Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Raven King (Nora Sakavic)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 23 on My Book List 2021

”He was their family. They were his. They were worth every cut and bruise and scream.”

trigger warnings: torture, sexual abuse, violence, emotional abuse, bullying, sexual assault, dysfunctional relationships

OH MY! I don’t even know where to start with this review! Like seriously! How am I supposed to put all those feelings into words?! T_T It’s been about 3 weeks I finished this book, or should I rather say it’s been three weeks since the book finished me? Because it definitely would be the truth! ARGH!! I’m still not over all the things that happened in here and I probably never will be! Don’t let yourself be deceived by the easy and simple writing style. This book, THIS SERIES, is packing such a punch I’m still gasping for air!

I just can’t with Neil and Andrew!!! They are my precious babies and I suffered so much with them when I read “The Raven King”. Like, so, so, so damn much my heart is still bleeding all over the place and I can’t seem to be able to staunch the wound. >_< There are so many things I need to get off my chest and when I began to write down the quotes for this review I realized that this is going to be one of my super long ones, because there is no way I’ll be able to keep this short. Absolutely no way!

I already said it and I’ll say it again: Nora Sakavic’s writing style might be rather simple and not all too elaborate but her characters!!! Oh, boy! Her characters are everything! Truth be told, I kinda like that Sakavic’s writing is so clean and straightforward. It suits the characters and the mood of the book and it makes it feel real?! So real that I would die for each and every single one of the Foxes. Okay, maybe not Kevin. *lol* I’m not his biggest fan, but the others? Yes, definitely. Jeez! My emotions are still all over the place and I haven’t even begun to write my actual review. So let’s not waste any more time and go straight for my character section! I HAVE THOUGHTS!!!! Oh, and just in case you want to hear them all, here’s the link to my blog post. 😉

2

Welcome to the dorm of the Foxes! Where we trade in punches, barbs and most importantly spoilers! So if you don’t want to purchase either of them you better don’t continue to read. For all the brave out there: Be my guest! ;-P

Neil Josten:

”He forgave himself for being jaded. At eighteen years old, he’d seen more people die than he could comfortably count. Death was unpleasant, but it was a familiar and tolerable ache in his chest.”

I love my precious cinnamon roll boy to bits and pieces and I want to hug him for the rest of my life!!! AADKFASKDFSFAK! I can’t with Neil! On the one hand it was so awesome to see him grow as a character and to see how he started to figure out things and found his place in the team but on the other hand the moments when his past caught up to him killed me! And I’m not only talking about the things that happened to him in the past but also about the new things that happened to him in this book! ARGH!!! I hate Riko so much for what he did to him and I want him to burn in hell!!! But we’re not talking about damn Riko here, we’re talking about my sweet boy and how broken he was by the end of the book. T_T My precious Neil that was so surprised to find out that he was happy with his team and did everything possible in order to keep Andrew and the others safe! My precious Neil that got tortured by freaking damn Riko!! T_T I can’t!!! That scene at the ending when he called Wymack and told him that he’s not okay?! IT FREAKING BROKE ME!!! I cried buckets of tears and almost choked on them. My “I’m fine” boy admitting that he isn’t fine… I’m dead. This was a knife to my heart…. T_T And now excuse me while I cry some more… T_T

”Neil liked outrunning and outsmarting the defense. He liked the rush of a perfect score. He liked the pressure and the triumph. The rest of his life was a frightening mess; Neil needed the power and control of a fierce game.”

”As he listened to them, Neil realized he was happy. It was such an unexpected und unfamiliar feeling he lost track of the conversation for a minute. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this included or safe.”

”I know it’s not entirely your fault that you are mentally unbalanced and infected with these delusions of grandeur, and I know you’re physically incapable of holding a decent conversation with anyone like every other normal human being can, but I don’t think any of us should have to put up with this much of your bullshit. Pity only gets you so many concessions, and you used yours up about six insults ago. So please, please, just shut the fuck up and leave us alone.”

”Would you want it back?” Betsy asked.
“Do you have any idea how much it cost?” Neil asked. “Yes, I want it back.”
“It wouldn’t bother you that it was used as a murder weapon?”
“It didn’t kill anyone important.”

Wymack answered on the fourth ring. “You have a good reason to be bothering me on a holiday?”
“I didn’t know who else to call,” Neil said. He barely recognized his own voice. The last time he’d spoken he’d been screaming; apparently his vocal cords still hadn’t recovered. Neil pressed his forehead to the wall and tried to breathe. He couldn’t remember when breathing wasn’t a chore.
“Neil?” All the gruff posturing left Wymack’s voice that sharp edge was all alarm. “Are you all right?”
Neil smiled. It felt like it tore his face open. “No. No, I’m not. I know it’s kind of sudden, but can you come get me? I’m at the airport.”
“Wait right there,” Wymack said. “I’m on my way.”

”Facing Riko like this went against everything his mother taught him. He’d been raised to run, to sacrifice everything and everyone to ensure his own survival. His mother had never given him ground to stand on. Maybe that was why he hadn’t been strong enough to save her in the end. A jumble of lies had nothing to fight for. But Neil Josten was a Fox. Andrew called this home; Nicky called him family. Neil wasn’t going to lose any of it. If two weeks with Riko was the price to keep his team safe, Neil would pay it.”

Andrew Minyard:

”I think I’m coming down with something. Cough, cough. Best I leave before I infect your team. There’s so few of them left. You can’t stand to lose anyone else.”

Ahh that sounds like my boy Andrew! XD I love Andrew as much as I love Neil and I’ll never get tired of defending him! Andrew is so savage and I love him for it! <333 He might give off the impression of being super tough and hard but the boy that’s underneath the rude attitude and all that bravado has a heart of gold. And he’s thoroughly broken. I never knew how broken he actually was until I read “The Raven King”, but now I know and my heart aches so much for him that I can’t even breathe. AND OH GODS the scene when he got raped by Drake… I felt so sick after reading it and I had to put the book aside for a day in order to digest it. I still feel sick when I think about it and I simultaneously want to cry and strangle the bastard that is (or was) Drake! This scene still has me shaking with anger and boiling with rage and crying angry tears for my boy. And I just… I can’t. I wrote in my update: <i>“I think I stopped breathing… my heart must have stopped beating while I read this. I’m still covering my mouth and I feel sick now…”</i> And I still feel the same way about it. No wonder Andrew didn’t want to get adopted by Cass if he suffered such abuse by her son and no wonder he was so furious Cass had 6 foster children after him. No wonder he hated Luther (Nicky’s dad) so much! My precious Andrew!!! And OH GODS!!! To know he was so drugged by his meds he didn’t even put up much of a fight… that he didn’t even care. I was so glad they decided to take him off his meds after that but I was absolutely horrified when Riko said he bought one of the docs at Andrew’s rehab centre! I’m so scared now… I’m so, so, so, so damn scared!!! T_T

”He was a little more cooperative than his brother in that he answered Dan or Matt if they asked him something, but his answers were lightning quick, borderline rude, and always followed by a redirect to someone else at the table.”

”I know you can’t understand this because you’ve never had a real family, but Nicky has to give his parents another try. If you’re lucky this dinner will be the breaking point. Nicky’s got his hopes up thinking his mother’s come around. If she lets him down again he might be ready to walk away for good.”

Andrew tilted forward as far as he dared. He started to sway, but Neil caught this shoulder to keep him from falling. “Looks like I was right about him after all. Or do you still think this is all a big misunderstanding? Go on, tell me again how I’m too unbalanced to understand normal brotherly affection and love. Tell me this is natural.”

”Better luck next time, Neil,” he said. “I warned you once already, didn’t I? I don’t feel anything.”
“Anymore,” Neil said, barely a whisper.
The old scars up and down Andrew’s wrists were evidence of how far Andrew had to fall to hit this point.

Coach Wymack:

”Wymack didn’t care if he had nine Foxes or twenty-five. He’d stand behind them until the bitter, bloody end.”

I still love this man and I know a lot of people judge him for how he handles his Foxes but I think he’s doing the best he can. He’s trying to give them a nurturing environment using pretty questionable methods but he’s taking good care of his Foxes and he knows exactly what they need! It was really good to hear some of his background story and considering his youth it’s no wonder he decided to start a team like the Foxes. All those broken teens need a place where they can be themselves, find themselves and Wymack is providing it. He’s the secret hero of this story and despite his gruff attitude he’s always there when they need him. The fact he didn’t even hesitate to pick Neil up from the airport says it all. And that he didn’t comment on his wounds and the state he found him in. He accepts and tries to help and I could kiss him for it! <333

”You don’t need me to tell you life isn’t fair. You’re here because you know it isn’t. Life doesn’t care what we want out of it; it’s up to us to fight for what we want with everything we’ve got.”

”Truth was Wymack picked them because he understood firsthand how much they needed another chance. He looked the other way because he knew how badly some of them needed their escapes to survive.”

”If – and that’s a big if, Neil – if Riko really was behind it somehow, the blame is all on him. He chose to take out his petty rage on Seth. He chose to cross a line. You didn’t. You hear me? You didn’t. Don’t ever blame yourself for Seth’s death. That is too dangerous a road to walk down. You keep your eyes on your own path and keep moving forward.”

Wymack looked amused by his tactlessness. “My mother OD’d almost ten years ago and my father lost a prison fight the first year I started here at Palmetto State. I hadn’t spoken to either of them since I left D.C.”

”Look,” Wymack said. “I know I’ve always told you all to take your personal problems up with Betsy or Abby. I’ve said it’s not my place to get into anything outside the court. I hope you’ve figured out by now I’m just blowing hot air. I’m not real good at being a shoulder, but I do have a working set of ears.”

Nicky:

„They’re all women,” Nicky said. “That doesn’t help us.”
“Nicky,” Neil started.
Nicky plucked the list from Neil’s fingers and crumpled it. “Your ignorance is endearing, Neil. You’re nineteen and you’ve never looked at Allison’s tits? There’s no way you’re straight. You and I really need to sit down and talk about this sometime.”

Jeez! Nicky cracked me up so much in this book. I know it’s totally wrong that he always calls out Neil on being gay or at least on the LGBTQ+ spectrum but he obviously isn’t entirely wrong? *lol* Also Nicky has that happy vibe about him and it’s such a nice contrast to all the gloomy sadness of his team mates. He’s like a sunray in the middle of the darkness that’s the Foxes so I’m really glad they have him in their team. Plus he has a heart of gold too! I loved how Neil killed him with being so thankful for everything the Foxes did for him. Also that moment when Neil realized Nicky is his friend. AEFKDAKSDFJSADKFJ! Plus Nicky is wise! Sometimes was totally thrown by his wisdom. Still, the scene with his parents killed me and I hate them for not accepting him the way he is. He deserves to be loved and to be accepted for who he is and the fact his parents don’t love him because he’s gay and want to change him. URGH! I hate them so much for hurting my sunshine! >_<

”Kid, you’re killing me,” Nicky said. “Why do you always get that deer-in-headlights look when someone does something nice for you?”

”That’s what love is about, see? That’s why Exy isn’t ever going to be enough, not for you or Andrew or anyone. It can’t hold you up, and it won’t make you a stronger or better person.”

3

Neil & Andrew:

”Why did you pay for stalls, Coach?”
Wymack lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Maybe I knew you’d need them one day.”
Andrew smiled around the mouth of his bottle. “Neil is a walking tragedy.”
“You’re a pretty pathetic sob story yourself,” Wymack said.

You know, just to write this review has me going through all those emotions again and I’m crying and I’m not okay! T_T But now that I started I can’t seem to be able to stop. So here I go: I LOVE THOSE TWO!!! I love them so much it’s breaking my freaking heart and gluing it together at the same time. They are among my favourite OTPs and they didn’t even kiss yet! But I’m sure they will because there is no way those two broken boys won’t end up together! All the things they are doing for each other, the little moments of trust they show, the infinitesimal gestures. GODS! They are on the same level as Pynch! <333 I adore them and I love how they learn to trust each other. That scene when Andrew convinced Neil to use his phone and the moment Neil allowed Andrew to touch him in order to show him he can trust Neil to take care of Kevin while he’s away! ALSO THAT ALMOST MOMENT WHEN THEY WERE SO CLOSE THEY COULD HAVE KISSED!!!! AHHHH! I’m going to die from this slow burn. Neil is slowly uncovering the true Andrew Minyard and I’m here for it!!! And as horrible as the scene with Drake was… Andrew allowed Neil to touch him and to help him so… as much as my heart breaks whenever I think about it, I still couldn’t help but notice that detail. Plus their team mates are noticing too because they always raise their eyebrows when Neil is getting away with something or allowed to drive Andrew’s car. They will end up together and it will be beautiful and I just wish them all the best and that their scars won’t get in their way. <333 My two precious boys deserve all the love and happiness in the world. T_T

”Who am I supposed to call?”
“Nicky, Coach, the suicide hotline, I don’t care.”
“I’m remembering why I don’t like you.”
“I’m surprised you forgot in the first place.”

”Your parents are dead, you are not fine, and nothing is going to be okay,” Andrew said. “This is not news to you. But from now until May you are still Neil Josten and I am still the man who said he would keep you alive. I don’t care if you use this phone tomorrow. I don’t care if you never use it again. But you are going to keep it on you because one day you might need it.” Andrew put a finger to the underside of Neil’s chin and forced Neil’s head up until they were looking at each other. “On that day you’re not going to run. You’re going to think about what I promised you and you’re going to make the call. Tell me you understand.”

When Neil started to argue, Andrew hooked a finger under his chin and forced his mouth closed again with an easy jerk of is hand. “Ask him, and then tell the busybodies to come along if they dare.”

”Guess she hit him one time too many. I warned her not to lay a hand on him, but she didn’t listen to me. She got what was coming to her. Does that frighten you, Neil?”
“My first memories are of people dying,” Neil said. “I’m not afraid of you.”
“That’s why you’re so interesting,” Andrew said. “How aggravating.”
He sounded amused, not annoyed, so Neil said, “I’ll try to be more boring in the future.”

”Why are you so special?” Matt asked.
“I’m not,” Neil said, confused.
“Andrew doesn’t give ground to anybody. Why does he keep saying yes to you?”

The smile he flashed Neil mocked them both at that near-miss. He withdrew completely, leaving just the memory of his heartbeat against Neil’s mouth, and spun away.”

”Hey,” Neil said, or thought he said. He didn’t recognize his own voice. “Andrew. Andrew, are you-“ He couldn’t ask if Andrew was okay. He wasn’t that cruel.

”Neil waited, but Andrew didn’t let go. With so many people watching them Neil couldn’t lift his shirt. He did the next best thing and dragged one of Andrew’s hands under the hem. He pressed Andrew’s palm to the ugly scarring across his abdomen. Andrew’s eyes dropped to Neil’s shirt like he could see Neil’s marred skin through the dark cotton.
“Do you understand?” Neil asked. “Nothing Riko does will make me leave him. We will both be here when you get back.”
Andrew’s fingers twitched against Neil’s skin. “Someone lied to me. These ouches feel a little rough for a child on the run.”

Andrew & Kevin:

There was a heartbeat of silence, and then Andrew turned around with a wide, wicked smile on his lips. “I can’t, Kevin? I’ll show you what I can’t do. Try and put me on your court today and I’ll take myself off it permanently. Fuck your practice, your line-up, and your stupid fucking game.”

So Andrew and Kevin are still an enigma for me. I have no idea what’s their deal but I really hope I’ll find out the in the last book. Well, maybe they don’t have more of a deal than that Kevin transferred to the Foxes because Andrew promised him to play Exy for real?! I dunno. Their relationship is very dubious and I think there must be more to it than their obvious deal. Maybe I’m wrong though. Who knows? Kevin only seems to think about Exy though and he’s still a very bland character. I kinda hate him for wanting to wait another season before Andrew gets off his drugs. Because Andrew needs to get off them! It was so horrible what Drake did to him, yet he only laughed. How could Kevin want him to be on drugs after that?! *grrr* Also WHAT!? Kevin is Wymack’s son?! I can’t believe this was mentioned in passing! LIKE OMG!!!”

”So you’ll try,” Kevin said through gritted teeth, “because Coach asked you to.”
Andrew folded his arms across his knees, tilted his head back, and smiled up at Kevin. “Careful, Kevin. Your jealous streak is showing.”

”Kevin had spent the better part of a year trying to get through to Andrew. He wanted Exy to mean something; he wanted Andrew’s best performance like a dying man wanted one last breath of air. Andrew knew it, and he refused to play along.”

”What’s wrong?” Kevin asked.
“Oh, but you haven’t heard.” Andrew motioned for Kevin to lean closer but didn’t lower his voice. “Time’s up, off we go. She’s going to get rid of this for us.” He dragged a thumb across his manic smile and laughed. “Someone should warn the doctors what they’re in for! They’ll lock the door and throw away they keys by the time I’m done with them.”

Andrew & Wymack:

”They won’t be ready in a week. How long do you think you can keep this up?”
“As long as you can,” Wymack said. “So can you hold the line or can’t you?”
Andrew laughed. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Now the relationship between Wymack and Andrew is also more than meets the eye. I mean they obviously trust each other blindly and the fact Wymack allows Andrew to get off his drugs during the games shows how much he believes in him. I wonder if we’ll ever find out how those two bonded and if yes, I’m more than just ready to read about it. There seems to be an entirely piece of their past we’re missing and I want to know!!! XD

Neil thought about it and asked, “Is it respect of prudence?”
“We’ll go with the latter,” Wymack said. “Andrew likes me about as much as you do.”

Wymack let them get all the way to the door before calling. “Andrew. Don’t leave me alone with these morons for too long. I’m getting too old to deal with their drama.
“Oh, you and me both,” Andrew said.

Andrew & Aaron:

”The strangled noise Aaron made was his best attempt at Andrew’s name. It was barely intelligible but it was enough. Andrew, who’d barely acknowledged Aaron’s existence in the entire time Neil had known them, looked immediately to his brother. Andrew snaked a hand out from under the sheet and curled his fingers in a demand. Aaron clambered onto the bed and reached for Andrew.”

I hated that those two were so at odds and I’m glad Aaron finally discovered that Andrew only tried to protect him. I mean oh gods, he basically murdered their mother because she hit and abused Andrew. That’s a whole new level of f*cked up and brotherly affection but that’s exactly how Andrew works. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the people he loves and cares about and if it’s to save his brother’s life he obviously isn’t even stopping at murder. Guess that’s why everyone is afraid of him. The way Andrew was worried about Aaron while he himself was so injured and in pain killed me and I died about a thousand deaths when he made sure that Aaron was alright. He was so out of it, he didn’t even realize Aaron was okay and it was him who got hurt. T_T Also can we appreciate how Neil uncovered the truth for Aaron and showed him that Andrew did exactly the same when he got in that accident with their mother. Aaron killed Drake because he hurt his twin and Andrew killed their mother because she was hurting Aaron. I mean, oh my! This is problematic af on so many levels but it leaves no doubt that they love and care about each other! >_<

Andrew touched Aaron’s temple where he himself was injured as if he expected to find an identical injury there. “Did he touch you?”
“What did he-“
Andrew knotted his fingers in Aaron’s hair and yanked to shut him up. “Answer me. I said, did he touch you?”
“No,” Aaron said.
“I’m going to kill him,” Andrew said.

”I don’t care.” Aaron gave a savage jerk of his hand. “I don’t care if Andrew never speaks to me again. I don’t care about Cass or Drake or anyone. What Drake did – no. If I could bring him back from the dead and kill him again I would.”
“Good,” Neil said quietly. “So now you understand why Andrew killed your mother.”

Neil & Kevin:

”No, Kevin. Not here. You and I will talk tomorrow.”
Kevin hesitated. “Does Andrew know?”

Okay, Kevin is mostly a big oaf that only cares about Exy but for the first time I could see a little bit of his true personality get through in this book. He was worried about Neil and it was more than just obvious. For all his “I only care about the game” bravado he actually seems to care about Neil too. I don’t know how that happened but it did. Also that moment when Neil told him that he wants to be Neil and not Nathaniel and Kevin’s reaction was “You should be Court.” I know a lot of people might think he said it because Neil is the Butcher’s son and technically belongs to the Moriyamas (at least according to their logic) but I think Kevin actually meant it in the way of “You should be Court because you’re an amazing Exy player and you’re a good person who deserves to be happy and not to die”.  Well, that’s my interpretation anyway.

”Injuries are not a joke. They are not something to gloss over. If you get hurt out there, you do something about it. You take it easy, you have Coach pull you, you ask Abby for help – I don’t care. If you ever say ‘I’m fine’ about your health again I will make you rue the day you were born. Are we clear?”

”I don’t want to run. I don’t want to be a Raven. I don’t want to be Nathaniel. I want to be Neil Josten. I want to be a Fox. I want to play with you this year and I want us to make it to championships. And in spring when the Moriyamas come for me I’ll do what they’re so afraid I will. I’ll go to the FBI and tell them everything. Let them kill me. It’ll be too late by then.”
Kevin was silent for an endless minute, then said, “You should be Court.”

Neil & Riko:

”You were not running from your father, Nathaniel. You were running from his master.”

And this was another shocking moment! I can’t believe Neil’s father belongs to the Moriyamas! But it somehow made perfect sense. Urgh! I hate Riko so damn much and even though I loved that Neil refused to back down and was always ready to fight him I was so damn worried about what would happen if he took it one step too far. Guess I found out now and it made me sick to my stomach. T_T Riko is a MONSTER!!! And he needs to rot in the nine circles of hell! I can’t believe he is getting away with all of this!! Where is justice when you need it! I want him to get hurt as much as he hurt Neil and oh gods…. my poor Neil! My poor baby! T_T The way he was tortured and the condition in which Wymack found him at the airport… The fact Neil actually admitted that he is not fine. I’m crying just thinking of that scene. I want Riko to burn and I want Andrew and Neil to be the ones that give him back his own medicine. I can’t believe what that monster did to Neil and I wanted to punch him in the face when I found out what he did to Andrew! Andrew went to Easthaven to get off his medicine and to heal from the abuse Drake inflicted and YOU ARE TELLING ME THAT RIKO MADE SURE THERE WERE THERAPISTS WHO WOULD SEXUALLY ABUSE HIM… NOW THAT HE IS TRYING TO GET SOBER AND OFF HIS MEDICINE??!!! I CAN’T!!!! Someone hold me before I bury my fist in Riko’s despicable visage!! If you could fight a fictional character I would be pounding him into the ground right now! And I’m a pacifist who wouldn’t even hurt a fly, but he deserves it!!!! ARGH!!! I swear if I read book three and find out that Neil sacrificed himself for nothing and that they still continued to hurt Andrew I’m going to… I dunno! I’m going to SCREAM and throw that book against my wall. I don’t even care that it’s my e-reader. I’D BE SO ANGRY. =((( I swear if Riko doesn’t get his comeuppance in the next book I’m done with this series. So done.  So, so done!

”You set Andrew up.”
“That isn’t even the best part.” Riko smiled when Neil shook his head and continued. “Did you know I’ve bought one of the doctors at Easthaven, too? Unless you want these little therapy sessions of his to turn into therapeutic reenactments, you will be on a plane to West Virginia tomorrow morning. Jean will give your ticket to Kevin. Do you understand me?”

”I am not a dog, I’m a Fox.”
“You are nothing but what I tell you to be.”
“We talked about your delusions.”
“I warned you to learn your place.”

”No,” Neil said, with a ferocity that had even Matt eyeing him warily. “We’ve got to break him first. If Exy is the only thing he cares about we’re going to take it away from him. First we destroy his reputation, then we destroy him. I don’t want us to lose a single game this spring. Can we do that?”

Neil held up his free hand and showed Riko his steady fingers. “I’m shaking with fear.”
“You should be,” Riko said. “You think you can defy me because I am not your father, but you are forgetting one very important fact: I am the family your father was afraid of. And yes, Nathaniel, he was very afraid.”

”I am going to love hurting you,” Riko said, “like I loved hurting Kevin.”
“You are one seriously fucked-up individual,” Neil said.

”Every time he moved he felt Riko’s hands and blades and fire on his skin. He’d let Riko take him apart time and time again because it was the only way to survive, because bending should have kept him from breaking, but Neil didn’t know if he could pull himself back together one more time. He wasn’t strong enough for this. He never had been. His mother had held him up but she was gone now.”

The found family that is the Foxes:

”Don’t thank us, remember us,” Dan said. “We’re your teammates. We’re here to help you with whatever you need, whether it’s this or games or general stress. We’ve all got different experiences, but we’re used to needing help. We’re just not used to getting it. But you’ve got us now.”

I still don’t understand Renee’s relationship with Andrew but I guess they both have the same background and therefore can relate to each other and understand each other better than the rest? Anyway, the Foxes are so amazing and I loved every second of this found family trope! In their own way they are all special and don’t only contribute their part to the team but also help each other to get better. They are there for each other whenever times get rough and I loved that so much about them. You have this entire team of outcasts and abused kids and together they are strong enough to get through everything that’s thrown their way. Also I love the girls on the team. I mean Dan! *whistles* If she wouldn’t already have Matt as her bf I’d try my luck. I love a woman that can pack a decent punch. (pun totally intended *lol*) I’m sure that Raven couldn’t go to the toilet properly for a while. XD

”Hey,” Nicky said, soft and nice like the two of them hadn’t spent all summer cutting each other down on the court. “Is there anything we can do?”

”Yeah, Hennessey,” Dan said, sounding calmer than Neil thought she should in the face of such treatment. “Treats you right if you’re willing to pay and will fuck you over the morning after if you’re not nice enough to her. Sorry, but this bottle’s got a name on it. Hope you feel that one for a while, you lowlife asshole.”

”They’d never be perfect, but they were going to be all right. They’d come to the Foxhole Court as fractured messes but they were fixing each other one semester at a time.”

”Look, I know we have our differences, and I know we haven’t exactly had the easiest ride. But we’re all Foxes. We’re a team. What happens to one of us happens to all of us, and we’re going to get each other through this.”

4

I’m still so damn addicted to this series it’s not normal anymore. I gotta be honest here though, this book was super heavy and it broke me. T_T My heart is still aching and bleeding and I doubt I will ever get over the last 50% of “The Raven King”. So I already said it once and I can only repeat myself: “This is not a book to read with your mind, this is a book you’ll have to read following your gut instinct. So all told this book is problematic af, kind of unrealistic and definitely politically incorrect in so many different ways and on so many levels… but I still loved it!?” Something tells me this will hold true for the last book as well. >_<

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

August Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

Can someone please tell me where August went? O_o Over here the weather is already bad and rainy so it’s like autumn came in the blink of an eye and decided to stay. Which isn’t nice! I mean I love autumn and spring but I want at least a couple of nice days before it gets all wet and rainy. *lol* Anyway! Let’s get back on track!

So the good news is that my physical therapy is over now, the bad news is that I’m afraid it won’t last for all too long. I’m trying my best to do the excercises they showed me and I’m careful with my body but even this morning I woke up with pain so yeah… it won’t be easy to maintain an excercise routine without the pressure of doing so. Put work, my family and my kid into the mix and you have the … well salad. *lol* As for my reading. I was very ambitious and hoped that I’d read more in August but in the end I was too busy with other things and once again only managed to read 4 books.

The fact I have to get up at 5 a.m in order to get to work cretainly didn’t help to motivate me to read at night. XD Truth be told, I was glad when I managed to watch TV and didn’t fall asleep. Haha! For some reason reading makes me more tired than watching a k-drama with English subtitles. I still don’t get why my brain has no trouble to follow k-dramas but just can’t seem to manage to read a couple of sentences without getting tired. If you know why I’m like that please TELL ME, because I have no explanation for it. *lol* But enough of k-dramas and back to the books I read! ;-P

Books read: 4 (4 books & 0 webcomic, Still not overwhelming but better than nothing. September will be my reading month! I know it. *lol*)

Pages read: 1.639 (The four books I read had plenty of pages so I’m okay with this.)

Average rating: 4,13 (Not bad, considering I totally read out of my comfort zone. 😀 )

Books that were on my reading list: 0 ( 0 from 2019, 0 from 2020 and 1 from 2021. Well, at least one of them was from my TBR! XD)

August Reads:

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Sawkill Girls: 4 Pfoten

This book came as a total surprise! I rarely read in the genre of horror but „Sawkill Girls“  was all over my feed and I got super curious about it. Looking at it in retrospective I’m so glad I picked this up because this book doesn’t only have strong friendships and even stronger girls but also challenges misogyny. Plus the icing on the cake: It was diverse and had good LGBTQ+ reps! Considering all this „Sawkill Girls“ had me hooked and I paged through it in no time. 😉 (This said, please read the trigger warnings in my review first before you decide to pick it up.)

The Raven King: 5 Pfoten

And here comes another book I loved to bits and pieces! I have no idea what it is about this series but whenever I start one of its books I just can’t stop to read it. It’s like some sort of addiction and I live and breathe for Neil Josten and Andrew Minyard! ❤ Those two boys will be the death of me! I swear! Especially with all the things that happened in this book! This book broke and killed me and urgh! T_T I just want my babies to be happy! *sniff*

One of Us Is Next: 4 Pfoten

It was so good to see Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate and Ash again! Of course they aren’t the MCs in here but they are side-characters and this made the entire book even more enjoyable! XD Plus Maeve, Knox and Phoebe were pretty cool MCs as well! I really loved to guess the culprit and I got about 50% right. The other 50% I would have never been able to discover so yeah. *lol* This was fun and I’ll definitely watch out for McManus’s next book.

The Eleven: 3 Pfoten,5

I got a review copy from Paul Gaskill himself and wanted to read this for ages but never got to it. (I’m a horrible person and book reviewer and I promise improvement! XD) This time I was finally able to tackle it though and „The Eleven“ turned out to be a great dark fantasy book. Be aware of the trigger warnings though, some scenes were pretty graphic and hard to stomach. At least for me they were. I’ll make sure to write a proper review about this soon so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. 😉

Rankenzeile

How was your August? Was it over way too fast too? How is the weather over at your place? (Hopefully better than over here…) Did you read many books in August and if yes, which ones? And the most important question: Does any of you know why I have no problem to follow k-dramas with English subtitles but can’t even focus on reading a single sentence at night? *lol* The struggle is real, my friends!!! T_T So yep!

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe!

*hugs’n’kisses*

Sig.V.Ronan

The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Raven King (Maggie Stiefvater)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

 

”The head is too wise. The heart is all fire.”

There’s no better way to start this review than with this quote, because after reading this series my heart is truly all fire. When I began to read “The Raven Boys” in October 2017 I had no idea that I’d love this series so much. I was completely oblivious to the fact that those boys would take over my entire world and I had no clue that I’d become so attached to them. I just didn’t know what I was getting myself into but after finishing the last book I can say that I don’t regret anything!!! XD

Over those last seven months I’ve been on a long journey with my boys. I cheered for them, I suffered with them, I was sad and despaired, I was hopeful and happy. I sighed, I laughed, I cried, I tore at my hair, I screamed, I dreamed, and I died about a thousand deaths!
In short: I lived and breathed those books!!!

They became an integral part of me and my life and I actually feel like I’ve become one of the Raven Boys as well. I guess that means that in some way I kind of made a bargain with Cabeswater too. Uh oh! XD

Well, anyway!
What I want to say is that I love those characters so much, I feel like every attempt to put it into words is automatically bound to fail. There are no words to describe how intensely I feel about those boys and even if I’d become a hundred years, I still wouldn’t be able to express all of my feelings.
It’s an impossible task and maybe this is good the way it is. It’s part of the magic of those books and truth be told, I’m convinced we all need a little magic in our lives every once in a while. 😉

So, speaking of magic:

There was lightning and thunder outside of my window when I finished this book.
It looked like the end of the world.

To read those final pages of “The Raven King”?!
It FELT like the end of the world…

I will miss my boys and Maggie’s unique magic so damn much! T_T *sobs and is unconsolable*

1

”You were the one who told me, Ronan, that something was starting, all those months ago. Now’s not the time to be going rogue. Someone’s going to get killed. No more playing around. There’s no more time for anything but truth. We’re supposed to be in this together, whatever this is.”

I think this quote is kind of giving direction to the entire last book because after the third sleeper was woken up a lot of strange things begin to happen. Our boys have a lot of different troubles to face and to say they are in deep doo-doo would be putting it more than just mildly. *lol* They don’t only have to work on the discrepancies among each other, but also outside of their magical world and inside of Cabeswater. In short: There’s a whole wagon of feels that’s going to hit you, and it’s going to hit you hard! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-P

2

”Leaves,” Ronan Lynch’s voice said, full of intention.
“Dust,” Adam Parrish said.
“Wind,” Blue Sargent said.
“Shit,” Henry Cheng added.

I’m sure this is the moment the people who know my reviews have been waiting for. Yes, you already know what’s coming. 😉 Let’s make it official then: This is my spoiler section and if you don’t want to be spoiled you better leave now! Because this was the last and final book and I’m going to spoil the hell out of you if you didn’t read the other three. XD Fair warning, sound advice! Take it or leave it! It’s up to you! ;-P

Gansey – The King:

”He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

Oh, Gansey. My troubled soul! I once again felt so sorry for him and to top it all off we finally found out that he actually knows he’s going to die. Of course I should have known that he would figure it out, but for some reason I thought he was unaware of his impending death. Well, turns out he knew it all along. *sigh* The way it all happened in the end was so unexpected though. I didn’t see this coming… NOT AT ALL and I think I was at least as devastated as Gansey when he found out that Glendower had been dead for years. My heart bled for him… for him and his wishes and all his unfulfilled dreams. T_T

”It was this: this moment and no other moment, and for the first time that Gansey could remember, he knew what it would feel like to be present in his own life.”

”Gansey’s death had been foretold for this year. It was him. It was always going to be him.
Glendower was dead. He’d always been dead.
And Gansey kind of wanted to live.”

Blue – The Mirror Tree:

”Her hair had got wilder since he first met her, less contained by all of her clips, and her mouth had got messier since he met her, more desirous of forbidden kisses, and her stance had got harder, her spine sharpened by grief and peril.”

It was really nice to find out about Artemus’ origins and it caused me understand Blue a little bit better. It explained why she always felt wrong in her own skin and I guess it also explains why Gansey and she had this special connection. XD Still, in some way the reveal of her background story only confused me even more and I don’t even dare to say it but after four entire books, I still don’t feel like I really know her character. *lol* After BLLB her character became less tangible again and I really don’t know why. Maybe Maggie, that genius master mind, planned it that way? I guess I’ll never know. *shrugs*

”Blue was filled with frustration that her life was so clearly demarcated. Things that were not enough, but that she could have. Things that were something more, that she couldn’t.

Adam – The Magician:

”It seemed like he should become stranger, more other, when he was near Cabeswater, but in reality, the closer he was to Cabeswater, the more firmly present he remained. His mind didn’t have to wander far to communicate with Cabeswater when his body was able to lift a hand to touch it.”

I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE IN LOVE WITH ADAM PARRISH! There I said it out loud! *lol* Don’t get me wrong, of course I still love Ronan too, but Ronan reminds me too much of myself. XD I love him in sense of Philia and Agape whereas Adam Parrish is my Eros and Agape. Haha! Does that make sense? Guess to all of you who had some serious Greek philosophy lessons it does. ;-P Well anyway, I love Adam and what he has become and I was so damn proud of him throughout the entire book. Despite his father and everything that happened to him he’s become a beautiful human being and I just love him for it! <333 He’s strong now, he found his way and nothing can stop him. Not even a stupid demon that’s trying to possess him! YAY! Gosh I just love my boy!!! My Adam! <333 *heart eyes* Still, Maggie why did you have to hurt him so much?! T_T

”Stop saying privilege. Love isn’t privilege. But Gansey had always had love, had always been capable of love. Now that Adam had discovered his feelings in himself, he was more certain than ever that he was right. Need was Adam’s baseline, his resting pulse. Love was a privilege. Adam was privileged; he didn’t want to give it up. He wanted to remember again and again how it felt.”

”For Adam, it meant linking in to the ley line that pulsed beneath the forest, unwrapping himself and allowing the bigger pattern inside. It was a process that was both eerie and awesome to watch from the outside. Adam; then Adam vacated; then Adam, more.”

”Do you know what hurts the most? What this means you think of me. You didn’t even give me the chance to be OK with it. You were just so sure I’d be eaten by jealousy. That’s how you see me?”

Ronan – The Greywaren:

”It was too cold for fireflies, but a multitude of them glistened in and out of being above the fields nonetheless. Those were his. Fanciful, purposeless, but lovely.
Ronan Lynch loved to dream about light.”

As it seems Ronan is always good for a surprise. *lol* I didn’t expect that Matthew was one of his dreams and I certainly didn’t expect the revelation about Cabeswater! XD I mean OMG!! Ronan dreamed Cabeswater into life!!! To dream a place like that? Gosh, he must be so damn powerful and skilled af!! Sounds like my boy? Yes, it does! 😉 I loved that he finally made peace with Declan and that the three Lynch brothers got along so well in the end. It made me happy to see them like that and I wish it could have stayed that way, but no Maggie had to break my heart into thousand pieces. As Ronan’s twin I felt with him when Aurora died and boy was it painful!!! WHY MAGGIE!!?? WHY??!! GOSH DAMN IT! RONAN LOST HIS FATHER AND NOW YOU HAD TO TAKE HIS MOTHER AS WELL???? You made him and orphan!!! He would have deserved so much better than that!!! T_T To see Ronan suffer and cry? It hurt so damn much… I can’t even…. *sobs*

”In this other place, it was easy to tell that the music was the sound of Ronan’s soul. Hungry and prayerful, it whispered of dark places, old places, fire and sex.”

”Ronan Lynch’s stare was a snake on the pavement where you wanted to walk. It was a match left on your pillow. It was pressing your lips together and tasting your own blood.”

”Ronan skidded to his knees, his arms around her, and it hurt Adam, somehow, to watch how ferociously he hugged his little strange dream creature, and how she buried her face into his shoulder. He stood with her in his arms, holding her tightly, and he heard him saying, No, you did good, it’s going to be OK, we’re waking up.”

”Ronan crouched beside him, black still smeared on his face under his nose and around his ears. His dreamt firefly rested on Gansey’s heart. “Wake up, you bastard,” he said. “You fucker. I can’t believe that you would…”
And he began to cry.

Noah – The Ghost:

”My mom always said he was a firecracker, which just meant he was always getting speeding tickets and jumping on tables at family reunions and stuff. He always had so many ideas. He was so hyper.”

I don’t know about you, but I would have loved to get to know this hyper Noah. His story made me so damn sad and I really wish he would have had a chance to get his happily ever after. Unfortunately he didn’t get what he deserved and I can only hope that he’s happy wherever he is now. The way I see it Noah chose to safe Gansey when he died the first time. He did it in order to guarantee that Cabeswater could save him the second time around and in a strange way this actually makes sense. XD Still, Noah Czerny is adorable and precious and he would have deserved the world!!! T_T RIP Noah! <333

”Blue didn’t care that he – it – Noah – was strange and decaying and frightening. She knew that he – it – Noah was strange and decayed and frightened, and she knew that she loved him anyway.”

”Goodbye,” Noah said. “Don’t throw it away.”

Henry – The Special Extra:

”Once, you got me coffee,” Henry said. “When I was losing my mind. Consider the favour returned.”

Why was Henry introduced so late?! I loved that boy!!! He’s amazing and funny and honest and pure!!! I really wish he would have been a bigger part of this! I would have loved to read more about him and I instantly felt a connection to this awesome boy! I was so sorry when I found out that he had been kidnapped and I truly loved him for acting to safe Blue’s principles in front of the others. *lol* It makes me sad that I probably will never read about him again and I really hope Maggie will include him in one of her future stories. Please, Maggie! *makes huge puppy eyes*

”What do you want me to say?”
“Nothing yet,” Henry said. “I want you to think about it. And then I hope you will choose to trust me. Because I’m overfull on secrets and underfed on friends.”

”But it wasn’t that Henry was less of himself in English. He was less of himself out loud. His native language was thought.”

The Demon & Piper:

I already didn’t like Piper in “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” but my initial dislike for her grew into an even bigger monster in this book. I really started to hate her with a fierce passion and in the end all I wanted was for her to drop dead. *lol* I know those are strong and negative feelings coming from me but I really hated her so much! XD Piper and that mean demon almost killed my lovely boys so I think I’m kind of entitled to feel that way. I always knew that the demon would kill her and if you ask me he waited way too long to do it. *lol* Whoopsie, was that mean? *smiles innocently*

3

Henry & Gansey:

”Now get out,” Henry said.
Gansey looked at him. “I beg your pardon?”
“Stop driving,” he said. “I know you need to. You’ve needed to since we left. Get. Out.”

I loved the chemistry between Gansey and Henry! Yep, chemistry! Don’t even try to say there is none because it was all over the place!!! XD It was so amazing to watch and I couldn’t help but marvel at their interactions. It was wonderful how Henry always knew what Gansey needed and it was so funny that Gansey had no other choice than to accept it because he knew Henry was right. =)) I really wish we could have seen more of them and I truly hope there will be some sort of short story in the future. I know Maggie is busy, but I can always hope, right?! ;-P

”It’s like we’ve met each other before. No, not really. We are friends at once, we would instantly do what friends would do for each other. Not just pals. Friends. Blood brothers. You just feel it. We instead of you and me. That’s jeong.”

Ronan & Blue:

”Emptying another student’s backpack over his car. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“I do,” Ronan said.
“Well, I don’t. I’m not proud of it.”
Ronan patted her leg. “I’ll be proud for you.”

Those two!!! *LOL* I will say it again and again! I love how close they became over those last few books and whenever they spoke with each other it always made me smile. Ronan’s reaction to her scar was priceless and it was so damn adorable that he was proud of her getting suspended! XD Their dynamic is so much fun and I’m so glad they started to get along so well. =)))

”Look, Sargent,” Ronan retorted. “I was gonna dream you some eye cream last night since clearly modern medicine’s doing jack shit for you, but I nearly had my ass handed to me by a death snake from the fourth circle of dream hell, so you’re welcome.”
Blue looked appropriately touched. “Ah, thanks, man.”
“No problem, bro.”

Ronan & Adam aka Ronam:

”Adam felt a surge of both accomplishment and nerves. He skated an edge here. Making Ronan Lynch smile felt as charged as making a bargain with Cabeswater. These weren’t forces to play with.”

I CAN’T EVEN!! MY HEART!!! MY. HEART.!!! I loved every little moment between them, every single gesture, every eye contact, every smile, every playful remark!!! THEY ARE EVERYTHING!!! Their first kiss blew me away and I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling for two days! And OMG!!! Ronan thinking about Adam’s hands? It was my undoing! I love hands, I love Adam, I love Ronan! ARGH! I think I’m going to die! And what a wonderful death it would be!!! Still, nothing, really nothing could prepare me for CHAPTER 39!!! PERFECTION, UTTER AND SHEER PERFECTION!!! I read this chapter about a thousand times. It still moves me, it makes me cry! <333 *shakes head and fights tears* I just love them so much… Thank you Maggie! *sobs*

”He had memorized the shape of Adam’s hands in particular: the way his thumb jutted awkwardly, boyishly; the roads of the prominent veins; the large knuckles that punctuated his long fingers. In dreams Ronan put them to his mouth.
His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”

”Asshole,” Ronan said.
Adam smiled cheerily. Ronan would start wars and burn cities for that true smile, elastic and amiable.”

”When Adam kissed him, it was every mile per hour Ronan had ever gone over the speed limit. It was every window-down, goose-bumps-on-skin, teeth-chattering-cold night drive. It was Adam’s ribs under Ronan’s hands and Adam’s mouth on his mouth, again and again and again. It was stubble on lips and Ronan having to stop, to get his breath, to restart his heart. They were both hungry animals, but Adam had been starving for longer.”

”They sprawled on the living room sofa and Adam studied the tattoo that covered Ronan’s back: all the sharp edges that hooked wondrously and fearfully into each other.
“Unguibus et rostro,” Adam said.
Ronan put Adam’s fingers to his mouth.
He was never sleeping again.

Blue & Gansey:

”And third, most importantly, Gansey was outrageously and eternally driven to distraction by the image of her behind the wheel of his car. Ronan and Adam weren’t with them, so there was no one to catch them in what felt like an incredibly indecent act.”

Don’t you love it that Gansey thinks Blue driving his Camaro is an “incredibly indecent act”? *LOL* Those two are so innocent it’s not even normal. Haha! Where Adam and Ronan are all fire, tension and heat, Gansey and Blue are almost too shy and sweet. XD I was so happy they finally decided to tell the others and the chapter of Henry Cheng’s toga party gave me life!!! Seriously, I loved this party so damn much! It’s a perfect example of Maggie’s awesome writing skills and I truly wish this chapter would have never ended. =))) I’m so happy they can be together now and forgive me this pun, but I think their first kiss was rather breathtaking, don’t you agree? ;-P *lol*

”It was Blue’s shoulder and her collarbone and her legs and her throat and her laugh her laugh her laugh. He couldn’t stop looking at her, and here, it didn’t matter, because no one here cared that they were together. Here, he could play his fingers over her fingers as they stood close, she could lean her cheek on his bare shoulder, he could hook his ankle playfully in hers, she could catch herself with an arm around his waist. Here he was unbelievably greedy for that laugh.”

”Right after he spoke, Blue threw her arms tightly around his neck. Right after he spoke, she pressed her face into the side of his. Right after he spoke, she held him like a shouted word. Love, love, love.

4

It was such a wonderful journey! I’m so sad it’s over now. T_T I will miss my boys so much! I will miss their comments, their unconditional love, their easy banter. *sniff* This series goes straight to my favourite shelf and it will stay there forever! <333
Thank you, Maggie!

Also, a big thanks to my lovely Adam! Thank you for holding my hand throughout the entire book. I was so lucky to have you at my side. I think I couldn’t have done this without your support and I’m so glad we read this together! <333

”That’s all there is.”

(No, not really! I could have gone on and on but I already reached the gr word limit. So, yeah I’m sorry guys! *lol*)