Blue Lily, Lily Blue
(The Raven Cycle, Book Three)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Story Rating: 4 Stars
Performance Rating: 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars
*Series spoilers ahead*
*Breathes heavily* Oh my god, it’s happening. BOOK THREE. IT’S GOIN’ DOWN. I’M FREAKING OUT.
I’m in so deep now. A book series hasn’t excited me this much since The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. These Raven Cycle reviews are quickly becoming less constructive and more of just me fangirling for several paragraphs, so I’m apologizing now. Remember my first review of The Raven Boys when I said it was just a “fun listen?” I was so cute. So naive. It was a simpler time.
In this third installment of The Raven Cycle, our favorite characters are a little more scattered than before, both literally and metaphorically. Maura Sargent, for example, is deep underground in a freaking cave tunnel while Blue and her psychic family desperately search for clues about her disappearance. When they come up empty handed, everyone is feeling the stress and emotions run high at 300 Fox Way.
Meanwhile, Gansey and Adam have made amends from their explosive fight in the last novel, but their niceties are only on the surface. Gansey is falling for Blue fast despite his efforts to fight it. As the leader, he doesn’t want to show favoritism and definitely doesn’t want to hurt Adam, but his heart has other ideas. Similarly, Blue is head over heels for Gansey and the misery of knowing his impending doom is really starting to kick in. With that and her missing mother, Blue has definitely had better days. Adam is busy working (as usual) and learning to communicate better with Cabeswater with the help of Persephone, while Ronan tries to find a way to keep dream things alive on their own. Not only would this help Ronan’s mother, but he also wants to cover his bases in case anything ever happens to him in the future. With Adam and Gansey still (kind of) on the outs, and Blue and Gansey’s secret sort-of relationship, Ronan and Adam get pushed together a little more—growing closer than they were before. All the while, poor Noah is slowly going off the wall and Blue is even forced to shut off her energy from him to avoid disaster.
As all this goes on, the Aglionby boys get a new Latin teacher who is none other than Colin Greenmantle—the Gray Man’s brother and former pissed off employer. After not getting the Graywaren like he wanted in Dream Thieves, Colin and his annoyingly basic wife Piper decide to move in and do a little digging. Once the Gray Man knows they’re in town, he confronts his brother to try and get him to leave, but it only ends with Colin threatening to kill everyone Mr. Gray loves if he doesn’t produce the Graywaren soon. With Ronan’s dreaming abilities, Adam’s smarts, and Mr. Gray’s muscle, they come up with a plan to drive them out of town, but not before Piper starts sniffing around the ley line…
None of this drama puts a halt on the search for Glendower or Maura, and the raven gang starts exploring the caves of Cabeswater to find them. When they hit a dead end, it’s obvious that they need another entrance to the underground tunnels, which is how they meet Jesse Dittley. He’s a man who happens to have a house right next to a cursed cave and it’s the missing puzzle piece—the very thing they needed to get inside the underground tunnels with Maura and the “three sleepers.” The whole book, Blue’s psychic family warns them about these “three sleepers” who are underground for them to find and wake. Or NOT wake…
“Also, rabbits, remember there’s more than one sleeper,” Calla pointed out. “Three of them. One is for you to wake, and one is for you to not wake.”
Well y’all, guess who gets WOKE.
Everything that we love about the first two novels returns for the third installment and at this point in my devotion, a good review was pretty much guaranteed. The slow build of the Blusey (I’m part of the fandom now, so get ready for the lingo) relationship is soooooo good and I love watching their little stolen moments. I also felt the tiny shift between Ronan and Adam and I am TOTALLY HERE FOR IT. Those two are my favorite characters and seeing them together is like double the happiness for me. Both romances are subdued and take a back seat to the Glendower adventure—an aspect I really love about this series. There’s no need to overstate or dramatize their relationships and I think that somehow adds to the magic of it.
And speaking of magic, despite this being categorized as a fantasy and one of the minor characters having hooves for feet, it feels real. I feel like I could drive five hours north to Henrietta, find the psychic hotline in the phonebook (those still exist right?), or look up Aglionby academy online. Even though Ronan is pulling magical stuff out of thin air, Adam can speak to a forest, and Gansey is ordering around giant herds of magical elk, the emotions are so vivid I can taste them. Stiefvater’s writing is beautiful and somehow manages to make the impossible seem possible.
Oh! And of course, Will Patton is amazing and rules the world.
The only negative thing I have to say about this third installment is that it felt transitional to me. Despite being part of the same series, both The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves had unique stories that stand out in my mind separately. This one, however, seemed to lean more on it’s predecessor in terms of plot and was just one giant build up to The Raven King. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing book and I still loved every second. I just know that in the future when I think of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I’m probably going to mush it together with The Raven King. It’s like when I think of the Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare and the fourth and fifth books (City of Lost Angels and City of Lost Souls) sort of blur into one giant novel. Know what I mean? No? I’m talking to myself now?? Okay moving on…
YES. DO IT. SO GOOD. NO TIME TO TALK, GOTTA GO READ RAVEN KING.