Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater, was published in 2014 by Scholastic. It is the sequel to The Dream Thieves.
Spoilers for the series.
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.
Let me start with what I enjoyed about Blue Lily. I adored Blue and Gansey’s burgeoning relationship, although I’m a little confused as to why they seem against pursuing it fully. Blue and Adam are no longer a thing, so why the hesitation? But I’m enjoying the “slow burn” because most YA series throw the love interests together at the beginning, not at (presumably) the end as Stiefvater seems to be aiming for (if Gansey doesn’t die, that is).
Adam is much less annoying, and Ronan is much less of a jerk, which is good. I’m still not overly fond of them as viewpoint characters, as they do tend to make the plot drag. I’m not against filler, but when you have almost an entire book of filler as with The Dream Thieves, and then another book that’s also a lot of filler as with Blue Lily, you (or at least I) want something to push the plot along, please. I do like the slow character development thing, but Stiefvater is not striking a very good balance between character development and plot progression, and so focusing on one means that the other one is stagnant sometimes.
The filler is actually one of the main problems I had with this book. At least towards the end it started to pick up some and Gansey and Co. finally made progress in finding Glendower. I can’t help but wonder if Stiefvater is trying to stretch the plot across four books, and if three could have sufficed. Besides that, I had two other problems with the book: the portrayal of the “villains of the week” and the ending, or to be more specific, the way Stiefvater ended the book.
First, I had a problem with Colin and Piper as characters. What I loved about The Raven Boys was the mixing of the real/normal/natural with the strange/supernatural. The Dream Thieves got progressively less of that as the supernatural started to pick up, and Blue Lily goes directly to strange town with the humorous characters like Jesse and especially the “villains,” Colin and Piper. Colin and Piper were strange; their thoughts were strange; their actions were strange. They just didn’t seem like real people to me. I got increasingly more and more annoyed at the way Stiefvater was using humor in association with them since it just didn’t fit for me (Stiefvater’s humor as a whole is a little strange, incorporated in strange places, and doesn’t often work). The ending with Piper and the rest in the cave was so strange it didn’t seem real. I miss that reality that we could see in The Raven Boys.
My second problem is that Stiefvater used the same gimmick she used in the first two books to end this one, the Wham Line. In the first book, it was amusing; in the second book, it was eye-rolling; and in this one, it was just exasperating. In addition, the other Wham Line she used was stuck right in the middle of a conversation and so the impact was considerably lessened.
I sincerely hope that The Raven King, presumably the last book, is a bit better in style and execution than Blue Lily. At least I know that there won’t be any filler. Hopefully.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
Warnings: Swearing, psychics, violence.
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Suddenly, Noah scrambled out from under the desk. He leapt to his feet. There was something wrong about the action, something about it that meant it was too fast or too vertical or too violent for a living boy to perform. And he kept going up, even after he’d already stood. As he stretched to the celling, the card that said reach, match, and safety hurtled into the air.
“Oh?” said Ms. Shiftlet. Her voice wasn’t even surprised, yet.
The warmth sucked from Blue’s skin. The water in Ms. Shiftlet’s glass creaked.
The business card holder upended. Cards splayed across the desk. A computer speaker fell onto its face. An array of paper swirled up. Someone’s family photo shot upward.