Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle 3) Review

Book: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Okay, since I haven’t reviewed this series of books for my blog before (I started my blog after I had read book 1 and book 2), I will give a brief rundown of the basic plot (but I will explain more as I go through). Basically it revolves around Blue Sargent (a girl from a family of psychics) who knows if she kisses her true love he will die. She sees the ghost of this boy at a church watch, and because she sees him she knows this is the not she’s going to kill. The boy is Richard Gansey III who is on quest to find an old welsh king Glendower, and along with his other friends from the elite private school Aglionby, Blue gets embroiled into this quest.

I didn’t like this book as much as the second one and it’s hard to put my finger on why. I guess it felt kind of fillery, since it’s the last one before they actually find Glendower in the final book, and I don’t know in places the book seemed a little slow and kind of lagging, although it did pick up towards the end. Compared to the previous book Dream Thieves this just didn’t seem quite as good. The plot was kind of muddled, there were random bits that didn’t seem to fit in, like Henry Cheng (a character introduced in the book) who didn’t seem to have much purpose although maybe he will in the next book. Also the court case with Adam’s dad and Adam (Adam is quite poor, he works to pay for Aglionby and I think he has a scholarship. He used to live in a caravan with his parents but his dad beat him really badly so now he lives in his own apartment above a church and was suing his dad), didn’t really fit, it only lasted one chapter and we never really got to find out what happened there.  I liked the Dream Thieves but it had been so long since I’d read it, and The Raven Boys that I found myself getting a little confused in places. I’m also not really sure what the point of that Greenmantle guy was, was he only there so his wife could help wake whatever was in the box in the cave? They didn’t even seem to make much progress in finding Glendower, so she’s going to have a lot of ground to cover in the next book. I’m hoping we see what was in that box in the next book.

I liked all the parts with Ronan and Adam in this book, they have a nice friendship going on and I do sense the possibility for more (at least as far as Ronan is concerned) with them even though I’m not sure Adam is interested in him in that way. These two seem to understand each other in a way that none of the other characters do and I liked that. If there was a romance between these two, and I don’t think there will be since there’s only one book left in the series, then I would be okay with it, quite happy even. Book two and three didn’t even seem to be that linked aside from the fact that Maura was missing, and she threw in some stuff with Blue’s dad but she didn’t really explore that relationship at all. Also I’m getting sort of tired of the back and forth between Gansey and Blue, they’re a cute enough couple but how many times can they almost kiss? At some point they are just going to have to rip off the band aid and do it and see what happens. After all we don’t know that it’s Blue’s kiss that’s going to kill Gansey, it could be something else. I also don’t really understand Blue’s powers, it’s said she’s a “mirror” and that she can amplify other people’s powers but Stiefvater doesn’t really explain how it works, almost expecting us to know, and I hope she will in the next book. I also liked that Blue and Ronan’s relationship was explored a little more in this book, because it certain ways they are quite similar, and I hope this continues more into the next book.

I felt like Noah was kind of a third wheel (or should that really be fifth since there are five of them?) in this book. I mean I know he’s dead and everything (he was murdered on a hunt for the ley line years ago, so he’s a ghost, his life was exchanged for Gansey’s who was dying at the same time-it’s quite complicated) but it just seemed like he popped up occasionally for no real purpose and then went away again, so I hope he has more of a purpose in the next book. I also don’t get what was with the tapestry with the women with Blue’s faces on it, so I hope that gets explained too. Steifvater’s writing is as always beautiful, there’s not really much you can find wrong with the way she writes, her descriptions are beautiful, and you really get a clear picture in your head of what’s going on.

Whereas the first book had Blue as the primary protagonist and the second had Ronan, this was much more of an ensemble, multiple POV type book which I don’t mind, when done well multiple POVs can be really good, but in this it just felt too jumpy and difficult to follow.

It was good to see Roger Malory (Gansey’s mentor) and all his little personalities quirks but again, I didn’t really see his point in this book either as he didn’t seem to do all that much, although maybe he will have a bigger role in the final book I’m not sure (it seems like I’m saying that a lot in this review!). The one character I did like who was introduced in this book was Jesse Dittley, the owner of the land which a cave they search for Glendower in is on. I loved the way that his big booming voice was emphasised with all his sentences in capitals and he just seemed like a genuinely nice character, and I enjoyed reading about him so I was quite sad with how his story turned out.

Also there was a death of a supposedly major character in this book, yet I felt more at the death of a character that had only just been introduced than at this one because there was barely enough of her in the books to form any sort of emotional bond to her. I also didn’t like that the book was quite repetitive-how many times does it need to be mentioned that Blue is short or that she eats yogurt or them asking if they really know someone or not, we don’t need to have these things repeated ten million times!

Greenmantle as a villian was very disappointing since he was a bit pathetic, being scared off by blackmail from some teenage boys and then running away at the first sign of danger. His wife Piper was better at being evil, but I just found their chapters quite boring and would be easy to skip if I was the sort to do that. I also find that considering Blue is supposed to be the main character, I prefer all of the boys over her. I think I might have liked this book better if it had been from her POV (I know that sounds strange when I just said I didn’t like her much!) so that I could really get inside her head a bit more and maybe understand her a little better.

The one thing they do find in this book is Glendower’s daughter Gwenllian. She was hands down the most annoying character in the book. She was always singing random things and not really doing anything to heel them and she just…..ugh annoyed me. Again I didn’t really see the point of her being there, because she doesn’t really do anything in this book, but since she’s Glendower’s daughter, she’ll probably have a bigger role in the next one. It’s a small thing, but I wish we had been told how her name is meant to be pronounced because it irks me that I don’t know how to pronounce it properly.

Adam’s character also gets developed more in this book which was nice, it was good to see him finally letting go of the whole proud thing and letting his friends help him and it was nice to see him growing into his role of helping Cabeswater (he made a bargain with this magical forest that is on a ley line-a line of energy basically, that he would do it’s work for it) and really making a contribution to the group. I also like that he’s not so obsessed with Blue now, as I said earlier, I would be quite pleased if Maggie expanded on Ronan and Adam’s relationship.

I do like that different combinations of characters in the group are all explored because it gives you a better idea of their relationships, in this book we had Blue/Gansey, Ronan/Adam, Adam/Gansey, Blue/Noah, Adam/Blue, Adam/Blue/Noah, Adam/Gansey/Ronan, and of course all of them together, but it’s nice to see them apart from the group and their interactions with each other when it’s not the five of them.

We also have an idea of what the quest entails now, with the three sleepers, one not to be woken, one to be woken and then the other one. The one not to be woken is the weird thing Piper and Neeve woke at the end of the book, I presume that the one to be woken is Glendower but I really want to know who the middle sleeper is and what’s going to happen there!

There’s much else I really have to say about it, since not all that much happened, I still love Ronan, I like Adam more, Blue was more awesome in this book but she’s still not my fave and I like Gansey but I don’t want to get to attached since I know he’s going to die. This book definitely suffers from “second book syndrome” which doesn’t really make sense since this is the third book of four, but what I mean is it’s like the middle book of a trilogy, which you have to go through to get to the finale but it’s not got all that much substance, the excitement is all being saved for the last book. I hope that’s what’s happening here because I like this book series and I want the last one to be truly amazing.

Don’t my not so good review of this book put you off the series though, it’s a good series with good, well thought out, believable characters and it is definitely well worth a read, if only for the fact that it’s a pretty unique series and I’m not sure where else you’d find one like this, I thoroughly recommend The Raven Boys (but for slightly older teenagers because there’s a lot of language and dark stuff in them) to anyone who likes magic and mystery in a story. I cannot wait to read the last book in this series and I hope it ties everything up in a satisfactory way (and that it’s slightly faster paced than this one).

On a final note, to anyone who’s read the book, who wishes that the murder squash song was real and that we could find the lyrics/hear it. I loved that song and how obsessed Ronan was with it because it showed his lighter, slightly more humourous side, also how it annoyed Gansey, it was hilarious!

My Rating: 3/5

The next book I will be reviewing is Stone Cold, the seventh book in the Young a Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane (it will be a while longer before it’s up though as I’m not that far through yet!)