Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

When I saw the title of this third book in Maggie Stiefvater's series the Raven Cycle, I thought the main character, Blue Sargeant, was going to be introduced to somebody named Lily. "Blue, Lily. Lily, Blue." This is not the case. The words come from an eerie song chanted by a spooky ancient being entombed in the bottom of a Virginian cave. Much better.

I haven't been subtle in my gushing love for this series thus far. You can read my review of book one, The Raven Boys, and of book two, The Dream Thieves. The third installment doesn't disappoint. If you haven't read the first two, and want to avoid all spoilers, you should leave now. I will, of course, try to keep the crucial information to a minimum, but things slip out.

Blue, a child raised in a home by her psychic mother and mother's psychic partners, has by now grown close to all the Raven Boys as they continue their search for the illusive buried Welsh King, Glendower. With Blue's mother vanished underground and possibly in trouble, Blue's needs the boys more than ever. She's also falling in love with their leader, Gansey, which is bad because she's been told by some very reliable psychics that she carries a curse: if she kisses her true love, he will die. With the lay line near Anglionby fully active, Gansey invites his former mentor, an old scholar from Wales named Malory, to join them in their converted factory home. Malory and his odd but highly sensitive therapy dog have trouble fitting in except for the fact that they're as odd as everyone else. Following the leads of some local folks, the crew discovers the entrance to a cursed cave which may provide an alternative route to the underground world containing Glendower, and, possibly, Blue's mom. In the meantime, Ronan keeps bringing things out of his dreams, and, like his character, some of them are dangerous and some of them are touching.

The weirdness and magic continue to mount throughout this third installment, and the characters, exposed to so much already, have come to take it in stride. It's one of the perfect charms of the story that, after raising a 500 year-old woman from the dead, Gansey decides the only decent thing to do is to bring her home and give her something to eat. As in the other books, the characters' real struggles aren't with the supernatural, but with each other and with themselves. with negotiating vast class and cultural differences between the wealthy spoiled boarding school students of Anglionby and the rural folks, like Blue, whose town they share. While Blue and the Raven boys are all open-minded, they have also all been prejudiced by their upbringings and learning to love and trust each other isn't always easy. But Stiefvater is generous and patient with her characters, as they are, in time, with each other.

There is, I hear, only one volume in the series remaining. I am eager for its publication, though I am already starting to mourn the end of this excellent series.

This review is based on a library-owned copy.

1 comment :

Liviania said...

Yep, only one more book. I'm excited to learn how everything falls out.