I have just finished The Raven King, the last in The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater.
Oh. My. Lord.
I loved the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, when I read it way back when (three years ago, apparently), and was bereft at how it just ended dead (well, bloomin furious is probably closer).
Then I read Dream Thieves and darn me if it didn’t happen again, although the beautiful organic prose made it almost okay. So, when Blue Lily, Lily Blue came out, I was still a little resentful, and not quite ready to re-read the first two and catch up.
I’m glad I waited because it meant I could consume all four books inside a month.
I’m trying to describe how I feel, without giving anything away: it’s a series that has to be appreciated without anything resembling a spoiler. The reveal, the experiencing alongside the characters, is the heart and soul of it.
To borrow a shadow of Maggie Stiefvater’s masterful imagery, I feel like I have hiked up an impossible mountain, thinking the view couldn’t get any better, certain I’ll be disappointed. And then the top is a panoramic view of a magical world. And then – and then – there’s a crystal ice-clear lake, and I jump in, and I’m shocked and shaking and tingling and alive all at once.
I want to hold the book, the characters, the story, the journey, hold it to my face, like I do the guinea pigs, and sink into the warmth and comfort and escapism of it.
I also want to write like that. And I know I can’t. And it’s okay.
It’s like at school, when I didn’t do A Level Art, because I was never going to get an A, and I wanted to go to Cambridge University (or other people thought I should want to, I can’t really remember) and because the other kids were just so amazing at all sorts of artistry I couldn’t even dream of, and I was never going to produce something like that out of my mundane and stubborn imagination.
So I did History and Maths and English Literature, and quietly slowly smothered my creativity and turned myself into an academic and then a number-cruncher.
I can’t let my awe-ful (in the full-of-awe sense) admiration, hunger and desire for these books, this writing, this powerful imagery and incredible world-building, I can’t let it stop me being the writer I am. Just because I can’t get an A, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to create.
But oh my. To write like that. To be able to give ten years to a set of books – ten years! To persist and dream and create and build and then – let go! How hard must it have been to finish? Just finishing reading them was hard enough. The only thing I admire more than the talent and vision is the sheer dedication and determination. I get bored writing a book after ten weeks.
Anyway, I’m still rather swept up in the Raven Cycle , the hyperbolic, dreamy, electrically charged world. So, sorry for the slightly dreamy hyperbolic post.
I’m not quite ready to come back to earth.
Normal service will resume when I tear myself away from the mountain top. Just a little bit longer.