I am really burning through The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater! I’ve already downloaded The Raven King and as soon as I finish listening to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff I’ll be getting stuck into the series finale.
TL;DR Gansey is still looking for Glendower, Adam is still proud, Ronan is still angry, and Blue is still independent. Maura is missing, the Grey Man is back and his boss, Greenmantle, is on the hunt for the Greywarren (now aware that it is a who and not a what).
At the end of The Dream Thieves, Maura left a note for Blue to say she was going looking for Artemus – Blue’s father, who disappeared while Maura was pregnant and hasn’t been seen since. Now Maura is missing too, underground in the caves beneath Cabeswater.
Persephone is still helping Adam to master his powers and strengthen the ley line. His bargain with Cabeswater is effecting him more and more, making him darker and moodier, although he has learnt how to interpret its attempts at communication, which are often terrifying manifestations and visions.
“For so long, he’d wanted Gansey to see him as an equal, but it was possible that all this time, the only person who needed to see that was Adam.”
Ronan is still trying to figure out a way to save his mother, and all the other dream things that fell to sleep when his father died. He’s getting closer, his mother is now living in Cabeswater, where she seems to function again. Unfortunately, his dreams are encroaching more and more on his daily life, forcing him to sleep in his car rather than endanger Gansey by dreaming up a hornets’ nest inside Monmouth.
“Ronan was angry-every one of his emotions that wasn’t happiness was anger.”
Ronan and Adam spend a lot more time together in this book, working together on secret plans and using their connections to Cabeswater to try and fix the problems that the gang are battling – namely Greenmantle and his obsession with the Greywarren.
“They regarded each other. Adam fair and cautious, Ronan dark and incendiary. This was Ronan at his most truthful.”
Blue and Gansey’s relationship develops really nicely in this book, they continue to grow closer despite the obvious barriers – the fact that Gansey will die within twelve months and Blue will kill her true love if she kisses him. So, small, surmountable obstacles then.
“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.”
Colin Greenmantle and his wife, Piper, are absolutely brilliant villains – funny, snarky and completely immoral. Colin replaces the baddie from book one, Barrington Whelk, as the boys’ Latin teacher at Aglionby, which leads to some hilarious exchanges between Colin and Ronan in Latin. Piper is a fabulously self-serving, sharp-tongued, blonde bombshell with a seriously dysfunctional moral compass. Their relationship is just fascinating, I don’t think I’ve ever loved a couple of villains as much as the Greenmantles.
“She drifted towards the bedroom, on her way to have a bath or take a nap or start a war.”
The other star of this book is Jesse Dittley, a man who’s family farmhouse sits on top of a cave they suspect Glendower might be buried in. As it turns out, the caves are cursed and eventually kill every member of Dittley’s family, including his father and grandfather. He finds Blue’s short stature fascinating and seems to be permanently shouting.
“I AM JESSE DITTLEY. DID YOU NEVER EAT YOUR GREENS?”
We also get to know Malory, Gansey’s British friend, much more in this book. He travels over to Henrietta, accompanied by his emotional support dog, and helps the gang find the caves where the believe Glendower to be hidden.
“Malory, unhopeful: “I don’t suppose you have any tea?”
Jesse: “DO YOU WANT EARL GREY OR DARJEELING?”
Malory: “Oh, sweet heavens!””
I listened to Blue Lily, Lily Blue in two days (I was doing a lot of decorating and gardening due to us moving house next month) and I enjoyed it slightly more than The Dream Thieves. There are a couple of songs in this book, one being the moody and traditional Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the other being the catchy and annoying Murder Squash. I love the layers of art in these books, Maggie Stiefvater is a musician as well as a writer and always creates music for her books – one of the treats of listening to the audio books is not only hearing these songs aloud, but hearing Maggie playing her own music at the beginning and end of each book.
One of my favourite things about The Raven Cycle is the slow development of romantic relationships. The obvious one is Blue and Gansey, who aren’t able to be together because of the aforementioned curses, but also because they don’t want to hurt Adam, who liked Blue first. In this book we finally start to see some hint of romance between Ronan and Adam (that might be a spoiler if you know literally nothing about The Raven Cycle, but if you spend any time at all online – especially Tumblr – then you’ll already know, as I did, that they get together).
It’s been hinted at very subtly throughout the series that Ronan is gay – by subtly, I mean it’s not openly stated and he isn’t constantly eyeing up guys, it is suggested that he feels something stronger than friendship for Gansey in the beginning, but that feeling is obviously not reciprocated. It isn’t at any point (that I noticed) suggested that Adam is gay, or bisexual, until this book, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops in The Raven King.
I gave Blue Lily, Lily Blue 4.5 stars, because it was a more gripping read than The Dream Thieves and had less elements I wasn’t a fan of – if anything, the only thing I didn’t love was Malory, I’m not sure his presence really added anything to the story. The tension and suspense is still present in this book, and I am dying to seeing how it all pans out in the final book.
Have you read The Raven Cycle? Which of the four books was your favourite? I’ve seen online that a lot of readers weren’t happy with the finale so I’m slightly apprehensive, but I really need to see what happens to these characters now, I’m so invested!
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