The Raven King
by Maggie Stiefvater
I’m a part of the population who died a little when this book’s original publication date was pushed back. I was devastated. I needed to read it like I needed my next breath. But there was nothing else I can do. Earth continued to orbit around the sun. Seasons changed as I came closer to my death. With very little desire to live, I trudged on and waited with everyone. Until that one fateful day when I was given a reprieve: my bookstore had it three days earlier than its publication date. Huzzah.
So I got ready to boogie. I settled in with my Trenta Black Tea Lemonade and told my family to leave me the hell alone. Hours passed. After a few starts and stops, I grew agitated. Brows furrowed, I start to question if I might be reading a different book. For one, I was reading and rereading passages. For another, I was confused af. This is not the Maggie I knew and love. She was no longer speaking my language. Days passed. I was no closer to deciphering the words. Why was it so complicated? What changed? Why am I suddenly struggling to imagine what she was describing? I wanted to cry. I wanted to shout at a cruel god who made me wait extra long for a book that will not fulfill its promise of greatness. But I persevered. Who cares if it will take me longer than necessary to read something that I proclaimed to be the most anticipated book to come out this year? I didn’t give up hope. Somewhere in there, I knew I’ll get all the lovin’ feeling back.
The story went on. Gansey and Blue continued to ignore the four-letter-word flashing above their heads. Blue continued to resist kissing Gansey. The women of 300 Fox Way proceeded to exist in their mystical magnificence per usual. Blue’s father was still doing his rendition of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet. Adam and Ronan circled each other like prey and predator (which is which was everyone’s prerogative). Ronan brought strays he collected from his dreams like always. The story went on but I couldn’t even muster an ounce of excitement for what’s unfolding before me. Because the truth of the matter is, The Raven King dragged. The writing didn’t work for me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t ever remember Maggie’s writing to be this complicated and long-winded. It’s too pretty for my taste. And I’m the type of reader who was a high tolerance for purple prose. I know how to appreciate cloaked meanings. But above all, If I was disappointed in The Raven King, I was even more disappointed in myself. Because I knew that I would be the black sheep in the community after everything is said and done. I am ashamed.
Towards the end, a couple of things happened. There was kissing that became a preamble to chapter 39; the culmination of all my wanting happened. For the last two years, I’d imagined how it could be. Who would make the first move? Who would be the first one to run away after they realized what had happened? I had imagined it in every conceivable way but nothing could’ve prepared me for that moment. It was glorious, splendid, beautiful and way too freaking short. But it doesn’t matter. Because in a few short pages, The Raven King was redeemed. That was all it took. Two kids kissing.
It turns out that I’m easy. I can be bought with the right bribe. You can irritate me with your beautiful words. You can prolong the agony of waiting for my ship to sail. But if you give me everything I’ve been hoping for, you can forget that I ever considered abandoning your book in the first place.
All’s well that ends well.