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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater - Review

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Warning: spoilers ahead (a little bit) if you haven't read the Raven Cycle)

I finally finished the third book in the Raven Cycle series and I LOVED it! My relationship with this series is complicated and for several reasons this book took me nearly two weeks to read, but the pay off was worth it.

Okay so let me start at the beginning. I loved the Raven Boys, I thought it was a really perfect adventure with the cutest characters. I loved the mythology and the set up of searching for Glendower and I loved the juxtaposition of the boys' and Blue's ordinary lives with their individual worries and school lives. I was really excited for The Dream Thieves, but then I really didn't get on with it. I found it dragged and didn't really add a lot to the overarching plot of the series for me.

I guess that put me off a bit because I haven't picked up Blue Lily, Lily Blue until now. But I was wandering through the bookshelves and I do, and I thought, you know, I really ought to get to reading this whole series. I think I was also putting it off a bit because, as you'll know if you've read the series, right at the beginning, it's foretold by Blue that Gansey is going to die, and I just don't think I can deal with the heartache - even though I don't think he's going to die in a typical fashion because, well, I just don't believe it! But I knew it would hurt so I've been gaily going along in ignorance so that nothing terrible happens to Gansey.

But, anyway! I started reading this and got into it, but the text is very dense and that's one reason why it took me so long to read. I like to go over things to make sure I really understand what's going on. I've also been away for a couple of nights where I didn't read, and been a bit ill, both of which are things which don't make me rush through a book. And that's okay. Life happens. In 2018 I am definitely trying to focus on quality over quantity, and this book definitely fits in.

First of all, loads of things happened, all of which brought the plot along very nicely. The novel as a whole can only be set within about three weeks of time, which I really appreciated. Let me talk about each character and what they're up to:

Adam: There's not nearly as much Adam as I would like. He's still living above the church and is waiting for the court case against his father. He's pretty upset and he rows with Ronan which physically pained me. I think, in thinking about this series as a whole, that really, the first book is Adam's. It's about his family situation and abuse and about his escaping from that. The second book is Ronan's, this third book belongs to Blue. Presumably, that means The Raven King will belong to Gansey, which is great because I love Gansey, but also, if the first book is the most Adam I'm going to get I'm a bit sad about that. I need a whole TV series about Adam Parrish living his best life, to be honest.

Ronan: Ronan is back dreaming, but in a much more concise way. He's trying to wake things up at his family home, and he's discovered something about his brother that literally made me gasp when I read it. He's there for Gansey and for Adam when they need him, even if he's pretty belligerent about it when he wants to be. He and Blue have never really bonded, but then towards the end of this book he really comes through for her in a way that I really loved. I love him, in all his sullen sweary ways.

Gansey: Gansey's friend Malory has come from England and Gansey is trying to find another way into Cabeswater after suffering a horrendous panic attack near the beginning of the book. There's not enough Gansey in this book, but his scenes with Blue are adorable and painful in turn. I love him, I don't even care.

Blue: Most of this book is from Blue's point of view, which was great because it's so easy to like her. She's got a lot going on and a lot of grief after the disappearance of her mother in the Dream Thieves and desperately wants to find her. She's in love with Gansey but can't kiss him because of the curse upon her, so all her pining is quite relatable too. She makes friends with Jesse Dittley in a way that I thought was just brilliant. I am so glad that this particular part of the series was told from her point of view because I think her experiences gave it the gravity it deserved, if that makes sense.

So, there's a lot going on and threat coming from Greenmantle, who has moved to Henrietta and is teaching Latin at the boys' school (Latin teachers are always really shady characters aren't they). There's a few bits of his point of view which I also liked; his relationship with his wife Piper is pretty bonkers and funny, and honestly it was nice to read an adult's point of view in a YA novel.

I won't talk any more about the story, but there were a lot of twists and turns, many of which made me laugh out loud and some of which made me gasp and want to cry. I loved the whole thing, I will probably reread this book as a standalone at some point. The Dream Thieves did, as I suspected, set up some things in this book, which was nice to see. I laughed out loud at a lot of the conversation, I love how sarcastic each of the main four are with each other, and the little asides. I laughed so much that my partner kept asking what I was laughing at, and I think I piqued his interested enough that he might try the first book.

I love the series, but I'd be able to understand if people didn't. Some of it is just totally ridiculous and I just went with it and let it be, but I could understand if people didn't get it and couldn't run with it. We'll have to see what Lee thinks!

Most of all I love the friendships within this group. They will all literally die for each other and I love that. The fierceness of those friendships and the lengths to which everyone will go for all the others. The fact that everyone else might not really understand Gansey's mission to find Glendower but that they're willing to join in with it anyway. That for me is the real takeaway of the series and I think it's gorgeously summed up here:

I love it, it gives me all the feels!

Finally, I have to show off that my copy of this book is signed. I met Maggie at YALC in 2016 and got her to sign this. I was using my signed Becky Albertalli bookmark too!

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