Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Classification: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Series: The Raven Cycle
Format: Hardcover; 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 21, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0545424968
ISBN-13: 978-0545424967
Author's Website:  
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher.

“I see things.” Adam’s eyebrows formed either concentration or uncertainty. “More than one thing. It’s like — like the animals at the Barns. I see things … sleeping.” 

“Dreaming,” Persephone agreed. 

As soon as he’d called her attention to the sleepers, they came to the forefront of her consciousness. 

“Three,” she added. 

“Three what?” 

“Three in particular,” she murmured. “To be woken. Oh, no. No. Two. One should not be woken.”

For years Gansey has been putting together his motley crew while searching for the ever elusive Glendower. Now beneath a mountain in a cave, the presence of three sleeping entities have been sensed. Could one be the man they seek? If so, who are the other two and why should one not be woken? If the wrong one does awake, what will happen?

One thing is finally clear--Gansey and his friends are a part of something big and Blue is right in the middle of it all.

“Queens and kings 
Kings and queens 
Blue lily, lily blue 
Crowns and birds 
Swords and things 
Blue lily, lily blue”

This is the third book of the Raven Cycle series, and I HIGHLY recommend you read the previous books. Each book builds upon the other, and if you don't read its predecessor, you'll be missing out on some pertinent information and facts. What I love about Ms. Stiefvater's books is, that by reading one of her stories, it's like entering into another world or another dimension of our own that you seldom wish to leave. They say a picture can paint a thousand words, likewise, a good book can generate a thousand pictures and make you feel as though you've entered another realm and that is exactly what Maggie manages to do.

Besides the phenomenal world building, Ms. Stiefvater's books make you think and consider everything that she throws your way, as well what she leaves out. She doesn't spoon feed the reader or the characters the answers, and they have to puzzle out what everything means or suggests. This, in my humble opinion, is a magical device that pulls the reader into the story and makes it appear interactive. I admit, however, there are some readers who prefer to sit back and let the author do all the work, and if that's the kind of book you prefer, this might not be the book for you. For you there are plenty of books out there that will let you veg out for several hours while you read. This one however will bring out your creative nature while stimulating your mind. So beware.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it is told in the style of the old fairy tales with a bit of the hero's journey added in, and the flavor of a coming of age story. Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue are attempting to find "Owain Glyndr — Owen Glendower to non-Welsh speakers — a medieval Welsh noble, who had fought against the English for Welsh freedom and then, when capture seemed inevitable, disappeared from the island and from history altogether." Glendower is rumored to have had some magical abilities such as the power of invisibility, but that is not why Gansey is so obsessed with the ancient noble. Seven years ago Gansey should have died, but didn't. He was and is deathly allergic to bee/wasp stings and one day he literally stumbled upon a nest and was stung repeatedly. Instead of dying, which should have happened shortly thereafter, he heard a voice which stated, ‘You will live because of Glendower. Someone else on the ley line is dying when they should not, and so you will live when you should not.’ Gansey believes Glendower will grant a favor to whoever wakes him and that he was saved so he could wake the ancient warrior. This is his quest and by association that of his friends'.

The fairy tale portion comes into play via a few routes. First, you have Blue who comes from a line of psychics who has been told by, not one, but many psychics that if she kisses her true love, he'll die. Secondly, you have Cabeswater--a seemingly timeless, mystical, and magical place that exists upon the ley lines and at times disappears. It seems to exist outside our world with seasons that can differ from our own, has trees that can talk, and can alter its appearance depending on what it wants revealed or found. At times it appears to be a living entity. Lastly, we have Ronan, who isn't an average person; he's a Greywaren. He can take items out of dreams and make them real.

This book starts up almost a month from where The Dream Thieves leaves off. Maura, Blue's mom, has gone off in search of Blue's father and everyone is beginning to worry. With all that has gone on and Blue's senior year starting, they're wondering whether or not they should start looking for her for surely she wouldn't miss Blue's graduation.

With each book in the series we learn something new and significant about one or more of the friends Gansey has surrounded himself with. At one point, Gansey said that with each person who was added to his inner circle he felt a sense of rightness about it. Well, with this book there seems to be no doubt that each will play an important role in whatever will transpire, but now it's beginning to look like each was fated to do so. In this book we find out Blue, just as Ronan in the previous book, is more involved in everything than anyone could ever have imagined. We'll find out exactly who her father is and how he is connected to everything thereby connecting Blue. With what we learn in this book, I can't help but think that Blue may be the key to waking Glendower.

Besides learning more about Blue and her powers, we're also starting to learn more about Adam's connection to Cabeswater. I've been wondering since he made the deal to be its hands and eyes just what he'd gotten himself into, and we're slowly starting to see what that bargain entails. Originally I thought it was a foolish thing to agree to, but now I'm not so sure. While Ms. Stiefvater is no doubt holding information back, she's throwing us lots of breadcrumbs which keep us, the readers, fully engaged and wondering what will happen next.

Additionally, we finally meet the elusive Colin Greenmantle and he is nothing like I expected him to be. He's the man who hired Mr. Gray in the previous book to get the Graywaren. We're also introduced to several new characters including Greenmantle's wife, and I look forward to seeing how they'll effect things. Some seemed destined to shake things up.

I confess that I adore this series and couldn't help but give this book 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I expect great things from Ms. Stiefvater's books, and she never seems to let me down. I adore the intricate web that the author is weaving, and I am totally ensnared. I am curious as to how this tale will end, but I'm nowhere near ready for it to be over. *Sniff* What's exciting is that we're finally starting to see some of the visions from the first book come to fruition, so it truly does feel like we're seeing the beginning of the end. FYI, this one ends in a cliffhanger and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.

Order of the Series:

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