Advance Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

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Blue lily lily blue StiefvaterDo not start this book if you are unprepared to stay up late reading or have no way to carry it with you for obsessive reading in between whatever other tasks are taking up your time. The books in this series are very, very hard to put down.

Lily Blue, Blue Lily continues Maggie Stiefvater’s tale of a search for an ancient Welsh King sleeping in Virginia, the intense friendship between Blue and her Raven boys—Gansy, Ronan, Adam, and Noah—and the involvement of Blue’s family at 300 Fox Way. The seekers knows roughly where the king is now, asleep in the cave they found at the end of The Dream Thieves. They do not know how far in, however, or the route to take to reach him. They also need to find Blue’s mother, Maura, who disappeared into the cave. The quest is tense, emotional, and magical in a beautiful and demanding sense.

One flaw in this book is the villains. Where Colin Greenmantle loomed large in The Dream Thieves as a threatening background presence, here he is a bleached-out evil-because-evil figure with little motivation. His wife, Piper, is more vigorous, but spends much of the time in the background, usually seen through Colin’s eyes.

What makes the Raven Cycle compelling is the quest and the people on it. Stiefvater has borrowed from and expanded on Welsh tales to create a sleeping king, moved to Virginia to keep his grave from being desecrated, and as the cycle unfolds, the myth grows and deepens. The seekers begin to understand more about the ley line and their role in waking it, to discover how they are tied to the quest, and to learn more about the sleeping king and others who have come into contact with the line.

The friendship—the love—between the core group of Blue and the Raven Boys continues to evolve. Gansy is still an important figure in the group, the one who started them on the quest and who introduced them to one another, but there are now solid friendships and numerous interactions between other members of the group. Adam and Ronan are drawn together more in this book because of their relationship with Cabeswater and their roles of Magician and Dreamer.

Magic here is a complicated affair full of bargains, compromises, and decisions made on too little information and often on too little sleep. It is complicated, rough, and unpredictable. Being able to see into the future provides only a limited amount of guidance. The result, though, is not the eternal frustration of “Why are oracles always so unclear?” but a sense of how difficult it is to navigate through life. Glimpses of the future are promises, but as Mr. Gray reminds Blue, “A lot of promises get broken.”

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in the four book Raven Cycle; readers are strongly advised to read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves first. Much of the character background and mythological underpinnings are developed in those first two books. Also, reading them first gives you more time in the Raven universe, and that is worth having.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue comes out on October 21st.

Publication details
Published: October 21st 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
ISBN: 0545424968 (ISBN13: 9780545424967)

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