Cycle through ‘The Raven Cycle’

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, Lifestyles

By Madelyn Jones
Staff Writer

If you are looking for a dynamic, unpredictable read that immerses you into complex relationships and a mysterious world, then Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Raven Cycle” is what you are looking for. This is series is comprised of four books, “The Raven Boys,” “The Dream Thieves,” “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” and “The Raven King” and centers around five teenagers’ quest for the Welsh king and legend Glendower.

The series has been marketed as a young adult (YA) romance, but the actual story is much more than that. Do not be afraid of the YA title, because it does not fall into the stereotypes and tropes often found in the genre. The plot is filled with many elements besides romance, including mystery, psychic powers and dynamic friendships. In fact, the romance turns out to not appear much throughout the series. When it does, it is incorporated beautifully, commonly leaving readers wanting more.

What I found intriguing was how I could rarely predict what was going to happen next. The plot is based around numerous mysteries that are hard to accurately predict. This story also brings many plot twists that are executed brilliantly.

The most successful element of this series that makes it stand out from the rest is its complicated and realistic relationships between the characters. If the characters’ names were taken out of the dialogue tags, it would be easy to guess who the interaction is between because the character dynamics are so unique and thoroughly explored.

The series is also full of complex female characters that do not usually fall into the usual gender tropes. By just hearing the summary this might seem false since the majority of the main five characters are male, but the series has a large and eclectic cast. Many major and influential characters are women, and representation is always a plus for me.

Arguably the most important part of any book is the style of prose, and Stiefvater’s has me wanting to highlight the whole book. Her style is rich with description that creates encompassing ambiences and feelings to each scene. She can write serious and humorous scenes with equal grace, and commonly intertwines a sense of whimsy.

The setting in this series, Virginia, in many ways becomes a character itself. Stiefvater lives in Virginia and her experience and understanding of it shines through in the setting, which is immersed into the stories and influences the characters. The liveliness of setting creates more dimension to an already rich plot.

Another fun element of the series is how re-readable the installments are. Stiefvater is a master at foreshadowing, making it entertaining to pick up the books again and bring new meaning to many sections of the books.

“The Raven Cycle” by Maggie Stiefvater is a series I would highly suggest to almost everyone because it is beautifully executed and has some aspect for anyone. It’s a book that can be read quickly and enjoyed for its action-packed plot and diverse characters, or slowly, appreciating the mastery of words and the intense feelings they provoke.

 

mgjones@willamette.edu

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