Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Release date: October 21st, 2014
Series: Yes, #3 in The Raven Cycle
Length: 460 pages
Source: eARC via Netgalley
Rating: One does not simply try to apply a rating to a Raven Cycle book
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.
This is a spoiler-free review for the series and will mostly just be me flailing all over the place about how much I BLOODY FREAKING LOVE The Raven Cycle.
I'm a girl with a lot of fictional obsessions. There is no shortage of worlds and characters who drive me to all-caps distraction. It's easy to get me riled up about ships and boys and character dynamics and plot twists that rip out my heart. But The Raven Cycle--Maggie Stiefvater's glorious, dreamy, magical, heart-exploding creation--a scintillating, slow-paced, supernatural series of soul-crushing splendor--makes me go legitimately and fully rabid.
(Featured throughout this review are few non-spoilery excerpts of the multiple and ENDLESS gchats I have ongoing with my friends about these series, featuring fellow fangirls Gaby and Meg)
This series is not like any other series I've ever obsessed over. I definitely love dreamy, fantastical atmospheres. I am lulled and seduced sleepy, sensuous prose, and Maggie is the bonafide master of both of those techniques. But lyricism is not always the key to getting me full on invested, and yet Maggie Stiefvater is a weaver of dreams and an entangler of hearts, because she has created a world and a cast of characters that have entirely won me over. I am theirs. Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah--the ladies of 300 Fox Way--the Grey Man, newcomer Jesse Dittley, Matthew, Declan, and more--I AM THEIRS. They own me.
Yes, there is a living forest and prophecies of doom in this series. There is a magic as old as the land, and wishes and dreams and legends that breathe and nightmares that watch. But these books are anchored in the characters. All of the fantastical elements are born from them and revolve around them, and it is because of them that I go positively spazztastic about these books and scare everyone within a two-mile radius of me while reading them.
I want to hug every single person in this book and then make them hug each other and then I will just stare creepily at them hugging because all I want in the entire room is for them to be all together being happy and hugging (maybe making out a little) (okay a lot). I have not one, but TWO OTPs in this series, but honestly, it's the big messy knot of love that the entire unit of Raven Boys + Blue makes that just... I FLATLINE. These books make my soul cry. It's so beautiful I can barely look at it. I love these people, and I may die from it.
Seriously, every time any of the characters so much as make eye contact, my soul explodes. There is such beauty in every characterization and in every interpersonal dynamic, so watching them interact in any way--be it anything from saving another's life to giving someone a tin of hand cream--just does things to me. (Seriously, that hand cream is an enormous moment in world history. I had to put the Kindle down to recover.) When I think about these characters, I sort of want to rip my own heart out.
None of the books in the Raven Cycle are fast-paced, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue is probably the slowest, and I hardly even care. I still read it in one frenzied evening, full of terror at the fates that await my babies, laughing at every moment of glorious humor between them, crying for hand-cream and finger-tips-grazing and mint-in-mouth and Jesse-Dittley-related reasons. It is a feelstravaganza, and it's an organic one. I have NO. IDEA. what is happening, magic-wise, and BLLB is not chock-full of answers. It is an exquisite and extensively complicated set-up of a fourth chapter that is guaranteed to UTTERLY. ANNIHILATE ME. They said that 2012 was when the world could end, but no. No, I have APOCALYPSE scribbled on my 2015 calendar for October. AKA D-Day.
To quote Blue, I'm not crying. I just have, like, an eyelid in my eye. I will go to the doctor and he will ask why my heart is doing...whatever it is it's doing (an odd sort of spazzy Irish dance) and I will be forced to answer, "The Raven Cycle. Because Raven Cycle. That's why. There is no cure."
To finish up, here is some beautiful agony to go with your Monday:
But what she didn't realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn't all-encompassing, that wasn't blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now she'd had this kind, she didn't want the other.
By screeched, I mean "bellowed a vicious and unladylike obscenity and cursed the wicked god who allowed such tragedy to befall me". Because one does not simply deprive me of my Raven Boys.