“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.

First of all, I have never considered myself to be terribly good with words. No matter if it’s writing or talking, I completely lack the ability to express myself when it comes to certain topics — especially articulating emotions. I never know how to say what I feel. I’m often not sure exactly how I feel, which is common, I think. Words just don’t come easily when it comes to emotions.

And yet, I’m going to try to use my words a little bit and hopefully get my point across. The thing is, I’ve always longed for something bigger, something stranger and magical and more. Nearly everyone can probably relate to this feeling, whether it’s a big thing for you or a smaller thing. For me, it’s big. It can be a sad feeling, but it can also be happy, and I feel it near-constantly, in many different aspects of my life. It might sound odd, but I’ve grown to like this feeling, in whatever form it takes. But I don’t know how to explain it, not properly.

For some reason, though, I tend to gravitate toward different forms of media (tv, movies, books) that poke this feeling with a sharp stick.

There are no sticks in The Raven Cycle‘s arsenal. The Raven Cycle impales that feeling with a sword. Not only does it evoke that emotion so strongly, the series as a whole expresses what it’s like to feel that feeling — using its words and its story — better than anything I’ve encountered before. The Raven Cycle hurts. It’s not always a good hurt; but also, it is. (See?? I’m bad at words.) But my point is: I can finally, finally point to something concrete and say, Yes, that. That is the unexplainable feeling. That‘s what it is. This series is that.

And the fact that I can do that, point to something like that, when I don’t have words myself… It means a lot to me. So, thanks, Maggie. ♥

. . . Okay thank you that’s all now back to your regularly-scheduled programming READ THIS SERIES you can thank me later k bye

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

  1. This review is beautiful Nikki. I don’t feel like I’m good with words when it comes to expressing emotions either but I really got this^^ All the words you said here hit home for me. After a disastrous pre-order with Amazon gone wrong, I FINALLY have my hands on a copy and WILL be starting it this weekend! I cannot wait to laugh, cry and feel all the feels ♥

    • Thank you so much, Micheline! I’m so glad it resonated with you. It’s such a hard thing to explain. I am so sorry to hear about your Amazon mishap!!! Ahhh!! Feel free to send me all the DMs after you finally get to read it. So many feels.

  2. I left a somewhat similar “review” on Goodreads when I finished TRK! Obviously gave it 5 stars, but felt like genuinely reviewing the book wasn’t going to do it justice. It just felt wrong to sit down and say “Okay, I loved this book because…” because I have no actual words to describe my love for this series. It’s just…HUGE. A huge, huge, all-encompassing love. The characters, the magic, the story, the atmosphere, the writing. God. When you’ve reread a series 3 times and are preparing a 4th, it’s not really possible to review it. You just say: Yes, I love this. All of it.

    Brilliant thoughts, Nikki. Seriously. I just want to snuggle this series and never let it go.

    • Thank you, Sydney! I need to go back and find everyone’s reviews and really read them. I skimmed or skipped a lot of the early ones so I could go in blind. And yep, I could talk about the things I loved all day, but then… well, we’d be here all day. ;) Thus the not-a-review — I needed to get my feelings out about what it means to me, not necessarily about how amazing it was (though I couldn’t resist a little of that anyway, lol).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *