Part three of the Raven Cycle does not disappoint. Actually, it rips your heart out and slowly tortures it with magic, realism, and impending doom.
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.
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.
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Blue Lily, Lily Blue (hereafter BLLB because that is such a long title) continues the magic of The Raven Cycle, with a side of heartbreak.
In BLLB, shit starts to get real. You can tell that the series is building up to the climax. Gansey’s death stops being a far-off possibility and takes on an imminent feeling. Magic starts to go off the rails, trampling into the real world. There is a nervous excitement on every page that makes you want to read faster to rip the bandaid off. The plot is no longer messing around and is now playing for keeps.
And it’s really, really painful to read. But also gorgeous. GAH Maggie Stiefvater will destroy me.
At this point, it feels redundant to say that the characters are still living, breathing, and growing. All of the Raven Boys (and Blue) are well in the middle of fighting their demons, finding themselves, and rearranging their lives around the truths they keep uncovering. Once again, it feels more like a collection of simultaneous stories woven together than one dominant plot—which I love. It wouldn’t do the characters justice to leave out their individual plot lines for the sake of a more unified story line.
There are a lot of new characters in BLLB, but somehow it works. Some of them are minor characters and just add some humor to the story (I LOVE JESSE—see what I did there?), but others are key players in the plot. Gwenllian, Greenmantle, and Piper all helped move the plot in new directions (even if I wanted to scream at all of them).
The main plot of BLLB surrounds Marua’s disappearance and the presence of three “sleepers.” The sleepers plot was really freaking creepy, because you never knew if the characters were taking the right steps or if they were going to destroy themselves. Coupled with the vague sense of impending doom, BLLB had me on edge of my seat.
But BLLB still has strong “real world” subplots. I loved learning more about Aglionby, both about the students and the classes. Seeing Gansey’s cohorts interact with the rest of their school made me see them in a new light (even three books into the series).
And FINALLY, we get to see Blue and Gansey’s relationship develop. I loved (and hated) how tentative and guilt-ridden they were as they carefully left friendship behind and moved onto something more. There are moments of complete happiness, but they are always tempered by lingering fears and worries. They are the perfect couple, but they don’t get the perfect relationship, and though it broke my heart, it also made the story that much more real.
It’s impossible to describe how powerful the writing is. No longer is it just beautiful; now there is an energy to it that promises more secrets, more pain, more everything. Try to reread one scene and you’ll want to reread the entire book. (I know, it happened to me while writing this review.)
In closing, this is the kind of book that sucks you and and doesn’t let you go until the last page (and then only so that you can go pick up the next book).
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