Ooof, ok, three books in and we’ve hit a real tear jerker. This is not to say that Maggie Stiefvater wasn’t strumming the emotional strings in the first two books, but in Blue Lily, Lily Blue the stakes were so much higher and the moments more weight. This is book three in the Raven Cycle Series and this is your obligatory spoiler warning. If you’re interested in reading about my thoughts about book one you can that here and if you’ve read that and want to read my thoughts on the second book you can read that there. Maggie Stiefvater is in the habit of leaving us on massive heart wrenching must pick up the next book as soon as possible cliffhangers so when I say reading this might give you some spoilers what I mean is that reading this absolutely WILL give you some spoilers.
What I think is so impressive about this series is the number of “main” characters in no way inhibits the amount of emotional depth they all get. This tapestry is complex but never tangled and at this point that is something worth noting. I love love love the little tidbits we learn about the characters via their long friendships. I believe at one point Gansey wants Ronan to hum because he knows so much music from his Irish Music Competitions. It’s one part of one sentence that just adds to the richness of character, makes you even more curious about him, and really solidifies and proves the fact that Ronan and Gansey have been close friends for a long time. I think that that may be an undervalued technique in literature, but often really interesting plots lose me because there’s not enough silly detail. Those details give the story, characters, and scene’s so much more life and lushness. I think lush is the perfect word to describe what Stiefvater has built here.
Now, to the doozy (or one of them anyway), we start out the book with Blue dealing with her mother (Maura) having left to look for her father. Upon first reading I’d say this bit of the book is underplayed. If my mom left with nothing but a note saying she’s gone to looks for someone somewhere dangerous and that was all I’d be broody at best. Blue certainly has her moments, but I think they are quiet. There is nothing wrong with quiet moments, they’re powerful and, in this case, appropriate, however when there is so much noise and action happening in conjunction with the quiet moments, they get a little trampled. If anything, I’d say Blue, true to character, gets to work to find her mom rather than dwelling on teenage broodiness.
There are far too many characters to try and go into each one of their storylines. As a group, it’s interesting to see their different perspectives when dealing with each other. There is a giant pink elephant in the room wanting to stomp out all the tension, but they’re very caught up in making sure they don’t fight and they all remain fine. This adds to the pressure cooker feeling this entire book has. I have no guesses about what’s going to happen because Stiefvater has regularly upended my expectations. I anticipate that no matter where she ends the series I will be dissatisfied just by virtue of having become close to the characters themselves. I want to see where they end up. For now, at least, I have The Raven King to look forward to.
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