Blue Lily, Lilly Blue — Review (…mostly)

How fitting, to begin this blog with a post such as this, on a subject like this one.

An introduction as to why:

In February of 2012, I read The Raven Boys. I read it from the hours of two until five in the morning, and the day after that, I read it again. Fast forward to October 2013. Maggie Stiefvater announces that she will be in my city for a book signing. It is a dream come true. I take my books and the latest release (book two, The Dream Thieves) and head off to tell her thank you, because this book changed my life.

A week ago, October 21st, 2014, a day before the anniversary of my meeting with my hero, book three came out. This morning I finished it for the second time and believe I can finally…actually write a review on it.

And so things seem a bit circular. The beginning of my legitimate literary journey is also the beginning of this blog.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

  • Author: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Year: 2014
  • Shelved In: Teen Paranormal Romance
  • Better look at Genres: Paranormal, Mythological Fiction, Romance
  • At a Glance: Blue and her Raven Boys encounter lots of Troubling Issues. Gansey worries a lot. So much magic happens.
  • Is this review Spoiler Free?: I mention things, but not Things. I talk a lot about theme and character arc, but no events are spoiled.

The Good Stuff

Blue Lily has so much good stuff in it. Henrietta in Autumn is beautiful. Cabeswater is mysterious as ever. Stiefvater’s antagonists remain the same possessors of such delightful awfulness that I hesitate to call them “villains”. But I think my favorite thing about this book is that nothing is focused on in particular.

Described as the slow ‘kerchunk-kerchunk-kerchunk’ part of the roller-coaster, Blue Lily definitely lives up to the definition. But it doesn’t…feel like it. Middle Cycle Syndrome attacks nearly every book in some form or another. That’s the bit where the middle chapters, or the middle book, or both, feel like…well, the middle. The setup, the lull, the character-development-and-fluff section.

Blue Lily doesn’t have that. Every single one of the Raven Cycle books thus far have basically been that. They’ve been characters, they’ve been people interacting with one another just for the sake of it. Not that they haven’t been about dreaming worlds and finding dead Welsh kings. But they’ve been such an atmosphere unto themselves of — well, life — that Middle Cycle isn’t really a word that can get applied to any of them, and especially not Blue Lily.

Inside her three hundred and ninety-one pages, Blue Lily divulges secret after secret…quietly, out the mouths of a boy who’s quest is beginning to eat him, a girl now desperate not only for her something more, but also for what she had in the first place, and another boy, finally coming to terms with, well, himself.

And so while her secrets are monuments unto themselves, the way they come about being realized is so basically human. It takes awhile. And some thought. And a decent amount of anxiety. And a little bit of moving around rocks to re-direct ley lines. Raven Boys’ secrets were about things beginning (finally), Dream Thieves told about desire and realization, and Blue Lily…lets everyone mature.

Things happened, make no doubt about it. But the central focus? Everyone’s arc hitting its peak. And that takes time and interaction, both of which are presented so beautifully I had to let it sink in for a couple days, and then go back and remind myself once more.

In the end, Blue Lily was such a good supporting block for this story. We have the cores of Gansey and Blue laid bare, and Ronan and Adam furthering their arcs (beautifully, and parallel, I might add), and magic becoming…even more magic-y than it was before.

Like I said. Things Happened. But this book, this ‘middle cycle’? To me it’s basically the heart of this whole cycle.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

WHAT NOW?

Obviously I have no things I didn’t like about this book. Mostly I want to know what’s going on.

I’m really really pleased with character arcs. Adam and Ronan each had such a good peak to their arc in this book, kind of a realization moment for Adam and a furthering of Ronan’s own realizations in the previous book. Blue Sargent is such a beautiful creature. She aged in this book, took on different flavors.

And Gansey. Gansey, Gansey, Gansey. The tipping point of everything. I don’t even know what to say about Gansey. Rex Corvus, parate Regis Corvi.

The Raven King, make way for the Raven King.

Overall

  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Recommended to: Stiefvater fans, of course. Raven Cycle as a whole belongs to those who wish to be, do, or find something more. And also people who like dead Welsh kings and magic. Either or.
  • Lasting Impression: Honesty.

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