading.

I see the word “lyrical” thrown around a lot when describing books with beautiful writing — I think that word is overused, frankly. Beautiful writing isn’t necessarily the same thing as lyrical writing, nor does it need to be. But in the case of The Radiant Road, “lyrical” is the perfect descriptor. The Radiant Road is lyrical like a song. The writing feels like there’s a beautiful melody running along underneath it, that sweeps you into it as if you’re in a dream.

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