Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

 

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 review:

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

I don’t know how to feel about things now that this is over. Or, sort of over. I’ll come back to this point later.

After reading other reviews, it’s easy to see that The Raven Cycle—but more accurately, the Raven lifestyle—is an acquired taste (although the majority of us are like Hungry Hungry Hippos when it comes to the ladies of 300 Fox Way and the boys of Aglionby). I wanted more, and I was prepared to take whatever I could get. I am so thankful for this book.

On that note, this final instalment was not perfect. It was everything I loved about every page of every other book in the cycle, and it was also not. It was Nino’s and Robobees, scrying and dying, dreamworlds and the real world, nobility and decomposition. It was always about the boys, and Blue, and Cabeswater. And in the end, it was still the boys, and Blue, and Cabeswater. I am so thankful for this world.

“Gansey just loved it, fearfully, awesomely, worshipfully.”

For me, The Raven Boys was love at first page. I don’t know how to put it into words. The writing style and character development and eerie thrill and magic that fills its pages is something you have to witness for yourself, from the very beginning. If you did not enjoy the first book, one can assume you would not enjoy the rest, but that’s irrelevant if you’ve already come this far on the journey to find Glendower. I am so thankful for this journey.

I need a separate paragraph just to note my appreciation of the creature/dreamer/warrior that is Ronan Lynch. “Half a dreamer, half a dream, maker of ravens and hoofed girls and entire lands.” He is something else. He is everything you could want from a character. Someone filled with so much good, bad, the ugly and beautiful, that their existence, to simply know them or know of them, is like a gift. I am so thankful for Ronan Lynch.

And can we talk about Pynch? <spoiler removed> Yes. Yes. Yes. They are everything, everything, everything. I am so thankful for this love.

Also, Henry Cheng grinds my gears. Whatever type of plot device he was intended to be, his insertion into this world, into Gansey’s life, felt forced upon me. And I did not like it. In my opinion, the only good thing that Cheng added to the story was his sage advice to Gansey: “If you can’t be unafraid, be afraid and happy.” I am so thankful for these words.

And thank you, Maggie Stiefvater. Reading this series has made me feel like there truly is something more out there. I couldn’t imagine giving this anything less than 5 stars because I truly feel like this series will always be a part of me. Not in the same way that Harry Potter was (and still is), but just as significant. Just as important. I am so thankful for this series.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) because one can never be satisfied with something so beautiful coming to an end. But at least there’s still the possibility of something more. It’s never over. Cabeswater will always exist in some shape, way, or form.

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My review:

“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting. The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”

Perkins has done it again! After being in an awful reading slump for the past few weeks, I was actually able to devour this book in one sitting! In my opinion, there is nothing better than a cute and romantic novel to cheer a reader up.

In regard to the plot, I would be lying if I said these books weren’t predictable and (sometimes) cliché but that is honestly the best part. Sometimes stability—or in this case, knowing what you’re getting—is very satisfying in itself. Does that make sense? I knew this book would be fast-paced, cute, and heartwarming before I even read it. I knew I would feel like reading more books as soon as I finished this one. And that’s exactly what happened. Success!

I’m ready to read again. Bring on all the fantasy and romance and sad things. I am so ready.

★★★★ (4 stars) because I can always count on Perkins for a “reading slump cure”.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My mini-review:

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It’s a person.”

So, I can’t deny that this book was every bit of cuteness and fluff that I expected of it. And I must admit, I ate it all up. Yes, the tropes, stereotypes, and clichés are ever-so-plenty in Young Adult fiction, and this book is no exception, but I loved reading every page of it. I started reading sometime after midnight (thinking I could get a taste from the first couple of chapters before I went to bed) and then the next thing you know, it’s 4:30am and I’m skimming the acknowledgments. That’s what you call a “good read”. Literally.

★★★★ (4 stars) for being just as cute and romantic as I thought it would be. This is the perfect book for getting out of a reading slump. I wasn’t in one, but it felt like a slump was coming on.

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My mini-review:

“Georgie. You cannot be jealous of Dawn—that’s like the sun being jealous of a lightbulb.”

I already hate myself for even thinking this, but, if Rainbow Rowell’s other novels are the sun, then Landline is a lightbulb (in my opinion). The book isn’t bad. She writes everything well and I always enjoy her characters and I’ve never had trouble finishing her books. Perhaps my expectations are just too high because I’ve been so impressed by the other novels. I should also mention that this isn’t really a YA novel. I’m still too much of an adolescent to truly understand stories about marriage, divorce, and children, but it wasn’t terribly hard to read either. It read like a YA novel because Rainbow is good at what she does.

★★★ (3.5 stars) for almost making me look forward to being married (but only if it’s with someone who will never give up on me, no matter how shitty I am).

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

My mini-review:

“I didn’t know love could leave the lights on all the time.” […] “I thought it took more naps.”

This book is so charming. Rainbow’s books (I’ve only read two so far) always charm me. The only way I can describe how I felt while reading this book is good. It is a feel-good book. This is the type of book you pick up to read when your heart is already heavy with other tragedies. It’s upbeat, quirky, romantic, and conflicted enough to keep you involved, even if you are able to predict the ending. Some people might say the concept is silly, or that its predictability was a flaw. I say that it’s like watching a Rom-Com that is sort of like every other movie of its kind, complete with cute characters who don’t understand their own cuteness, but you still watch it anyway because it’s cute and makes you happy. I would also like to point out that I have yet to read another book with this whole plot premise.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) for being cute! I can’t help it. I loved reading this book.