4.5 out of 5 stars
Lord, these books are good! The third installment of The Raven Cycle is even more unique and surprising than the last. I don’t know what genre you’d call this – YA fantasy, for sure, but it also reads like realistic fiction in so many ways. Love, money, status, society. Except for the pulling-things-from-dreams, psychic powers, the nearly-dead teenage boy, and the newly-resurrected Welsh princess, of course.
This installment begins with Blue, the raven boys and the ladies of Fox Way still on the hunt for Blue’s mother, Maura, who disappeared intentionally to search for Blue’s long-lost father. The story weaves through a dizzying catalog of mind-bending plots: Noah, who’s dead, begins quite terrifyingly to die, Ronan continues to be ruled by dreams of his own making, Adam leaves the last vestige of his old life behind. Gansey’s power manifests, and it’s so obviously his power that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. Blue is the character who’s known herself most completely all along, and she always proves her mettle. The people who hunted Ronan in The Dream Thieves change and get worse, coming not just for him but for all of them, in a way. A new villain, Colin Greenmantle, emerges, but soon there are worse things to worry about.
So many revelations in these stories, like Gansey’s power, are brilliantly done. The characters realize, while at the same time feeling like they’ve always known. I felt the same way! Of course this thing or that thing was clearly there all the time, I just didn’t put it into words. When those words appear on the page, it’s like the reader really knows these characters, even things they cannot admit to themselves.
Once again, Stiefvater manages to balance 4+ main characters with complete aplomb, keeping each member of the group intertwined and yet starkly individual. Blue comes to the realization that they all love each other, she and the raven boys, and that’s the best way to sum up this series: you love each character. You can also pity, hate and fear them at times, especially when some seem less (or more) than human, but as a reader you feel for them what they feel for each other.
It would be pointless to guess where this series is going: if nothing, every chapter is a surprise. One more book to go – I don’t want it to go quickly.