Off the Shelf: A Review of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodbye beautiful Cabeswater.
Goodbye impossible dreams.
Goodbye to my ravens and lily, the ones who let me be a part of this magical adventure, and the ones I laughed, cried, and loved with.

It’s over… It’s really over. The Raven Cycle has come to an end, and in a way, I’m having a hard time dealing with the loss. There’s still so much more left that could be explored. So many questions I have that are going unanswered. So much potential for MORE. And yet, no. I’m comfortable with the way we, the readers, left Henrietta, and I want to celebrate the magic that is this series coming full circle.

“Depending on where you began the story, it was about this place: the long stretch of mountain that straddled a particularly potent segment of the ley line.”

raven king

 

Caution: As this is the last book in the series, to talk about it fully and do it justice, there may be spoilers ahead….

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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Waiting on Wednesday #6

You might be expecting that for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday I would choose The Raven King. I did just finish reading all of the Raven Cycle books, and the final one is being released next week, but NO! That would be too easy. You already know how much I’m looking forward to that one, so let me tell you instead about another book being released very soon that I’m excited about.

Everland

By Wendy Spinale

Publication Date: May 10th, 2016

everland

Synopsis (via Goodreads)

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

Why I’m Waiting

When I first found this book, it had the same release date as Raven King. At first I was bummed that it has been pushed back to May 10th, but then I realized that gives me plenty of time to devour the last Raven Cycle book, come to terms with however it ends, and move on to something pretty, shiny, and new – in this case, Everland.

Not too long ago, I tossed around the idea of writing my own fairy tale retelling. I love retellings with every fiber of my being, but the first one I ever did (my very first NaNoWriMo project) was a big pile of slop with nothing even remotely usable. I really wanted to try again, focusing on one specific tale rather than trying to incorporate so many, and I wanted to make it dark. Really dark. I’d performed in our high school play of Peter Pan (I was Tiger Lily, Wendy’s understudy, a pirate, the Stage Manager, makeup artist, and really any part they could throw me into – we didn’t have much of a theatre group at the time). So doing a retelling of Peter Pan was one of my first thoughts. I hadn’t really found anything in the YA genre that had done that before. Unfortunately, the idea never came to fruition, BUT luckily, Wendy Spinale has filled that gap with her debut YA novel – Everland. I’m sure it will be everything that I’m hoping for in a Peter Pan retelling.

Also, you should definitely check out Wendy Spinale’s site, especially more about her personally. She was an actress for Disneyland, and yes, her real name is actually Wendy – it’s not just a pen name since her book deals with Peter Pan.

I think Everland will have all of the dark, dystopian elements that I love, but there’s one more reason that I’m really looking forward to it: Spinale has set the story in an entirely steampunk world. I hadn’t really considered a steampunk approach to a fairy tale before, but now that the thought is in my head, I’m dying to see how she approaches it. Imaginative ideas like this in the YA genre make me truly want to never grow up!

Add Everland to your To Be Read Shelf on Goodreads
Pre-order Everland via Amazon
Pre-order Everland via Barnes & Noble

Off the Shelf: A Review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Well, I did it. I managed to complete all three Raven Cycle books just in time for the release of the final book – The Raven King (which will be out April 26th). I thought that life might steal this book away from me, as I’ve had a lot of extra work here lately on top of dealing with some ongoing health problems, but I triumphed. Book #3 of the Raven Cycle – Blue Lily, Lily Blue – is setting up some major events for the grand finale so let’s jump right in to the good stuff…

bluelilylilyblue

Synopsis (via Goodreads)

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Off the Shelf: A Review of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog here lately, then you’ll know that a few weeks ago, I discovered Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. Once I got hold of The Raven Boys, as I told you in my review, I COULD NOT put it down, and I immediately ordered the rest of the series and preordered the fourth book.  When I started reading the second book, The Dream Thieves, I had much the same reaction as I had to the first. Homework wasn’t completed. Texts and phone calls went unanswered. Bits of conversation were entirely missed. All because I could not get my nose out of this book, and, well, sacrifices had to be made…

dreamthieves

Summary (via Goodreads)

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

I’m so excited to talk about this one!
Continue reading Off the Shelf: A Review of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

OFF THE SHELF: A Review of The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

What originally led me to The Archived? Well, to be honest, laziness. In my downtime at work, I peruse goodreads for descriptions that strike my fancy enough to make me check our system for the book’s availability. I stumbled across the page for Victoria Schwab’s Vicious. I was intrigued by the description and the high rating, and a quick search of our directory showed me that our library had a copy available… four floors below me. I’m not terribly lazy, but I do admit that I made a mental note to go seek the book out the next time I ventured downstairs, and then returned to my goodreads browsing. The reviewers of Vicious seemed to continuously recommend Schwab’s other books, which just so happened to be…what’s that? Young Adult? Well, well, well… that just so happens to be my home turf.

A couple clicks later, and I’m staring at the screen, wide-eyed in awe of the description of The Archived.

“Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.”

You have my attention.

Mackenzie Bishop has been selected to replace her grandfather as a “Keeper”, someone who tracks down the restless dead known as Histories before they can escape the Archive into the Outer (our) world. Not only must Mac cope with the grief of just losing her younger brother, but her responsibilities as Keeper begin to push her to her limit. She must balance her lies, her family life, and still keep her wits about her as she discovers someone has been altering the memories of the Histories. This threat could lead to the downfall of the Archive itself, forever cutting Mac off from her brother and her grandfather, Da.

I immediately located The Archived among our YA shelves, and happily carried it home, thinking I’d have a book to last me the weekend. Nope! My first day off, I spent utterly consumed by this book. Could NOT put it down. Maybe it’s just the librarian in me, but the thought of library shelves filled with shell bodies of the dead whose memories can be read like books… well, the premise just automatically appeals to my taste. Factor in mysterious murders and intriguing, secretive characters, and you have me hooked.

Things I enjoyed:
I was fascinated by the ins and outs of how the Archive worked, especially with how Mackenzie would track down the Histories in the Narrows (the space between the Archive and the Outer). There was a romantic angle (or should I say angles?), but it didn’t overwhelm the story, for which I was grateful. Heavy topics like death and unhealthy relationships, were touched on gracefully and with language that felt comfortable coming from a sixteen year old. Victoria Schwab hits it out of the park with her creative style, delicate weaving of story lines, and a pacing that builds anticipation in the last half of the book as Mackenzie starts to piece together mysteries from the past and present. Schwab doesn’t reveal absolutely everything about every single character, she reveals only enough to keep you wondering. Who should Mackenzie trust? What motivation does this character have and is it genuine?

Things I wasn’t a fan of:

At first, it wasn’t very clear that Da was Mackenzie’s grandfather. Had I not read it in some of the other goodreads reviews, I probably wouldn’t have caught on so quickly.

The semi-romantic interest in Owen felt a little strange and rushed. She may have been curious by him not slipping and felt pity for his story with his sister, but a lot of their romantic scenes where she’d take comfort in him just felt AWKWARD. You’re a Keeper, you know what Histories are and what is supposed to happen with them, and to go beyond overlooking all that, break who knows how many rules, and form some sort of bond with that History…well, it didn’t feel true to character.

Her best friend. Heck, I can’t even remember her name now, and that’s why it bothers me. Mackenzie’s best friend from before she moves makes appearances in the book only through phone calls and then an actual visit in the last few pages tying together a happy ending. Does she remind us that Mackenzie is still trying to be an average teenager with average teenage friends? Sure. Does she do anything to further the plot? Nope. This character mostly just feels to me like filler.

MY PREDICTIONS:
The sequel to this book, The Unbound, has been waiting anxiously on my Kindle for me to finish this post. I’ve definitely been having trouble resisting the urge to delve into it, but I forced myself to get my predictions in writing before beginning. So…SPOILER ALERT… here are some things I predict for The Unbound.

Wesley and his guyliner will definitely be back and making his way out of the friend-zone. Of course, Mackenzie will still be working through her feelings for Owen the Psychotic History.

I feel like Da will have a much larger presence in this book. It’s already been stated that the Librarians are the Histories of those who have worked for the Archive, so it just makes sense. What else is he going to do? Stay dead? I don’t think so. I fully expect Da to be a Librarian.

We already know that in this one Mackenzie will be starting her new school. Which I guess can only mean high school drama will be finding its way into her already stressful life. This should also give us new characters and new developments, and will somehow work into whether the Archive will remain vigilant or fall.

MY RATING:
4.5/5 Library Cards

So, there you have it! Pick up The Archived by Victoria Schwab at your local library, bookstore, or online, and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!