Blue Lily, Lily Blue: Events complicate themselves in the third instalment

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I’ll admit that the last book in this four-part series, The Dream Thieves, was difficult for me to get through — it wasn’t that I disliked the characters or the storyline, but the pacing was glacially slow and Maggie Stiefvater‘s prose is definitely an acquired taste. However, Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014) was an improvement; I could tell because after each reading session I was surprised by just how many chapters I’d churned through.

Here’s the gist of THE RAVEN CYCLE: Blue Sargent is a psychic’s daughter who has no gift of her own except the ability to amplify the gifts of others. Her whole life, she’s lived under the shadow of a prediction that states she’ll kill her own true love, one that she’s managed to avoid until meeting the Raven Boys. Named for the insignia of their prestigious private school, Richard Gansey, Adam Parrish, Ronan Lynch and Noah Czerny are as fascinated by Blue as she is with them, and soon enough she’s caught up in their inner circle.

All of them are driven by Gansey’s singular obsession: to find the resting place of the Welsh king Owen Glendower and (having done so) be granted a mystical boon from the long-dead man. Gansey is certain the burial place is somewhere in the small town of Henrietta, Virginia, and it’s become apparent in the previous books that the conjoining of ley-lines below the settlement has made it a magnet for preternatural occurrences.

And it’s becoming clear that everyone will have a part to play in the discovery of Glendower’s resting place: Blue’s capacity to intensify the gifts of others, Adam’s connection to the ley-line, Ronan’s ability to bring tangible objects out of dreams, even the connection between Noah and Gansey’s early deaths and resurrections — for the first time I got a sense of the web Stiefvater has woven between her characters, and how they’re now being definitively drawn together.

Beneath this central goal is a tangle of other subplots and character arcs, mostly involving Blue’s extended family and the recent disappearance of her mother. I’m glad I’m reading all these books in quick succession, as it’s quite a challenge to keep track of all these characters and their individual storylines.

As ever, the setting is one of the book’s best qualities, from the warmth and chaos of Blue’s home at 44 Fox Way to the mystical beauty of Cabeswater in the dense Virginian forests. Also noteworthy is Stiefvater’s unique prose, though it can get difficult at times to parse through the endless witty banter and retorts (not just in the dialogue, but the narrative itself) to understand what’s actually being said.

I’ve come this far; it’s time to see how things will end in the final book: The Raven King.

Published in 2014. The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater. 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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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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