All good cycles must come to an end

10 Jun

There are many literary cycles,  groups of stories focused on common figures, often (though not necessarily) based on mythical figures or loosely on historical ones. You can listen to the four operas of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 15 or 16 hours.

It took 11 hours, 53 minutes, over about a week, for me to listen to The Raven King, the fourth and final book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle.

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Goodreads Summary: Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

The book didn’t quite start out as I expected and some new characters were introduced, but I quickly recalled what had gone on before and found myself drawn into the story. The ending was and was not what I predicted, since my predictions changed from chapter to chapter.And when the real solution appeared, it made perfect sense.

I am going to miss Adam, Ronan, Noah, Gansey,  and Blue. Although the ending leaves their futures open, I somehow don’t thing Stiefvater will return to these characters.

You can listen to all four books in The Raven Cycle in about 46 hours.

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All four books are narrated by the actor Will Patton, whose voice is the perfect vehicle for the series, set in rural Virginia. If you are looking for a summer literary adventure, this might be a journey you will enjoy.

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