And so it comes to an end. I finished The Raven King, last of The Raven Cycle trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

I hate finishing series. It’s not that I don’t enjoy final books (I usually enjoy them more than most). It’s that I’m losing friends.

God, that sounds depressing.

But hear me out. In the best books, you get to know the characters in a way that gets to their hopes, dreams, insecurities. And Stiefvater set out to make a book about friendships, so she was really twisting the knife on this one.

Yes, there are romantic storylines. No, they’re not the featured attraction. In fact, the last one’s the only one that even fully features them as a B-plot. In the others, you see the romantic undertones at times, but that’s not your sense of conflict. Your sense of conflict is based in this tight-knit group of friends who don’t always know each other as well as they’d like to.

To recap the series, the group of friends is on the hunt for a sleeping Welsh king to wake him up. The friends slowly and then quickly at times become more enmeshed in the magical world around them.

Gansey is the princeling who leads the group. Ronan is the one who enjoys pissing people off. Adam is the one who desperately wants to be self-sufficient. Blue carries and pink switchblade. And Noah’s also there.

This book largely features everyone coming to terms with their relationships with each other as shit hits the proverbial fan. My favorite relationships to watch change is the one between Blue and Ronan. Blue is the initial outsider and Ronan is the most fully enmeshed in the private school, rich kid world she is wandering into. They argue the entire series, but it evolves from arguing because they’re annoyed to arguing as a show of affection. Sort of like when pets bite their owners affectionately and sometimes accidentally bring blood.

This book also does a significant shift away from the side characters who are still present but aren’t given as strong of a role in this book. It’s probably for the best. As well developed as they feel in the first 3 books, there’s not enough room to give all the side characters their proper due without biting on the core friends, especially when a new friend is thrown into the bunch.

All in all, it’s been a great ride. I’m going to miss diving into these characters’ thoughts and insecurities. but all I have left is one question: Who the hell is the 3rd sleeper then?