One of my favorite series I’ve read in the last few years is the Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. The most recent of these is Blue Lily, Lily Blue. When it finally finally was available to read I knew that I wouldn’t get it from my library for several months, so I used a credit on Audible and got to read it a whole lot quicker. I’ve read some of Stiefvater’s books via eaudible versions and I really liked her Shiver Trilogy that way. While I really enjoyed the continuing adventures of the Raven Boys and Blue, since I read the first two books in hardcover I had the voices of the characters already set in my head and so the voices that the narrator, Will Patton, used were not my own and that threw me. I reconciled most of them except for his version of Blue which was really different than my own.
Summary from Amazon:
The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, number one New York Times best-selling 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.
I really enjoy the otherness of and strange mystical adventures in The Raven Cycle Series. Interestingly, while each book has sections from the perspective of all of the characters, I felt that The Raven Boys had a slight focus on Gansey, The Dream Thieves centered around Ronan’s abilities, and in Blue Lily, Lily Blue the core of the story revolved around Blue and her interactions with The Raven Boys as she falls madly in love with all of them. After being accused of being crazy for being in love with them all.
Orla wasn’t wrong, of course. But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.
What makes this book stand out from other Young Adult fiction is this all encompassing love for each other that the characters feel and live even as their lives are turned around and around with the mythical search Gansey is determined to solve and conquer and understand. Since they want that for him, that want it for themselves as well, and the unit stands firm against grey men and assassination attempts.
I also always enjoy the narrative based on the town of Henrietta, I can picture it perfectly because I can see the bits and pieces from the author’s home town, where I coincidentally also grew up, emerge on the scene and it is just a delight. For me, it gives the series a grounding that I haven’t felt in any other series, not even the ones about Chicago (which aren’t always accurate). But by making up a town while using parts from a real one, Stiefvater gives solid footing to an otherwise otherworldly story.
My favorite quote from the book, because it at once reminded me of where I grew up, made me laugh at its accuracy, and sad all at once for its truth was:
Blue had discovered that there were two distinct stereotypes for the rural population of her part of Virginia: the neighbors who loaned one another cups of sugar and knew everything about everyone, and the rednecks who stood on their porches with shotguns and shouted racist things when they got drunk. Because she grew up so thoroughly entrenched in the first group, she hadn’t believed in the second group until well into her teens. School had taught her that the two kinds were almost never born into the same litter.
The third installment of The Raven Boys Cycle continues to intrigue and mystify. While Stiefvater weaves a tale that is its own throughout the book, more mysteries are created than solved and pathways are taken that I never expected. I love this series for its characters, its setting, and its mythology. The interwoven roads are leading somewhere spectacular and I can’t wait to discover what the journey brings.
Some day I’m going to turn to some self righteous prick trying to talk above me and say, “Don’t you Richard Gansey the Third me.” And they will have no idea what I’m say, but I’ll just laugh to myself and enjoy my little inside joke.
Check out some really good fan art by shardsofmyheart on DeviantArt.