The Raven Cycle Reread: 2.03


This chapter brings us an immediate answer to the question posed by Declan last time: “Ronan, where the hell are you?” He’s in the Camaro with all of his Best Friends™, and Gansey’s talking on the phone to Mallory. Everyone’s just kind of lounging around, so we get a fair bit of Ronan’s internal monologue. He notices Adam half asleep, Blue getting seeds off her clothes, and Noah being ghosty.

He makes a side comment that Gansey is driving because he always drives, and talking about Glendower because he doesn’t talk about anything else. I found this bit kind of fishy, not because of the car thing—we all have that one Friend Who Drives Everywhere—but because of the conversation topic. I don’t know if I could be friends with a guy who only talks about one thing? There’s got to be some interesting conversation dynamics here, and frankly I’m not seeing them.

Anyways, back to the inside of Ronan’s head. He wants to drive and can’t so he’s being dramatic and pretending to die of heat stroke while looking for something else to do.

Ronan leaned on the cracked black vinyl of the passenger-side door and chewed on the leather bands on his wrist. They tasted like gasoline, a flavor that struck Ronan as both sexy and summery.

This is one of my favorite Ronan lines of all time. First of all, he is willingly ingesting something that tastes like gasoline. Secondly, he likes it. And thirdly, he uses the adjectives “sexy” and “summery” to describe something that’s—well, you’ve probably all smelled gasoline. I don’t know if those adjectives ever came to mind.

This beautiful descriptive imagery is interrupted by Gansey’s stunningly boring conversation about how to look for Glendower under a lake they encountered in their quest to map all of Cabeswater, and whether or not they can use ground-penetrating radar to do it. Mallory’s side of the conversation is not transcribed but is probably equally as boring, so it’s a relief when Gansey hangs up the phone.

Then his mother texts, and we’re stuck in the same boring loop of Adult-Gansey Obligations again. She wants him to come help out on the campaign trail, because she’s rich and bored and running for Congress. I have to say, I’m appreciative that it’s Gansey’s mother running for Congress and not Gansey, Sr., but I suppose I’d be happier if neither of them ran and the Democrat got the seat instead.

Thankfully, all of this chatter is interrupted when another car pulls up next to the Gangsey. Stiefvater, who knows much more about cars than I do, describes it beautifully and gets across the dangerous characteristics without me needing to understand big words like “horsepower” or “transmission.” But, in case you want to know more about the Pig’s current rival, here’s some description by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about:

Kavinsky’s Mitsubishi Evo was a thing of boyish beauty, moon-white with a voracious black mouth of a grille and an immense splattered graphic of a knife on either side of the body.

So, the car looks like gasoline tastes. Sexy and summery.

Kavinsky calls Gansey some bad words and Ronan wants to street race. It’s the same underdevelopment of impulse control that leads me or a cat to think “push” every time we see a glass on the edge of a table. Adam shoots down the idea using his extensive knowledge of cars (Adam, Ronan, and cars is the true romantic coupling we deserve), but Ronan is still trying to convince Gansey. Until, of course, Blue weighs in that Kavinsky’s an asshole and he speeds off into the night.

The last line is Gansey calling Kavinsky trouble, which is very lazy and yet very appreciated forshadowing to Ronan’s relationship with young adult’s classic Hot Dirtbag.

Thoughts and Feelings:

I love being inside Ronan’s head like this. I love it. It’s the first Ronan POV and it starts of with pure wrath. Ronan is pissed, antsy, bored. His narrative and his mind whir so much faster than any of the other characters, and now that we see that he gains like 65 facets per second.

He spends half a page talking about death, and how excited he is to ask St. Peter questions at the pearly gates (it’s deliciously Catholic). He’s constantly moving and shifting. The language used to describe him is so tactile I started to feel itchy and restless myself. It’s not so surprising, after reading this, how Ronan is able to constantly create.

And, then, there’s the pairing you’ve probably seen in popular media if you’ve ever googled the Raven Cycle: Adam and Ronan. To all the people who said that Ronan being gay came out of left field, y’all we’re wrong. Kavinsky rolls up and we get a rundown of every rumor Kavinsky’s ever been involved in. Not to mention a careful description of his “boyishly beautiful” car and Ronan explicitly saying that even though he knows he should hate Kavinsky, he doesn’t. And if you’re not convinced yet, don’t worry. I will be pointing out every instance in this text that the Ronan Is Gay squad painstakingly searched for before it was stated in canon.

The last thing I’m going to say is that the next chapter is from the Gray Man’s POV, and I’m not even mad about it. That’s when you know our villain had a glow up.

Best Character Moment:

Ronan shifted restlessly. The successful demonstration of the plane had left him hyper-alive. He felt like burning something to the ground. He pressed his hand directly over the air-conditioning vent to prevent heat exhaustion. “You’re driving like an old woman.”

Best Turn of Phrase:

He had a refugee’s face, hollow-eyed and innocent.

He wore a lazy smile, and he mouthed something to Gansey that ended with “—unt.”

Action: The lack of street racing was disappointing, but I approve of the gang keeping Ronan out of trouble. 7/10

Magic: Ronan’s POV is the closest non-magic thing to magic I can think of. 9/10

Comic Relief: Sexy. And. Summery. 9/10

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