Blue Lily, Lily Blue

For the first time in her life, Blue Sargent has found a place where she feels at home. The Ravem Boys have taken her in as one of their own and she is sure that this is where she belongs.

But certainties can unravel. Visions can mislead. And friends can betray.

The trick with found things is how easily they can be lost.

blue-lily-lily-blue

I keep waiting to get bored of The Raven Cycle, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue, much like its predecessors, didn’t disappoint. With every instalment, Maggie Stiefvater solidifies her place as one of my go-to authors. Also with her Twitter feed, which is delightful.

The best compliment I can give this book is that while reading on the train home after working multiple 12 hour shifts, I did not fall asleep. Lately, involuntarily passing out as soon as my butt hits that train seat, therefore accidentally using up my main reading time – yes, tragic, I know – has been an issue for me. Not so much with this one. Stiefvater knows how to write a page-turner.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue brought some much needed character development to Blue and her Raven Boys. Or perhaps I should say relationship development. Blue and Gansey are happening now, albeit in fits and starts. The something I thought I saw between Ronan and Adam back in book one is much harder to deny these days – and I still can’t quite decide whether I think they’ll be great or a disaster. They’re both just so damaged. But messy people attract, I guess. I can’t wait to see how Stiefvater pulls all the pieces together in book 4.

But the book wasn’t consumed by ships (not that I would have minded if it was honestly. I love it.), it was also about the friendships. Throughout the novel, Adam repeats the refrain to himself don’t fight with Gansey. After the relentless aggression, resentment and crossed wires that dominated Adam’s relationships in The Dream Thieves, he’s exhausted from the battle (as are we). It’s like in this book he suddenly felt the impossible weight of his pride. Choosing to carry it alone was something he finally started to see as kind of … dumb. It took two and half books, but he was at last able to ask himself why dealing with everything alone was better. He couldn’t find a good answer.

Even though he drives me crazy, Adam is the character in the series I identify most strongly with, so seeing him finally let down his carefully constructed walls, first to Gansey and Ronan in the court room and then to Blue with Cabeswater gave me ALL of the feels.

What has hit me again and again with this series is how strongly I feel about these characters. I think part of it is because of how easily Stiefvater flips between the magical side of things and the real, painful realities of a human life. Even if the scenario is magical, the feelings that come with it are real and raw and tangible. Probably the best example of this is the scene where Adam’s dad shows up at his apartment.

So much of the book up until that point is dedicated to how Adam isn’t really ‘normal ‘ any more. But in that moment when he opens the door up to his abuser, he is a boy again. There is a narrative that people enjoy of standing up to abusers, telling them to go fuck themselves while a room full of supporters applaud, or of making them think that their house is haunted by the husband they probably murdered using your newfound telekinetic ability. It’s a nice scene, certainly satisfying, but it isn’t real. When most people are faced with their abusers they freeze, like Adam did. This is because of the fear and because of the doubt. Adam’s father walked into his home to tell him what he always did:  That Adam was making it up, that Adam didn’t understand his own life, that Adam was the one to blame. He did all of this with the lingering threat of violence. Over coming abuse is a long and complicated process, even when you have powers. I was so grateful that Stiefvater didn’t write anything to reduce that.

This scene really came out of nowhere and was as much of a heart punch to the reader as it was Adam. It is through moments like this that Stiefvater consistently grounds the series. I don’t read too much fantasy, and part of the reason for that is the difficulty that I have connecting to characters who’s experiences are too fantastical to be relatable. In this series, the balance is perfect. The magical world is engaging and exciting while the human elements remain authentic.

I sort of want to put off reading The Raven King for a while because I don’t want the series to be over.

Two issues:

Malory. What was the point of him?

Calla. I love her, but why did she make such a big deal about going to the cave and then decide to sit in the car and wait for the action to be over? That felt silly to me. I know it was important for Blue to wind up going it alone, but I feel like there was probably a better way to deal with the Calla problem. She just never struck me as the waiting in the car type.

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Author: Lydia Tewkesbury

24. Loves a good story.

3 thoughts on “Blue Lily, Lily Blue”

  1. I love your review so, so much, and you perfectly summed-up how I feel about this book. The characters are just so ALIVE on the page, they’re complex and real, which makes me love them way too much to explain it properly. I loved Adam’s growth, I think he has the most stunning growth in all of the series – I can’t WAIT for you to read the last book, but I understand you waiting. I wish I’d waited, I miss them now hahhaa.

    Like

  2. Pingback: February Wrap-Up

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