Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle, #3
The search for Glendower has almost come to fruition when it seems that Cabeswater is finally willing to give up its most prized secret. But the Welsh king isn’t the only one Blue and her Raven Boys are searching for. Blue’s mother, Maura, has disappeared, leaving behind an enigmatic note. As the search continues each member of the group is faced with their own challenges and many of their relationships become strained. Prophecies abound, warning the group that their quest will lead them into danger and Blue struggles with the knowledge that one of their deaths has already been foretold.
“I saw him, Blue thought. I saw his spirit when he died, and this was not what he was wearing. This is not how it happens. It’s not now, it’s later, it’s later —“
Before I started reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I understood there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be able to articulate how I felt about it because I’ve become so emotionally invested in these characters that at times it even seems fanatical to me. So please bear with me as I try not to gush too much over this series.
Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third book in The Raven Cycle series, brings our characters on the cusp of discovery while also moving relationships forward and some a little backward. If I had to describe the relationships in this series in one word, it would be “complicated.” This isn’t because there is unnecessary romantic entanglements or petty jealousy, this is because the characters in this series are so well-developed that tension and contrition are a given. Richard Campbell Gansey III is, by birth and personality, their leader. He propels the group forward in their search for Glendower. He’s the glue that keeps them all together, his enthusiasm a driving-force. They listen to him, trust him, and in those moments when he seems less than godlike, they are rattled. Gansey means the world to a lot of characters and I’m not sure they know who they would be without him.
Adam Parrish has gone from a boy desperate for prestige, never allowing himself to accept handouts even when saying no results in pain, to a boy who gave himself over to Cabeswater and is just discovering that he isn’t as powerless as thought he was. Ronan Lynch is contemptuous on his good days, but at the same time you see just how much the people around him mean to him. He’s willing to go to great lengths to protect the ones he loves. Both of these characters are far more dangerous and a lot more powerful than I’ve ever given them credit for, and I’m not sure if this is a good thing.
Blue Sargent, like Adam, does not come from a family of wealth. The difference between the two is Adam has always been determined to achieve affluence while Blue has accepted her economical limitations. But in Blue Lily, Lily Blue we see a different Blue emerge. She wants more than what her circumstances would allow, and this desire has spilled over into her relationship with Gansey. And if you haven’t read the first two books, I suggest you stop reading now. In The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, it seemed that Blue sort of accepted that though it was going to hurt, Gansey’s death was still going to happen. In this book Blue is no longer satisfied with what fate has in store and wants desperately to believe destiny can be changed because no one wants to lose Gansey.
There are so many other characters I could discuss and that is the beauty of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. She has found a way to write characters that are essentially doomed by a variety of circumstances–by their social standing, their own desires, their destinies, their own natures, their hearts, their relationships–and made each inexplicably real to the reader that I find myself hoping for a happily-ever-after that Stiefvater has never promised. Yet I still keep reading and hoping. The Raven Cycle series is very much focused on its characters: how they relate to each other, how their perceptions of one another impact their lives, and how these perceptions are either false or incomplete. I am continuously amazed by the depth Stiefvater is able to infuse into these characters and now I will be suffering for another year waiting for the fourth and final book.