Blue Lily, Lily Blue
by Maggie Stiefvater
Expected Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Obtained Via: Advanced Reader’s copy given by the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
#3 in the Raven Cycle
View at the Traffic light:
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
Note: There may be spoilers for the first two books in this review.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that The Raven Cycle is one of the strangest series I’ve ever read. It combines complex interpersonal dynamics(of both friends and family), mythology, and paranormal aspects. To evaluate each of these aspects individually would make this a very long review indeed, so I’ll stick more with my general impressions than anything to in-depth.
I found both The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves to be really good books, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue takes it to another level. For the first time, I felt truly invested in the fate of these characters. Everything was so layered and complex and my emotions got involved. There were so many scenes that affected me on a very basic level. Stiefvater is always good at writing characters that seem real, but the characters in Blue Lily, Lily Blue even more so than normal. I was always invested in Blue and Gansey, and to some extent Ronan, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue made me care about everyone. I anticipated every scene and cheered for the characters when things went their way and choked on sobs when it didn’t.
However, perhaps the biggest thing about Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the new view of the world that Stiefvater gives us. There’s always been a tenuous connection between Blue’s family and Gansey’s quest, but in this book everything just becomes more connected and complex. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is that moment when the camera angle widens and you realize what you’ve been seeing all along is only a part of the whole. This happens not only with the plot, but also with the characters. One of my favorite aspects of Blue Lily, Lily Blue was this theme that ran underneath about “knowing” people. Almost all of the characters struggle with this in some way–with wondering if they really know their friends or if they even know themselves. A few quotes that go to highlight this:
“It seemed impossible for all of Ronan to exist in one person. Adam was beginning to realize that he hadn’t known Ronan at all. Or rather, he had known part of him and assumed it was all of him.”
“Gansey thought of how strange it was to know these two young men so well and yet to not know them at all.”
Of course, because this book is written by Maggie Stiefvater there’s no easy answer to the knowing or unknowing of someone else. However, as the characters continue to explore this idea, it all feels so heartfelt. There’s so much going on under the surface of Blue Lily, Lily Blue that it would be difficult to make a list of it all, but the relationship between Blue and her Raven boys continues to deepen and grow.
There’s also a ton going on plot-wise as well. The first two books in this series felt filled to the brim, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue is dense. This is not a quick read, though it never feels slow or lifeless. Stiefvater’s prose has a very dreamy, airy quality to it, but the plot is thick and twisted and at times made me think I needed to diagram out what was happening. Blue Lily, Lily Blue was filled with enough twists and turns that it began to feel uncommon for my jaw to hit the floor. For the first time in this series, Blue Lily, Lily Blue kept me guessing from beginning to end.
The Raven Cycle was already towards the top of my favorite series list, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue solidified my love for it. The first two books were good, but this one was so much better that it doesn’t even feel fair to compare this book to The Raven Boys or The Dream Thieves. One of my favorite books of the year. 5/5 cupcakes.