“Blue Lily, Lily Blue” by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve pretty much hated the first two books in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series – I’m sure my review of book two, The Dream Thieves, makes my feelings pretty clear. I’ve also made it clear that, due to my loathing of them, but also my inability to leave a series unfinished, I wouldn’t be buying the third book until it was either on offer or very cheap. Yet, for whatever reason, when I was in Waterstone’s the other day, I decided to buy it. At £7.99. Full price! Why?! I blame it on the Christmas Shopping High; I just had to buy things, even if I didn’t particularly want them, such as this book. But I bought it – and I read it in a day and a half. It took me forever to get through the first two books because every time I put them down (which was often), I just didn’t want to pick them back up again. However, whenever I had to put down Blue Lily, Lily Blue, it was grudgingly and because I had to start work, never because I wanted to. And I always wanted to pick it up again. It’s safe to say that Blue Lily… has been the best book in the series so far.

Now, you may be thinking “Well, that’s not really saying much considering your thoughts on the previous books, is it?”, and that’s fair enough – I asked myself the same thing. And although I really didn’t like the first two, Blue Lily… has just about redeemed the whole series – that’s how good it was. For once, I don’t think that I have a bad thing to say about any of the characters; instead I actually found them almost likeable. Not only that, but I even felt that Blue was, at times, quite a relatable characters – especially when she was talking about being back at school. Perhaps I interpreted this as being more cynical than it was intended, but this passage here seems to really accurately describe how I was feeling at school last year, particularly towards the end:

“This was not Blue’s real life.

As she leaned against the wall outside the guidance counsellor’s office, she wondered when she would start to think of school as an important thing again. After an extraordinary summer full of chasing kings and disappearing mothers, it was hard to really, truly picture herself going to class every day. What would any of this matter in two years? Nobody here would remember her, or vice versa.”

Well, it’s accurate apart from the chasing kings/disappearing mothers, but the realisation that nobody will remember her really hit home with me, probably as I finished school back in March and have only seen about half a dozen of my classmates since then. And saying that school “felt like more of a dream than Cabeswater” is also very much how I felt at school (again, just without Cabeswater!), and reading this section of the book definitely made Blue seem a lot more real to me. And in a book which is constantly questioning dreams and reality, that’s certainly something.

I think this book was supposed to be more “Adam’s book” , but I found that it’s more equally distributed between them all; it didn’t focus on Adam as much as The Dream Thieves did on Ronan, which I believe is why I enjoyed this a lot more. It’s not so much that I really hate Adam, I’m just indifferent to him. It doesn’t matter much to me if he’s there or not, so this book could have been a huge disappointment to me if he had been more focal – that said, I did begin to kind of like him in this one. And I’m pretty confident that the reason for that is… Ronan. Blue Lily… has made me ship them so much (they’re more canon to me than Gansey and Blue), and I just really want them to get together or something – they just seem to work. There’s something about the pair of them that I love and I hope it’s developed in the next book. Speaking of romance and development, I much preferred Blue and Gansey’s relationship in this one than I have in the previous books. It didn’t seem quite as in your face as it has, and at times I actually thought they were quite sweet – so if we can hold onto that in the next one, I’ll be one happy person!

There seemed to be a lot more going on in this book, including a few moments which stunned me and left me wishing events had turned out differently (if you’ve read this, I’m sure you’ll know what in particular I’m referring to). There were slightly darker moments, there were sad moments, and there were most definitely humorous moments – in particular when Jesse Dittley was around! One of the quotes from Blue is going onto my bookcase of quotes, as it made me laugh: I mean, how often are you going to read “Are you trying to say I’m a better sort of ant?”?! It reminded me of myself; that’s probably the kind of thing I would say! Of course, it wasn’t just the funny quotes that I liked, it’s the serious ones too – the most notable one to me surprisingly comes from Adam, although it’s really only the last line I like, I’ll give the whole paragraph to provide a little more context:

“Maybe it was good that the world forgot every lesson, every good and bad memory, every triumph and failure, all of it dying with each generation. Perhaps this cultural amnesia spared them all. Perhaps if they remembered everything, hope would die instead.”

I find that last line to be beautiful, but almost haunting too. There’s something about it which really resonates and makes me think. I’m glad that the book isn’t all about throwing in little humorous remarks, or all about the sweet moments – that statement from Adam really rings true.

To round it all up, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m really glad that I’ve read it – and that’s not something I thought I’d say about any of these books! Even though I do still find Stiefvater’s writing a little pretentious at times, it wasn’t as obviously so as it has been in her other books, which I appreciated. I’m finding myself looking forward to the next book, but I think the reason I enjoyed Blue Lily, Lily Blue is because I didn’t have high expectations for it – perhaps I should keep it that way for the next one!

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