The Raven King – Book Review

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Title: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Paperback: 439 pages
Published: April 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (Goodreads):
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.

What a ride.

What.

A.

Ride.

After reading the second and third books in this series, my hopes weren’t exactly sky high (but still high enough). Imagine my surprise when this book blasted those expectations to pieces and replaced them with something so much better.

A quick recap of the main characters:
– Blue lives with a family of psychics and is destined to kill her true love.
– Gansey is afore mentioned love, searching for a dead king.
– Ronan is the Greywaren who can bring things out of his dreams.
– Adam is now a magician who is tied to Cabeswater (which, btw Ronan dreamt up).
– Noah is a ghost who was killed on the Ley Line which saved Gansey’s life.

So, to begin:
The plot.
It was fantastic. Fast-paced, full of drama and every character got a look in. Every character got their proper send off and ending to their own plot line. I loved every minute of it and how everyone’s stories were intertwined.

Depending on where you start, the story is about…
-Ronan and Adam. A big shock for me was discovering that Ronan has somehow become my favourite character in the entire series. For ages it was Noah, but…whoa. Ronan.
His interactions with Blue were the highlights for me and his character developed so, so much in this last book. I’m glad that the book ended with him, actually. Also, he and Declan repaired their relationship, which led to a touching scene between them.

-Adam a) didn’t die and b) faced up to his parents, which were both pretty major things. His character has had perhaps the biggest arc and has changed the most in terms of how he views himself and how he views the others.

-Blue Sargent. Blue realised that she was always something more than an amplifier in a family of psychics, and I love that. Her journey came to an appropriate end with Gansey and all.

-Gansey. Gansey was the Raven King (surprise!) and he died (again) but he came back to life, so it was all good. His sacrifice was well written, I felt his fear. He and Blue got their happy ending and their kiss.

-Noah Czerny. Noah wasn’t present for a lot of the book, but he did get his chapter to say goodbye, even if it was only to Gansey and to no one else. I kinda wish he’d had a proper goodbye scene, but hey ho.

– Henry Cheng I ended up really liking. Now, I can’t remember a lot of the third book and his appearance, so I don’t really remember if he was a total git or not. But yeah, he was pretty cool, him and his RoboBee. (Also don’t get me started on his magician speech at the end, I’m not sure whether I want to laugh at it or cry. In a good way, of course.)

-Another character that I very much like is Mr Gray, and the scene when he ‘kidnapped’ Henry had me in stitches. I like that Blue has just accepted him and that they seem to have quite an amicable relationship.

There are many more characters that I could talk about, but I would be here all day, so there are the most important ones (in my opinion).

Character-wise, it feels a little like Henry has taken Noah’s place and that everyone totally forgot about him. Literally no one mentioned him after the whole ‘being posessed’ thing. I’m not sure whether to be slightly annoyed at that or not, but at least Noah’s at peace.

The main villain of the book was Piper Greenmantle, who had very little screen time. It was mostly her actions (summoning a demon) which actually caused the destruction of Cabeswater and almost got everyone killed. The fact that she wasn’t killed by one of the main characters shows the different story arcs even more and how they barely even brush each other in some places. But everything is connected by Cabeswater and the Raven Boys and Blue.

I did like how their quest to find Glendower ultimately ended in him being dead, and the boys and Blue realising that they had a different quest all along. It just shows how paths and journeys can adapt and change, which was great to watch unfold.

One of my favourite scenes in the book was between Ronan, Adam and Orphan Girl/Opal when they are in Cabeswater. I just loved the dynamic between Ronan and Orphan Girl and getting to see it through Adam’s eyes made it all a lot clearer.

Anyone elses thoughts on this book? Did anyone dislike it? Let me know!

Holly xx

Messenger of Fear – Book Review

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Title: Messenger of Fear
Author: Michael Grant
Hardcover: 272 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Summary (From the back of book):
He is the messenger.
He offers you a game.

Pay or play

“Who are you?”

That was the first question I asked the boy in front of me. The pale, solemn young man in the black coat with small silver skulls for buttons.
But he didn’t answer it. Instead he answered the question I never asked, but which was nevertheless what I really wanted to know.

Am I dead?

No. Not dead, he told me.

But surely not quite alive either. How could I be? I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, still shuddering at the memory of the creeping yellow mist that had awoken me in that strange, silent land, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

I don’t even know where to begin with this book.

To be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure whether I liked it or not.

The main thing is just how…creepy the entire thing is. The entire concept is foreign to me and I’m not entirely sure it was necessary to write.

That being said, the writing style was beautiful. And I don’t say that very often. From the first few pages, the writing just captivated me (which may be why I made it through the entire book.) Just, look:

(The mist) found its insinuating way under rough denim and seeped, almost like a liquid, along bare skin. Fingerless, it touched me. Eyeless, it gazed at me. It heard the beating of my heart and swept in and out of my mouth with each quick and shallow breath.

And that’s from the first page.

However, it just doesn’t fit the main character, Mara. Yes, I get that she likes writing, but I highly doubt that those thoughts were what went through her head. Whilst the book was written entirely from her perspective, I’m still not entirely sure what she’s like as a person. As a character, she did mature and grow especially in her decisiveness about the sentencing of other people.

That leads on to the other ‘main’ character – The Messenger. The mysterious, brooding messenger with chalk white skin and black hair and skull buttons and wearing entirely black. (And yes, there’s even a scene with him shirtless, in which Mara can appreciate his body. *sighs*.) He’s from a long line of brooding characters and it gets really old, really fast.

Moving on.

Oriax. I still have no idea why she was included, aside from to conveniently persuade Derek to not play the game and give Mara her first taste of The Piercing. (By the way, if you dislike REALLY graphic descriptions of the heart and blood, skip a few pages.)

Daniel.
What. The. Heck. Is. He.

The book deals with some pretty heavy topics, like suicide, bullying and homophobia. They are all treated with respect and I can deal with that. It’s good to see them properly represented and dealt with in a manner that people can relate too, as well as seeing both sides of the story in a given situation.

That being said, the plot twist at the end wasn’t a huge shocker (although, I must admit, I didn’t see it coming) and felt very anticlimactic.

In all, I think that I’m most annoyed about how misleading the blurb on the book is. To me, it was selling a fast-paced action book, maybe a little like the Hunger Games. What I got was a slower mystery novel that was okay but not on the level that I have come to expect from Michael Grant.

Anyone else feeling slightly let down by this book?

Holly xx