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Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater

Are you sensing a theme yet?

I wrote my review for The Dream Thieves over a week ago and have just discovered a massive typo, where instead of saying ‘the Raven Boys’ I somehow wrote ‘the Raven Bus’ which made for a totally different sentence. Now I know how Maggie feels! (She wrote on twitter that there is a glaring typo in The Raven King and it’s driving her crazy.)

If you can’t tell already, I am pretty excited for the release of The Raven King in a couple of weeks, these reviews are my way of gearing up for the launch and recapping the series =].

bluelilyBlue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in the Raven Cycle series:

“For the first time in her life, Blue Sargent has found a place where she feels at home. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own and she is sure that this is where she belongs. But certainties can unravel. Visions can mislead. And friends can betray. The trick with found things is how easily they can be lost…”

If you’re new to this party let me just reiterate: I truly dislike these blurbs. They seem to have no real baring on the plot. They make accusations they cannot back up. And they tell downright porkies. ‘The trick with found things is how easily they can be lost’; what is this referring to? I’ve read this book 3 times and I have no idea what this is referring to, so please, somebody tell me?

Skipping away from the complete failure that is the blurb, the third installment in this series, is, in my opinion, the best book in the series (so far). The characters are all established enough to not need constant reminders of who they are or how they think, just natural flow of the writing. New characters are introduced, all of them slightly eccentric, intent to disrupt the plot and generally cause havoc in small town Virginia, while never instigating a needless love triangle, which is very important in my opinion. My favourite of these, though he contributes little to the main plot, is The Dog. I love how Stiefvater purposefully doesn’t name certain things, or creatively names others. The dog is simply The Dog. It was hired by Mallory to act as a guide dog and has very little emotional impact on any of the Gangsey, so is merely referred to as The Dog. While the rental car in the previous book took on many names, all alluding to the same thing. ‘Champagne Nightmare’ was a highlight.

This is what I love about Stiefvater’s writing style. She has such a way with words that transports the reader to far off lands and into the heads of multiple characters, with a seamless blend of the everyday and the magical. Not one of these chapters is headed “Gansey” or “Ronan” but you know who is narrating simply by the language used. As another famous author lady once said: “Words are out most inexhaustible source of magic.” and Stiefvater is a true wizard in that respect. While this is true of the book (and the series) as a whole, one particular scene stands out. Without giving too much away, it’s a pivotal scene in the development of Adam as a character and centers around an aspect of his family life that has been mentioned in the previous books. It’s a time when Adam, wounded, proud, fiercely independent Adam, realizes that his friends are actually there for him, will always be there for him and that asking for help is not a weakness. This scene moved me to tears more than once. It’s beautifully written, expertly executed and deals with a sensitive subject in a real and believable way. If you’ve read the book you’ll know what I mean, if you haven’t, why are you not reading that instead? These books are about friendships more than romantic relationships, and at times like this, that theme shines bright.

While this is essentially a book about magic, (Ghosts, ley lines, curses etc) there is still the usual ‘everyday’ evil that normal human people encounter and it is dealt with in an ‘everyday’ way. There would always be a temptation in a book like this, to have the common street mugger (a made up example not a spoiler) be bought to justice by some magical being or walking into Cabeswater and never coming out, but that would imply that things such as these need a magical resolution. The fact that even in a world where magic exists, things like this are resolved through police and courts is actually inspirational and a welcome change to the old formula.

If you hadn’t already guessed, I love this book and I think everyone should read this series.

5/5 Stars. *****

 

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