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.
Oh gosh, THIS SERIES. I love it. It’s actually become one of my favorite fall-ish things, because A) I’ve been reading the Raven Cycle since the first book was released and B) they’re always released in the autumn. For the past several years I’ve known that I’ll read at least one AMAZING book during these months. Thanks, Maggie Stiefvater.
Well, that’s enough intro. Let’s jump right into the review!
This review is spoiler-free!
So. Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Where do I even start?! I guess I’ll just… pick a random aspect of this book and go from there. I apologize if this review jumps around from topic to topic.
This is definitely Adam’s book.
The Raven Boys focused on Gansey and The Dream Thieves was about Ronan, and now it’s Adam’s turn. And this might be the only part of this book that I don’t completely love, because I’ve never been a huge fan of Adam. I mean, I don’t hate him or anything. I don’t even dislike him. I’m just sort of… apathetic towards him? Especially after book two, because RONAN IS JUST SUCH A VIVID CHARACTER. Adam is decidedly not vivid; it’s just not part of his personality.
Also, this raises the question of who will be important in the final book. I’m guessing it’ll be Blue, but then she’s not a Raven BOY. Is it Noah? Maybe. A dead narrator wouldn’t be the weirdest thing this series has had, and Noah’s death is tied up with Gansey’s life anyway.
FRIENDSHIP. Friendship everywhere!
You probably already knew this, but: I’m picky about love stories, especially in YA.
Well, this book has romance, but only a tiny amount. It’s very understated and lovely, even now in the third quarter of the series when it’s started to become more important to the storyline.
Also, Blue Lily, Lily Blue talks a LOT about a different kind of love. Platonic love, AKA friendship! From the very beginning, this has been one of my favorite aspects of the series. There aren’t enough awesome friendships in YA fiction, and even fewer between large groups of friends (versus, say, two people).
This quote really sums it all up:
‘”You can be just friends with people, you know,’ Orla said. ‘I think it’s crazy how you’re in love with all those Raven Boys.’
Orla wasn’t wrong, of course. But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another.
Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”
The stakes have been, predictably, raised in this book.
It’s almost the end of the story and THINGS ARE GETTING REAL. Or not real, as the case may be. Um. That doesn’t count as a spoiler, does it?!
I don’t want to give away any important plot details, so let’s just say that OH MY GOSH I DID NOT SEE SOME OF THOSE TWISTS COMING AND WOW I’M SAD NOW UGH WHY.
Maggie Stiefvater is an extraordinarily gifted writer and I am JEALOUS.
Her plots are highly inventive, and her characters feel like my best friends.
But mostly? I am in love with her writing style. How do you do it, Maggie?! She’s just… gah. She’s great with timing, for example. She always knows the perfect time for a plot twist, and she has AMAZING comedic timing as well.
And this is just one of the many things that sets the Raven Cycle head and shoulders above its YA cohorts: The story is lighthearted and heartbreaking all at once. You never really know what’s going to happen next. Will it make you laugh or cry?
Want some examples? Well, a serious one can be found above; I love that quote about friendship.
This quote, meanwhile, made me crack up and go WHY, MAGGIE, WHY:
“The Gray Man said, ‘If you are going to dismantle my life anyway, there’s no motivation for me to not just kill you and Piper right now.’
‘Talk dirty to me,’ said Greenmantle. ‘Like old times.’
And here’s another serious one:
“There was something unfamiliar about him. Something ferocious about his eyes, some sort of bite in his faint smile. Something altogether hectic and unsettled. She stood on the ledge of his smile and looked over the edge.”
And here’s one more. I apologize for inundating you with quotes, but THEY’RE AWESOME. This one reminds me of… myself. (And my family agreed.)
“Blue was not so much a terrible driver as a terrified one. Because she had not, as Jesse Dittley pointed out, eaten her greens, she had to adjust the seat as close to the pedals as possible. She clutched the steering wheel with the grace of a performing bear.
Everything on the dash shouted for her attention. Lights? Speed! Air on face? Air on feet! Fuel-oil-engine! Strange bacon symbol?
She drove very slowly.”
That is me. THAT IS LITERALLY ME.
This review is close to a thousand words long now, so I’d better wrap it up. Was Blue Lily, Lily Blue everything I expected? Yes. And then some more. Look, I’m picky about books. I critique even the ones I like – I think doing so has made me a better writer – and as I’m reading I mentally pull apart the book and analyze each aspect of it. This results in a LOT of three-star ratings, if even that.
But this series is different. I’m continually surprised that Maggie Stiefvater isn’t better-known. I haven’t even read all her books (I still have six left! I look forward to them!), but the ones I have read are far, far better than… than, well, just about anything else in YA. She’s, like, a writing superheroine. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2014. Well done, Ms. Stiefvater!