Saturday 31 December 2022
CBR14 Book 48: "Greywaren" by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 4 stars
Spoiler warning! This book is the third and final in the Dreamer trilogy, which in itself is a follow-up to the four-book Raven Cycle. It very much doesn't stand on its own and won't really make sense unless you've read the previous books. The place to begin is Call Down the Hawk, or if you want to read all the books about Ronan, Adam, and their friends, The Raven Boys.
I'm going to be honest, while I normally love Stiefvater's writing and willingly go along with pretty much anything she comes up with, for a lot of this book, I was worried I was going to have to rate it a mere 3 stars, maybe rounded up to 3.5 if I was being generous. There was a lot of stuff in this book that didn't entirely work for me, and bits that I felt dragged rather a lot. Sadly, it's pretty much impossible for me to write about these things without spoiling some major plot points, and I don't want to influence anyone else's reading of the story - it may work better for them.
Let's just say that I wasn't exactly happy with Ronan's role in things for a lot of the book. I was also actively disappointed by the reveal of the "big bad" and the way the other characters had to rally to defeat said individual. I'm not sure what I expected for the final book in this trilogy, but it certainly wasn't that. Considering that Stiefvater is so clear about how this trilogy is all about the Lynch brothers, it felt odd that all three felt strangely sidelined for much of the plot in this one. Although, my new beloved Declan got to be pretty awesome, which seems to be about time. With every new detail revealed about the terrible life of poor Declan Lynch has led so far and the sacrifices he's had to make to keep his unusual brothers safe, the more I'm amazed that he's able to keep it together as well as he has. He deserved to finally let loose a bit.
While the whole nefarious villain storyline was one I could have done without, and Carmen still mostly bored me (but is a LOT more fun when being constantly exasperated by Hennessey, who could clearly irriate the halo off a saint), the deep dives into the beginnings of the Lynch family, beginning with Mór and Niall and giving the readers more insight into young Declan, Ronan and finally Matthew, were lovely. I don't like Mór even a little bit, but I don't think she's meant to be likable and wouldn't care one jot what anyone thinks of her, but it was nice to see a more relatable side of Niall and once again, Stiefvater clearly has a strange and wonderful imagination.
Lastly, it may be sentimental of me, but the epilogue, set four years after the main story, which some might see as fan-servicy and possibly wrapping up everything a bit too neatly into a little bow, felt like everything I'd wanted and hoped for as an ending.
So, to sum up - this third book had some stuff that I kind of loved, some stuff that pretty much bored me and made me want to skip sections, and an epilogue that made me blissfully happy. I can't wait to see what Stiefvater is going to do next.
Judging a book by its cover: While the fierce beasts on this cover may look intimidating, they represent Ronan's love for his brothers and the lengths he's willing to go to protect them. I agree that his sun hounds are rather terrifying, but it's not like they'll harm anyone who isn't out to harm the Lynch brothers. I also saw someone comment that the cover design very subtly shows one bird on the first book, two people on the second, and here three hounds. That's a nice subtle touch.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.