Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Cover art for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, featuring the green- and blue-toned silhouette of a girl surrounded by flowers and vines.
So, Jenny was all, “When are you going to write about BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE???” And I was like, “I dunno, dude. I just haven’t felt like writing about books lately.”

I blame winter. Winter sucks the joy out of everything.

Not out of BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, though. BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE gave me much joy and a fair measure of heartache, and I really do want to share that experience with y’all. I just... don’t have a review in me.

I do have some generalized rambling in me, though, so this is me making a list of stuff I thought about while I devoured the book. Said book is the third in a series and so arbitrarily exempt from the need for a summary, but if you’re new to the Raven Cycle and want to know what the whole thing is about, I suggest you peruse my (sort of a proper) review of THE RAVEN BOYS.

Okay. List.

  • Mitsubishi is an adorable word. If you’ve read my Murchie Plus Books posts over the last few weeks, you know I revisited the first two books on audio before I tackled this one in the same format. (My library has only just processed their prit copies, and I finished the book a couple weeks back. Oh, library.) This experience taught me to appreciate “Mitsubishi” as a painfully adorable word and, I daresay, as a state of mind.

  • Adam’s reactions are the best. The moment we learned Adam was Ronan’s second secret, I braced myself for this stereotypical southern dude moment between them. You know the one I mean. Adam figures out Ronan likes him; Adam freaks out and probably shouts a whole bunch of really hurtful things; their relationship sours.

    But instead, Adam’s just like, “Huh? Me? That’s so weird. Because it’s me, I mean, not because I’m a dude and so is he.” And they don’t talk about it, so nothing hurtful gets said, and they keep on doing awesome magical stuff together, and it just made me grin like an idiot, okay?

    Also, I kind of love that Adam’s able to pick up on it in the first place. We don’t get Ronan’s POV in this book, so it’s tough to say what his intentions actually are, but I get the sense he makes this decision to just go ahead and be more obvious about his fondness for Adam because of the whole not-telling-lies thing. Then again, it’s equally appealing to think that Ronan does believe he’s being subtle about it but he fails miserably in that objective because he's not used to being subtle about anything. Either way, I’m happy.

  • Adam just makes me happy, full-stop. Or he makes me sad because I feel so many things for him, which also makes me happy because I love feeling terrible for fictional characters. (Emotional masochist, me.) He tries so hard to sort out who he is, and to be someone he wants to be, and to connect with his friends in the face of everything that’s happened to him, and to deal with the trauma his father inflicted, and I just... I just...

    I have a lot of Adam feels. Like, a lot. Whenever the Raven Cycle moves me to tears, you can bet Adam’s at the heart of it.

    I know I just said he has the best reactions, but the way he reacts to his father's abuse isn't the best at all. It's terrible and horrible and I want only good things for Adam going forward. ONLY GOOD THINGS, DO YOU HEAR ME???

    Yeah, I know. Dream on.

  • I really missed Ronan’s POV. Ronan is, like, right on the edge of a place on my (Highly Exclusive) List of Favourite Literary Characters. And I mean, it’s fascinating to see him through other peoples’ eyes, but I loved being inside his head during THE DREAM THIEVES. I was hoping this book would give me no choice but to add him to the List--but then he never spoke for himself and I felt unable to judge whether I should take that final leap with him. Sigh.

    But you know what? It’s my list, and I'm the one who gets to gauge whether I've seen enough of a character to decide whether I love the hell out of them, and I love the hell out of Ronan Lynch even when he's not front and centre. So he's in.

    This mucks up my mildly pleasing first letter dynamic (until just now, I had three F-named characters, three M-named characters, and one each who started with J and K1), but I can live with that.

  • Blue! I’ve rambled on about dudes, so I feel compelled to say how much I love Blue. She may not be List material, but very few characters are. (I’m so fucking picky about who and what I’ll add to favourites lists. Y’all don’t even know.) I absolutely love how she tries to be quirky but generally fails because she’s so durned sensible at heart. I love the dynamic she has with everyone else at 300 Fox Way. I love her friendship with Noah. I love how she bounces off Jessie Didley. I love how much she loves dogs, and how willing she is to be friends with every single dog she meets. I love the lengths she'll go to to save the people she loves. I love that she and Mr Gray genuinely like one another. I love what she learns about her own abilities, both magical and otherwise. I love that she takes the initiative in all things.

    I just love Blue, plain and simple.

  • Noah! I feel like I didn’t fully appreciate Noah the first time I read these books. Now I’m like, what the hell was wrong with Past Memory? Noah is so great, and so damaged, and so... Noah. You know?

  • Dear Mr Gray: when did I get this attached to you??? There was this part where I thought Mr Gray had died, and I sort of missed the actual event because that happens sometimes when you listen to books instead of reading them for yourself, and I was devastated but also hopeful that I’d missed it because it hadn’t actually happened. And this was indeed the case, and I rejoiced.

    Until the next time it appeared to happen.

  • So, how ‘bout that Greenmantle? Part of me was sad our theories about Greenmantle weren’t correct (even though they were mostly everyone else's theories; I kind of forgot who Greenmantle was until we began discussing the books), but the rest of me was like, “Wow! Evil, ruthless dude!”

    If you’re gonna have a villain, they ought to be evil and ruthless. Right?

    Then things with Greenmantle take this awesome, unexpected turn that just bucks about a million stereotypes and tropes, and I’m so happy with it, y’all.

    You know, aside from how very upset I am with how much it’s gonna screw Our Heroes over.

  • There’s, like, magic and shit. There’s been magic all along, of course, what with the psychics and Cabeswater and Ronan’s dream powers and the whole search for the sleeping king, but I feel like it really ramped up in this volume. Which, given the magical content in the previous two books, is saying something.

  • Families! I adore how integral family is to this whole shebang. Blue’s large and ever-shifting family supports her and frustrates her in equal measure; Ronan’s family is ripped apart and reformed; Gansey’s family provides him with certain advantages and hang-ups; Adam leaves his birth family; Mr Gray’s family shapes him into something dark and strange. And the wider story smushes them all together until they’re a family in their own right; a family that sometimes stretches to accommodate older bonds and sometimes replaces them.

    Don’t y’all even get me started on how much I love fictional families, particularly chosen families. We’ll be here all night.

Is that enough? It doesn’t feel like enough, but I worry I’ll stray into spoilerific territory if I take this any further. Hell, I might be there already, depending on where you stand on certain issues, and if that’s the case I apologize most heartily.

Read these books, please. Then come gush with me, either here or on Twitter.

Links

While I always advocate your local library as the absolute best source for books, I recognize this may not be an option for everyone where every book is concerned. If you're in search of another way to read BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, you can try:

I receive a small percentage of the purchase price if you buy the book through Kobo, The Book Depository, Amazon, or Audible. I get an extra month of Scribd if you sign up for a two-month free trial.


  1. The Fs: Felix Harrowgate; FitzChivalry Farseer; the Fool.

    The Ms: Mildmay Foxe; Malta Vestrit/Haven/Khuprus; Mat Cauthon.

    The others: Jean Tannen; Kate Bishop; Ronan Lynch (duh).

6 comments:

  1. Yes to all of the things above! Particularly your commentary on Adam, whom I also love. And Ronan. I too have a list of favorite characters and am SUPER picky about who goes on there, so I understand :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One cannot add just anyone to one's list of favourite literary characters. It wouldn't be proper.

      Delete
  2. I too love that Adam picks up on the Ronan thing. I like it that we are always being told that Adam is super super smart, and we also get to see him being super smart. Gansey and Ronan's faith in his brains is not misplaced. Adam's book-smart, and he's intuitive-smart as well -- which is why he's the only one to notice Ronan's crush on him, and the only one to figure out that one of them was on Blue's mother's list. But also OH GOD when Ronan hands off problems to Adam because he knows Adam can handle it, that is the best. Oh, except, the actual best is when Ronan and Adam do magic together (not a euphemism). Except the actual REAL best will be when they do magic together and it is a euphemism look, I am talking about them kissing, when that happens it will be the real, actual best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I waffle on for ages without saying much of anything, and you come into my comments speaking truth and being articulate and concise. I bow to you, madame.

      Delete
  3. Heh, I just ended up doing a list too, though it was more reactions than coherent thoughts. Love this so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes, a list is the only way to go!

      Delete