Series Review: The Raven Cycle

Installments (3*): The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue

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*Fourth and final installment to be released on April 26, 2016

Individual ratings:

The Raven Boys: 4 

The Dream Thieves: 4 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue: 4.5 

Recommended for lovers of: Southern Gothic, Paranormal, Mysticism, Psychics, Welsh Mythology

Suggested age group: 14+

{I’m doing a compiled review for this series because I completed it before becoming a full-time reviewer.}

I initially gave each of these installments four stars when I read them last August (2015). Looking back, I can remember why I gave The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves those ratings, but I can’t recall anything significant enough to detract a whole star from Blue Lily, Lily Blue. The first installment starts off a little slowly, but only to build the incredible setting. This is difficult to appreciate as a first-time listener (or reader) because the setting and context for this story are so unlike what is traditionally seen in the YA genre. The Dream Thieves changes perspective just a bit and focuses more on Ronan, which I’m sure delights his multitude of fans, but Ronan was never my favorite.

Overall, the second installment interested me slightly less than the first, but was still extremely enjoyable. The third (but not final!) installment was much more action-oriented and where the story really seemed to pick up momentum. I’ve decided to bump it to 4.5 stars because this really is one of my favorite series. Over time, the appeal of this series has greatly increased in my mind. The Raven Cycle is like molasses. It’s thick and slow and smooth and rich and completely worth the wait. It’s the good kind of slow. The kind that builds up over time and has more of an impact on you after already consumed. It’s the kind of slow that seeps into your soul and sticks to your ribs. The kind you can’t shake. The vivid imagery of the setting Stiefvater created has withstood the test of time and remains almost just as vivid in my mind today as it was in August. Her writing is so uniquely impassioned that I just can’t help but *Blanche Deveraux swoon*. I’m looking forward to the fourth installment almost as much as I’m looking forward to The Winds of Winter, which is to say one hell of a lot.

Narration review: The other point that really stands out to me is the narration. Kudos to M. Stiefvater (or whoever is responsible) for choosing Will Patton to narrate The Raven Cycle. Whenever I think about The Raven Cycle, I still hear his voice in my head. The writing and the narration are so perfectly paired that it was hard to separate them for review. I don’t think either one would be quite as powerful without the other. Based on voice narration alone, this is quite possibly my favorite narrated series.

Patton’s voice is so soothing, with a sleepy Southern drawl that fits the setting perfectly, without being overly twangy or playing up to stereotypes. Either this guy is really a Southerner or he is just a fantastic actor. He somehow manages to capture the essence of each of the characters individually, while maintaining the same overall reverent, but eerie tone that the story evokes. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the musical additions to the audiobook. If I remember correctly, the author herself composed, arranged, and performed all of the original music for this series, which did so much to set the “feel” of the story and imprint it in my soul. I cannot begin to tell you how much the voice narration and the original music enhanced my audiobook experience with this series. I can count on one hand the number of series that are so improved upon by voice narration that they are actually better than their physical forms. This is in the top three.  ♣︎

Overall series rating: 4.25 

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible (Kindle Box Set)

Let me know what you think!