The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.41

Summary:

Warning: this chapter is very small and very soft and very emotionally devastating. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We start off with Blue going back to her house to do her homework under the beech tree. I’m not sure if this is because I just read a chapter about Neeve driving Whelk to the woods to get straight up murdered, but I’m feeling a sense of urgency that Blue is just not in tune with. The ley line is waking up, girl! What possible reason could you give for doing your homework right now?

Of course, she doesn’t actually get any homework done, because she’s thinking about her boys and their many problems. And then, guess who shows up? One of her boys and all of his problems.

In a very sweet and underrated moment, Adam comes to Blue for whatever comfort she’s able to give.

Blue thought about saying, I’m so sorry about your dad, but instead she just stretched out a hand towards him. Adam gave an unsteady sigh of the sort that she could see from two meters away. Wordlessly, he sat beside her and then laid his head on her lap, his face in his arms.

Blue is a little startled at first, but she eventually leans into the moment and starts to pet his hair. Both of them are content but nervous and a little bit sad, which is a complicated basket of emotions they don’t quite know how to deal with. Blue mentions that Adam’s hair is the color of dirt (weird descriptor, but okay), and then they have a nice moment where Adam tries to be self-pitying but Blue reminds him that they’re both from rural Virginia and neither of them have very much money, so he should stop acting like she doesn’t know what’s it’s like to feel poor around rich people.

Adam kind of ruins the moment by telling Blue that he really wants to kiss her. I’m going to give him a pass on this one, because he doesn’t know about Blue’s whole kissing thing, but it’s hard to read anyways. It’s also the moment that their relationship stars to be doomed, which is sad but also inevitable. We know starting during the prologue that Blue is going to kiss Gansey to death, and that means she can’t be in love with Adam, you know?

“I don’t want to hurt you,” she said.

He pulled himself free of her, sitting just a few centimeters away. His expression was bleak, nothing like when he’s wanted to kiss her before. “I’m already all hurt up.” 

Blue didn’t think this was really about kissing her, and that made her cheeks burn. It wasn’t supposed to be a kiss at all, but if it had, it definitely shouldn’t be like this. She said, “there’s still worse than what you’ve got.”

Adam then says he can’t remember what Maura told him to do at the reading, but Blue remembers and so do we: make a third choice. And, also, he should bring a notebook so he can compare what happens with what the psychic said would happen. Just to know what kind of Yelp review to leave (but, for the women of Fox Way, Blue reminds him that no Yelp review is necessary. They’re very good at their job and they know it).

The advice she gives him on what to do is very sweet (“keep being brave”), but it leads directly into a dream sequence where it’s finally revealed what Adam’s scary tree vision was. Basically, Gansey’s on the ground covered in blood and it’s Adam’s fault. The repercussions are that Ronan tells him it’s his fault, and Blue is horrified that he could do something like that. I was reading this part I was kinda like, yeah, and? At least Blue kissing Gansey had some narrative setup and complicated emotional weight. As scary tree visions go, this was pretty basic.

As much as I’m underwhelmed by the mechanics of getting him to this point, the dream and the fact that Adam is sleeping in Noah’s room and not his own leads him to the decision that he’s the one who has to wake up the ley line.

He was full of so many wants, too many to prioritize, and so they all felt desperate. To not have to work so many hours, to get into a good college, to look right in a tie, to not still be hungry after eating the thin sandwich he’d brought to work, to drive the shiny Audi that Gansey has stopped to look at with him once after school, to go home, to have hit his father himself, to own an apartment with granite worktops and a television bigger than Gansey’s desk, to belong somewhere, to go home, to go home, to go home.

The only notes I have for this section are “I’m just” and “oof,” so I think you all know how it goes. Adam is hurt and scared and he needs that favor, but he also needs his friends to be safe. Instead of explaining this to them, he sneaks out.

He also brings the gun he took from his father’s house, and the reasoning for him having it is a little shaky? He’s like, “my dad can’t have it anymore” to which I’m like, maybe you should talk to the police about that? If you tell them he’s been threatening you with a gun shouldn’t they take said gun away when the man is arrested? But I’m not totally sure, everything I know about policework comes from Law & Order SVU.

All that’s to say that Adam puts the gun and anything else he might need in a duffle bag, has a scary run-in with an especially ghosty Noah, makes sure Gansey is asleep, and then bounces. See you next time for the probably ancient and definitely dangerous ritual!

Thoughts and Feelings:

So here’s the thing. This chapter gave me whiplash. I’m not saying it should’ve been two chapters (because that’s more work for me), but I am saying that the break in the middle that takes us from a nice Blue and Adam beech tree moment to an emo Adam not ~betraying~ his friends per se, but definitely leaving them out of an important and life changing decision that is going to emotionally damage everyone involved. Basically, it gave me a variety pack of feelings that did not fit together.

The first part was a very complicated romantic moment that’s definitely the beginning of the end for Blue and Adam. I can kind of understand why Blue was able to tell Gansey about the murderkiss situation—kissing isn’t even on the table with Gansey, yet, so the words “true love” just don’t carry the same weight—but I feel like, at this point in the relationship, it’s something that she should bring up.

Except for the fact that Adam, at this very moment, is “all hurt up.” Blue gives him good advice and tries her best to help him, but Adam really needs to deal with his own shit right now. And this is where the end of the chapter comes in: Adam’s healing process involves maybe betraying his friends by performing a dangerous ritual. Whatever happens, I think we all get the feeling Adam will be permanently changed, and then the sweet boy from Blue’s side of the tracks could be almost gone.

Writing these summaries forces me to really concentrate on what the characters are thinking and doing and what it means for the overall narrative, so I have more understanding for Adam now than I did the first time I read this part of the book. With that said, however, I still think it’s a dumb decision. I totally understand why he thought it was the only one he could make. It doesn’t mean it’s not dumb.

Best Character Moment:

“Your hair is the color of dirt,” she said.

“It knows where it came from.”

“That’s funny,” Blue noted, “because then mine should be that color, too.”

Best Turn of Phrase:

Noah stood directly in front of him, hollow eyes on level with Adam’s eyes, smashed cheek on level with Adam’s ruined ear, breathless mouth inches from Adam’s sucked-in breath.

Without Blue there to make him stronger, without Gansey there to make him human, without Ronan there to make him belong, Noah was a frightening thing.

Action: Two vibes, one life-altering decision, a lot of fraught conversations. Steifvater is out here making moves. 9/10

Magic: I guess Blue telling Adam her mom is a bang-up psychic is like a magical five-star review, but other than that I got nothing. 5/10

Comic Relief: No jokes to report. Just angst. But we are at the point in the novel where that’s what I’d expect, so, I’ll give this chapter a pass. 5/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.40

Summary:

Hello all! An enthusiastic Emily here to tell you that this is THE LAST very short, annoyingly Whelk-centric chapter!!!! WOOHOO!!! We made it, folks. This is the end of the line. This is the moment when we realize that all of the weird chapters where Whelk told teenagers there were cockroaches in their lockers and mourned guacamole have come to their ultimate conclusion. Thank God.

Basically, we skipped right from Neeve giving Whelk a pretend offer to help him to the two of them sitting in the car together. Except Whelk isn’t exactly sitting voluntarily. No, Neeve did the Lord’s work and kidnapped Whelk so she could sacrifice him on the ley line. In the meantime, she’s torturing him, somehow, by eating crackers with hummus.

Whelk knows he’s about get murdered in a ritual sacrifice because there are knives and also Neeve is driving his car wearing rubber gloves. Say what you want about Neeve, but the girl knows how to execute a plan.

She hadn’t told him she intended to kill him, but Whelk had spent the last forty minutes unable to easily see much but the floor behind the passenger’s seat. Lying there was a wide, flat clay bowl containing a collection of candles, scissors, and knives. The knives were sizable and sinister, but not a guarantee of imminent murder. The rubber gloves that Neeve wore now, and the extra set inside the bowl, were.

And even though it means he’s going to die, Whelk gives us a minute to appreciate how poetic the whole situation is. His journey from high school douchebag to best friend murderer to bad Latin teacher to getting killed the same way his aforementioned best friend did. It’s a nice cycle, when you think about it.

But he doesn’t think about it for too long, because as much as Neeve is great at creepy sacrifice rituals, she’s lacking in the knot tying department. Whelk isn’t tied tightly enough, and he knows it. And, scene!

Thoughts and Feelings:

I never thought I’d say this, but GO OFF, NEEVE! It’s kind of amazing what planning to kill a character I hate can do to making me like a person.

I’m also just a little confused about Whelk’s relationship to dips is. He’s pining after this guacamole, so much so that he makes us read three whole pages dedicated to it, and yet what’s making him want to kill Neeve the most is a little garlic hummus? I’d be angrier about the weird nature sounds CD she’s got playing. But hey, I’m neither shitty Latin teacher nor murderer, so I guess I can’t speak to what’s going on in Barrington Whelk’s head.

Honestly I’m just excited that he’s about to be integrated into the action and I don’t have to read these snippets from his perspective anymore. I’m going to reiterate what I said in the first Whelk chapter: I understand why these are here. It’s a narrative arc and it’s important that the villain is established and his motives are clear. It’s just that most people give the villain a big speech at the end that reveals it all in hindsight and doesn’t sprinkle it out over the course of the book in a way that disrupts the narrative flow developed by the main characters.

But, I digress. I got my cute Neeve x Barrington date, in which they’re both planning gratuitous violence, and we’re about to gather our main characters in Cabeswater for a showdown. No more complaining about Barrington Whelk for the rest of forever. Honestly, I think I might even miss talking about the guy. He’s grown on me. Like mold.

Goodbye, Whelk’s point of view! And good riddance.

Best Character Moment:

Since getting in the car, she had done nothing but eat hummus and crackers, and the combination of garlic odor and cracker chewing was incredibly aggravating. The thoughts that she was filling his driver’s seat with crumbs was one of the more troubling ones he’s had in a week of extremely troubling thoughts.

Best Turn of Phrase:

Whelk didn’t care for circularity. He cared for his lost car, his lost respect. He cared for the ability to sleep at night. He cared for languages dead long enough that they wouldn’t change on him. He cared for the guacamole his parents’ long-gone chef used to make.

Action: I mean, the off-screen action was cool. I would’ve liked to see Neeve hit Whelk over the head with something heavy, but I’ll take the hummus-eating aftermath. 7/10

Magic: Somehow I never imagined how the witches transported the sacrifices to the site of the creepy blood ritual. 6/10

Comic Relief: I mean, come on. Whelk was tied up and tossed in the backseat by a Sargent woman with an agenda. I love that for us. 11/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.39

Summary:

Hello everyone! We are back at it again at Monmouth Manufacturing, with an after-school Blue and an abandoned apartment. After the last couple of chapters I’m thinking it might be nice to just hang out with Blue in an empty parking lot and take a break from all the drama. But Blue manages to make her own drama, by thinking yet again about how little she understands Gansey and how much the fact that she’s actually starting to like him and his apartment (and even Ronan) unnerves her. She also tries to pretend that she doesn’t like the Camaro, but we all know she’s lying to herself. Blue loves the Camaro just like everyone else.

Noah’s waiting in the stairwell to see Blue, and once he uses Blue’s energy he can pet her hair. It’s not as spiky as usual, which Noah says “sadly,” and I just want to take a moment to talk once more about the fact that I’m in college and I’m studying creative writing. My professor would be SCREAMING if he read this sentence. He would take a flamethrower to the book. He would use his writerly connections to call Steifvater and her publisher and her editor and yell at all three of them. Sadly is a bad adjective to use. I cannot picture the emotion. These are things I learn in college!!!! Yay for learning.

But back to the story: Noah fills Blue in on the events of last night. Blue is first surprised that Ronan’s at the library, studying, and then she’s shocked and angry about Adam’s situation, and then she acts so goddamn empathetic and kind that I don’t know what to do about it.

Her first thought was a strangely unpleasant one—that she hadn’t been a good enough friend for Adam to share this with her. But it was fleeting and replaced almost immediately with the horrific realization that Adam had no family. Who would she be without hers?

I feel the exact same way and I didn’t know it until just now (hi family, big shoutout to you guys).

But before I can get too emotional, the phone rings. Noah is absolutely insistent that Blue pick up the call so he helps her break into Monmouth. It’s Malory, asking for Gansey, and Blue has a very dramatic moment where she thinks that her whole life has been taking messages for other people. Cool it, girl. You’re a key player in the hunt for a magical king. You’re in the thick of it, don’t complain.

Malory has some trouble with Blue’s name so she becomes Jane for the rest of the conversation. The gist of it is this: Malory tried the ritual to wake the ley line and when his colleague made a joke about jumping out of his skin, his skin literally came off. Also, Blue shouldn’t tell Gansey because he has a “thing about death,” and it’s so great that there’s now a woman in the hunt for the ley line because it really is such a man’s game, isn’t it? Blue takes all this in stride, copies down the information on some old calculus homework, and hangs up all in under five minutes. A conversation with Malory in under five minutes! Do you guys see why I’m obsessed with Blue now?

Enter the boys:

Gansey was the first into the room, and he clearly hadn’t expected to find anyone there, because his features hasn’t been arranged at all to disguise his misery. When he saw Blue, he immediately managed to pull a cordial smile from somewhere

Hold for more boys.

Adam and Ronan came in then. Ronan was bent double with a duffle bag and a backpack on his back, and Adam carried a dented Froot Loops box with a Transformer poking out of the top.

“Nice Transformer,” Blue said. “Is that the police car one?”

I appreciate Blue trying to diffuse the situation with aggressive normalcy, but unfortunately it does not work. Adam and Ronan both disappear to their respective rooms to mope, and because Gansey’s bed is just in the middle of the living room, he has to mope in front of Blue.

Gansey continues with his relentless self-loathing, which includes him kicking things and saying “yee-haw” (don’t ask me why, I don’t know). Gansey acknowledges that he’s being self-pitying and Blue agrees and then tells him that she likes him better “this way.” We know she means unmasked and uncertain, the closest they can ever get to what she thinks of as the Real Gansey, but he brushes it off and announces that if there is even the slightest chance someone could get hurt they will not be performing the ritual.

I’m going to take a second to tell you about their physical positions right now, because it’s very important that you can picture this situation. Gansey put his face in his pillow (“sadly”) and so Blue knelt by the bed and kneeled over him. But, when the conversation got serious, Gansey rolled over. Basically, they’re looking at each other upside down and I’m feeling aggressive Spiderman Kiss Energy.

Ronan, taking in Blue’s posture and Gansey’s below, observed, “If you spat, Blue, it would land right in his eye.”

Gansey moved to the opposite side of the bed with surprising swiftness, glancing at Adam and away again as quickly.

Oof.

There’s yet another argument between Gansey and Adam, of course. Gansey’s stance is that there will be no waking the ley line, because it is too dangerous and he loves his friends more than anything else in the entire world. Even more than this search that he’s dedicated his life to. Adam’s argument is that it’s worth the risk, and even if it weren’t they have to stop Whelk from doing it first. Also, he needs that favor.

We end with Adam asking Gansey how it is he manages to live with himself. It’s about now when I want to close the book and stick it in the freezer.

Thoughts and Feelings:

So. A lot happened in this chapter. A lot to talk about, a lot to process, and yet, like always, this section will be a complete mess that talks about nothing and everything all at once. I’m writing three final papers right now, so you’re going to need to cut me some slack with this organization.

First off, we’re introduced to a version of Gansey in this chapter that I have never met before. And seeing as I am the resident expert on all things Raven Cycle (a title I give myself that nobody can take away from me), you’d think I would have noticed prior to this reading. But I did not!

Malory’s perception of Gansey is inherently youthful, not only because of his own age but because when Gansey was traipsing around the UK he hadn’t met Ronan and he hadn’t met Adam. In other words, all Malory saw was the Gansey façade, because without his friends Gansey is infinitely more isolated and scared. And then, in the page long pity session he participates in with Blue, we see it again.

AND IT IS SO ROMANITIC! I mean, the weird sort of romantic that you have to sit with for a while, but still. Get a load of this:

He muttered something into his bedsheets and waved a hand at the air. Blue crouched by the bed and leaned her arms at the head of it. 

“What now? With a lot less pillow in your mouth this time?”

That’s cute. That’s cute. It’s not a Big Moment, but sometimes Small Moments can be even better. You can collect them, and count them, and come back to them when you finish the series and you are sad because you want to hang out with your favorite characters for a little bit longer.

Best Character Moment:

“You are being self-pitying.” But Blue sort of liked it. She’d never seen anything like the real Gansey for so long at one time. It was too bad he had to be miserable to make it happen.

Best Turn of Phrase:

She thought this was a joke. In any case, she laughed and didn’t feel bad about it.

Action: Although there is little to no movement, the emotional action present here is amazing. 10/10

Magic: Noah pets Blue’s head because of her battery power. Adorable, magical, the whole nine yards. 13/10

Comic Relief: Ronan is funny but only because everyone else is so sad. 8/10

The Raven Cycle Reread 1.38

Summary:

WARNING: this chapter will break your heart six ways and then spit on the pieces. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

We took a brief break from our Gangsey last chapter to hear about Whelk’s culinary woes, but now we’re back. But we don’t want to be back, because by “back” I mean Gansey is waiting for Adam outside the hospital and they’re about to have the granddaddy of all fights. Or, I guess it’s just a version of the same fight they’ve been having since they met, but still. It’s a particularly bad version.

The first thing Gansey says after hello is that the receptionist said Adam didn’t have insurance and Gansey covered it. 38 chapters ago I would have said “aw, what a good friend” but now I know that’s the worst thing Gansey could have told Adam. It needed to be said, though, and I’m glad Gansey is the way he is and paid for it no question. It’s just the world’s shittiest situation.

But Adam doesn’t get angry. All he says to Gansey is “you win,” because Adam thinks that the whole situation makes Gansey happy. Gansey’s response (telling Adam not to be shitty) is warranted, but Adam isn’t in the most rational place so he keeps telling Gansey to just say I told you so and get it over with. I love Adam, but sometimes he is so obtuse that I just want to take him aside for a chat about how he should maybe cut his friends some slack, but unfortunately I do not have that power.

He wouldn’t lie; he wanted Adam out of that house. But there had never been a part of him that wanted him hurt to accomplish that. There had never been a part of him that wanted Adam to have to run instead of march triumphantly out.

Then Gansey uses the word repugnant in his argument and Adam calls him out for trying to make him feel stupid with his big fancy words. Gansey’s response is horrible and I won’t repeat it, but as soon as he says it he knows he’s gone too far. Adam knows it, too, which is why he gets out of the car and starts to walk down the highway alone, towards God knows where.

Gansey has a moment of the most aggressive self-loathing I’ve ever seen written on the page, and once he’s done he starts the car. It’s time for that moment in Legally Blonde where Elle leaves the restaurant and her gross boyfriend (I can’t remember his name—Wormer, or something?) drives next to her and begs her to get back in the car. But this time, it’s Gansey and Adam and the Camaro and I want nothing more than for everything to work out.

And it does work out. Kind of.

Gansey thought of one hundred things he could say to Adam about how it would be all right…but Gansey’s words had somehow become unwitting weapons, and he didn’t trust himself not to accidentally discharge them again.

So they drove in silence to get Adam’s things and when they left the trailer park for the last time, his mother watching from behind the kitchen window, Adam didn’t look back.

Emphasis on the kind of.

Thoughts and Feelings:

I mean. Come on. This chapter was six emotionally devastating pages and I really don’t think I ever want to read them again, but I have to go back and find my good character moment and my turn of phrase, but I don’t want to.

I can’t even pull what I did last time and say “this is so well written” because while it is, it’s just Gansey hating everything about himself, which is isn’t a novel idea. Every young adult character hates themselves, and most are very dramatic about it. What makes this particularly hard to read is that we’ve seen from Blue’s perspective and from Adam’s, and we know that some of the things Gansey is thinking are accurate. Everything that he thinks about himself, Blue and Adam have thought at some point in the previous 366 pages.

But, the last time we saw Adam, he was talking to Ronan about how devastated he would have been if Whelk had pulled the trigger. We’re literally watching Blue fall in love with Gansey bit by bit as he reveals himself to her. And that’s why it sucks to hear Gansey feel so hopelessly alone. The end.

Best Character Moment:

In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.

They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed to be able to walk away from them.

Best Turn of Phrase:

But then he stopped. He dropped his head into his hands. His thumbs worked through the hair above his ears, over and over, the knuckles white. When he sucked in his breath, it was the ragged sound that came from trying not to cry.

Action: There’s a lot of emotional action, if that counts. 6/10

Magic: Absolutely no magic! None!!! 2/10

Comic Relief: This was the least funny chapter I’ve ever read. 0/10

P.S. I just want to pop in to say that the ratings are bad because the criteria I’m grading on were not made for chapters like this. It is a good chapter! It is absolutely vital to the trajectory of the book and the arc of its characters. It’s just, I don’t know, neither magical nor funny.

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.37

Summary:

Hello again! Welcome to another (and, unfortunately, not the last) very short Whelk-centric chapter! We clock this one at a whopping three pages, and so you really can’t expect all that much from me in this post. I can’t make miracles. And if I could, I’d be writing my own books.

Here’s the gist: Whelk misses being rich and the delicious guacamole that came with it. He’s also mad that he didn’t take Gansey as a hostage when he had the chance, because it would have been easier to just take him to the ley line and sacrifice him there.

Whelk missed the good food that came with being rich…Carrie, the chef’s name, had been an effusive but intimidating woman who adored chopping things up with her knives. God, he missed her guacamole.

So he’s eating his terrible poor-person cheeseburger and he’s lamenting his terrible planning skills and he’s gnashing his terrible teeth, when the pay phone next to him rings. It’s Neeve. She’s being very eerie and she says she wants to help him wake up the ley line.

Whelk wants to say no, because Neeve is being very creepy, but he’s also an idiot and can’t do any of this by himself so obviously he says yes. Now I just have to buckle in and wait for them to fall in love.

And, that’s the end of the chapter. I know. It was a doozy, just try and keep all the crazy plotlines straight.

Thoughts and Feelings:

I mean obviously I’m joking about Neeve and Whelk falling in love, but wouldn’t it be funny if I weren’t? I’m trying to imagine a first date between the two of them but frankly it’s hard. You have to imagine Neeve would want to go corpse robbing during a blood moon because she is a walking stereotype, but that means Whelk would try and hit her with the shovel because he wanted to go eat guacamole and make fun of high schoolers.

I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here because this chapter was really short and there’s absolutely nothing I can say about it. I guess I appreciated that Whelk acknowledged Neeve’s power and expertise, because I feel like that’s not something I expected him to do when a woman is involved. He does call her a “thing” immediately after, though, which kind of dims the effect.

Best Character Moment:

As he chewed, a plan was falling into shape, and the plan involved sleeping in the back seat of his vehicle and making another plan in the morning.

Best Turn of Phrase:

Neeve’s voice was mild and eerie. No live person, Whelk thought, should sound so much like a computerized voicemail menu.

Action: A burger consumed, a phone call made. 4/10

Magic: Neeve did contact Whelk through a gas station pay phone using a stolen hair, so. That’s kinda dope. 7/10

Comic Relief: Everything about this chapter was so weird and specific to Barrington Whelk and his whiny ass personality and, honestly, it was all hilarious. 10/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.36

Summary:

I think this is the toughest chapter to read in this whole book. And it’s not because it’s full of big words or it’s really boring, because we’ve already read those chapters. This one deals with Adam and his father and I want to put a little disclaimer up here saying that this summary, while it will search for the little moments of friendship between the characters that aren’t human garbage dumps, it will not be fun or lighthearted. So with that out of the way, here is Chapter Thirty-Six.

Before they go stop Barrington Whelk, Adam Parrish needs to go home. He has to ask Ronan to drive him, which he hates, because Ronan doesn’t let him talk circles around his situation like Gansey might. Ronan makes damn sure Adam knows that he doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him and he needs to leave.

The two of them try to banter about the Latin homework (get it? Their teacher just tried to kill their best friend, it’s funny) but it doesn’t really work. Adam’s father is silhouetted against the window, and they know that as much as Adam can’t go home, he won’t go anywhere else, either. We’re reminded, too, that Adam’s in a particularly emotional state when he talks about what would have happened if Whelk had shot Gansey.

It was hard to remember what life at Aglionby had been like before Gansey. The distant memories seemed difficult, lonely, more populated with late nights where Adam sat on the steps of the double-wide, blinking tears out of his eyes and wondering why he bothered.

But Gansey isn’t dead, and Adam’s life won’t return to that bleak place. Except for the fact that he is, of course, going home to his father. And it turns out that Robert Parrish found one of Adam’s pay stubs, and subsequently accused him of lying about how much money he made. Instead of listening to Adam, he hit him.

But Ronan never fully pulled out of the driveway, and while Adam is trying to think of a way to diffuse the situation Ronan comes in to punch Robert Parrish in the face. The fight is quick and dirty, but seen through Adam’s perspective it’s all spinning sky and dizzy fragments. Eventually the cops arrive start to put Ronan into cuffs so they can take him back to the station. Adam can’t let Ronan be taken back to the station, and he can’t go back to the trailer.

Even with his eyes closed, he felt like he was falling, like the horizon pitched, like his head tilted. Adam had the sick feeling that his father had managed to knock something crucial askew.

And then he said what he couldn’t say before. He asked, “Can I… can I press charges?”

And that’s the end of the chapter.

Thoughts and Feelings:

Every time one of these chapters comes up I’m struck by the fact that the language used to describe Adam’s pain and abuse is so beautiful. I never thought I could look at a written description of someone’s head hitting concrete and marvel at the power of simile. Pain is one of those things that’s impossible to describe unless you experience it. When you’re telling someone else about pain you can quantify it on a scale of one to ten, or relate it to some well-known injury like stabbing or throbbing, but more often than not we throw around words like “unbearable” or “unimaginable.”

If we wrote about pain the way we wrote about love, I wouldn’t be so floored at the language in this chapter. There would be fifty million ways to describe a toothache and fifty million more to describe a cavity. Love is an abstract concept we’ve beaten bloody with dialogues and declarations. But here, Steifvater treats pain the same way she treats love. She describes them with the same care and attention to detail.

And I love this chapter. I hate what it does to Adam, but then again I’m so proud of where he ends up, and I’m so enamored with the language that takes him there.

Also, shoutout Ronan. He just needs a little love and I thought I’d put it down at the end here so nobody forgets how amazing and important he is ❤

Best Character Moment:

Adam couldn’t move in with Gansey. He had done so much to make sure that when he moved out, it would be on his own terms. Not Robert Parrish’s. Not Richard Gansey’s.

On Adam Parrish’s terms, or not at all.

Best Turn of Phrase:

When the side of Adam’s head hit the railing, it was a catastrophe of light. He was aware in a single, exploded moment of how many colors combined to make white.

Action: Adam moving out is the best action any of us could have hoped for. 10/10

Magic: There was no magic in this chapter, so I’m forced to give it a low rating even though it didn’t need magic because this storyline has nothing to do with the magical plot elements. At least, not yet. 2/10

Comic Relief: All of the humor was the weirdly unsatisfying morbid humor that Ronan projects at all times and makes me kinda sad. 5/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.35

Summary:

Just like the last time all of our main characters gathered in the Fox Way kitchen, everything is fraught and nobody is happy. We have several categories of bean that we have to deal with: Adam, the precious bean, making tea even though he has to keep asking where everything is. Ronan, the nervous bean, aggressively pacing the length of the kitchen. And Gansey, the injured bean, sitting at the kitchen table with his thumb in a splint, looking helpless. I love all types of bean indiscriminately and so does Blue, which makes this moment tender and also sweet.

Everyone is also a little stunned that their Latin teacher had the balls to almost shoot Gansey, but Blue is the only one who takes the time to look at Gansey’s face for a little longer.

Gansey’s eyes were different. She spent a minute too long trying to figure out what was different—it was a combination, she decided, between them being a little brighter and the skin around them a little tighter.

We find out later that this isn’t a commentary on emotions but rather the fact that Blue didn’t notice Gansey was wearing wire-framed glasses. It kind of invalidates all of the analysis I was about to write, but imagining Gansey in glasses is cute so I’ll let it slide. Moving on!

Everyone’s mad at Neeve because she’s technically doing Barrington Whelk’s bidding. Yes, that Barrington Whelk, the one that killed Noah and tried to kill Gansey and is just a huge asshole in general. All the accusatory statements made in a row by Maura make this scene feel a little bit like that Thanksgiving episode of Friends, where Joey wants to show the hot dancers the new world and Phoebe’s in love with Jacques Gusteau. Nobody wants to be in that kitchen but nobody can leave, you know?

Blue makes it even more awkward by bringing up Butternut (which is, apparently, what we’ll be calling her father for the foreseeable future). Maura’s upset because she thinks Blue will be upset, but Blue’s just pissed that her mother kept all of this from her. Meanwhile, Gansey is doing the Lord’s work by providing a little bit of comedy to the situation:

 “How do you know I wouldn’t have just been happy with the truth? I don’t care if my father was a deadbeat named Butternut. It doesn’t change anything right now.”  

“His name wasn’t really Butternut, was it?” Gansey asked Adam in a low voice.

Neeve brings us back on track by trying to convince the group she’s blameless, but they’re having none of it. Gansey brings up the fact that Maura refused to tell him about the ley line, to which Maura is like, yeah, good point. They shake down the plot of the whole book into a couple sentences, with wry interjections from Adam and Ronan, before Neeve reaches the conclusion that they should go perform the ritual and wake the ley line up.

The fact that it requires a sacrifice of sorts doesn’t seem to bother her; the search for Glendower is a zero sum game that Barrington Whelk needs to lose. And Persephone corroborates that by saying the ley line will be woken in the next few days anyway, so it might as well be them who do it.

Gansey’s caught up in the unknowns: does someone have to die? If they don’t have to die, what will they offer? Will it tie them to the ley line like Noah’s spirit? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stop Whelk from doing the ritual and tell the police where Cabeswater is?

That is universally shot down as the worst idea ever, and Gansey knows before he says it. But he’s tired and he just broke his thumb and the world is being so much uglier and meaner than he believes it to be.

Several exasperated faces turned on Gansey. Maura said, “Well, he’s not going to go away because you don’t want to deal with him.”

“I didn’t say it was possible,” Gansey replied, not looking up from his splint. “I just said that it was what I would like.”

It was a naïve answer, and he knew it.

This is the point at which I was screaming at the book, WHY DOES EVERYONE FORGET THAT HE IS A CHILD???? But of course they do, and it hits me right where it hurts every time.

The chapter ends with Gansey and his king-like call to action, and Blue looking her mother directly in the eyes while she disobeys her. It’s a badass moment, and I never want it to end.

Thoughts and Feelings:

So, here we are. Barrington Whelk is on the lam (don’t blame me for that phrasing, blame Ronan). Blue saw Gansey’s splinted thumb and discovered she has a thing for injured rich boys. Ronan’s out for blood. Everyone knows what they have to do. It’s time to set the plan in motion, wake up the ley line, and set the magic loose!

I’m ready for the magic to be set loose. I’m waiting. Let’s go, guys. Let’s move on to the next chapter! I don’t want to have thoughts and/or feelings about this one, I’m revved up! And no, this isn’t me being lazy and skipping this part of the post, it’s me being EXCITED! FOR MORE RAVEN BOYS! So to get this over with:

Thoughts: mmmm good chapter very nice, good moments with the bois

Feelings: I’M FEELING EXCITED AND STRESSED AND STRESS-EXCITED:0

Best Character Moment:

“Could someone cut this hospital bracelet off?” he asked. There was something gallant and hectic about the deliberately offhand way he asked it. “I feel like an invalid. Please”

Best Turn of Phrase:

“NO.”

Both Neeve and Maura said it at once. Neeve, however, won for overall impressiveness by pairing her outburst with leaping from her chair.

Action: This is the rising action. Please put the narrative bread dough in the narrative proving drawer and lets go KILL SOME LATIN TEACHERS!!!! 6/10

Magic: I mean, everyone was in the same room. That feels about as magical as you can get. 8/10

Comic relief: The Raven boys playing the straight men to Fox Way’s shenanigans will never not be hilarious. 9/10