Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by [Stiefvater, Maggie]
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Blue and her Raven Boys are still searching for a long-dead Welsh king, but along the way they’ve found strength in their friendship, a mystical forest that protects 2 out of the 4 of them, and they’ve discovered their own strange abilities. They’re also braving incredible dangers like an uncontrollable ley line, the boss of the assassin who killed Niall Lynch and is after the Greywaren, and cursed caves. The pyschics of 300 Fox Way are trying to help guide them, but with Maura missing and so many things about the Raven Boys fate unclear, it’s almost impossible to untangle what is going on in Henrietta.

 

In Blue Lily, Blue and Gansey’s budding romance continues to bud. They can’t admit to each other that they may like each other because 1) let’s not forget Blue is cursed and 2) they don’t want to hurt Adam. This was probably the most emotional part of the novel, because it’s not hard to see how badly they want to be together, and we already know that Gansey is going to die. It’s impossible not to empathize with Blue’s panic any time she sees Gansey in his Aglionby shirt.

Robert Parrish wanders into Adam’s apartment before the hearing, and that was terrifying. It’s been impossible to forget the night we last saw Adam’s dad (in the first book). He’s volatile and hard to predict. His hatred for his son comes from fear and jealousy of what his son’s becoming. Mr. Parrish is tired of his son thinking he’s better than the rest of his family, but what’s really sad is Adam doesn’t believe that. In fact, his worst fear is that he is just like his father; angry and destined for nothing more than living in the same small trailer for the rest of his life.

Adam finally learns in this book that not all help is charity. He can’t do everything by himself. That’s something that he finds in his work with Persephone. An extremely powerful ley line, a magical entity with a mind of its own, cannot physically move items blocking its flow of power. It needs Adam to do that, and Adam needs Persephone to teach him how to communicate with Cabeswater. He’s grown so much, that when Gansey and Ronan show up at his father’s hearing, without his asking and without him even telling them when it was, he accepts their help and support. Sometimes people help people to make their lives easier, not because they expect or want anything in return.

Of the three sleepers, two are woken during this novel. We can safely assume Gwenllian was the third sleeper; the one that could have been woken or not. She’s batshit, but she seems to be harmless enough. And Blue is learning about herself through Gwenllian. Maura is found near the sleeper that shouldn’t be woken. She went underground to find Glendower (presumable the sleeper that should), and instead found Artemus, her long-lost lover, and is trapped by the second sleeper.

In the journey to find Maura, we find that Gansey has power too. Adam the Magician, Blue the Mirror, Ronan the Dreamer, and Gansey the King. Gansey III finally finds his voice, and its more than just charisma. With this voice, he is capable of commanding the dead to rise. But Gansey is a Gansey, and they don’t command, they only ask and hope. This unwillingness to command others is part of what makes Gansey who he is; it’s part of what binds the Raven Boys together. He never commands, never expecs, and rarely asks. But when he does ask, he receives.

Even the secondary and tertiary characters are real, fully developed people fighting their own demons and living their own lives. I’ve never read another series that has so seamlessly woven everyone’s story into one cohesive plot, while paying more than sufficient attention to the characters that aren’t directly involved. When your characters are that sound, that well-written, it almost doesn’t matter what plot you’re trying to sell.

Strange things happen in this world all the time. It would be easy to dismiss them as corny or impossible. But the authenticity of the characters breathes life into the magic of the events. The reader believes in the characters, so they believe what the character tells them. Maggie Stiefvater’s characterization is the key to The Raven Cycle’s success, because once the reader is attached to Blue and her Boys, they’re impossible to leave.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval is one of the most anticipated books for 2017 and I’m so glad I got a copy so early!

Scarlett and Tella are forbidden to leave the small island that they live on with their ruthless father.  When she was little, Scarlett dreamed of Caraval coming to their island, where the audience takes part in the performance.  Their father arranges a marriage for Scarlett with a man she has never met.  A mysterious sailor comes and whisks the two girls away for a five night escapade, where Tella is the prize.

Scarlett starts out following all the rules, because if she doesn’t her father would beat up on the person she loves the most, Tella.  After their invitation to Caraval arrives we stumble across a sailor who has a thing for Tella.  Scarlett tells her sister that Caraval is performing on a close island in a couple days.  However, Scarlett is supposed to meet her fiance in a week.  Scarlett determines that they will not be able to go to the show with enough time to make it back to meet her fiance.

Scarlett starts out as a character who abides by the rules that are set to stay out of any unnecessary trouble.  However during the five days she is in Caraval she learns she needs to break a few rules to get the prize.  She grows more confident in herself and in her own opinions.  The character development was very well thought out and portrayed as the book progressed.  Scarlett breaks out of her shell.  She goes from slightly timid and shy to strong, demanding, and determined.

Julian, the sailor, is a mass of mystery.  Throughout the book he disappears many times and leaves Scarlett on her own.  He claims he’s been through the game before and is looking for revenge against Legend, the caraval master.  He definitely gives off the definition of mysterious.  Garber defines him as tall, tan, and handsome.  But really, who describes their characters as pale and ugly, other than Stephanie Meyers.

Julian and Scarlett’s relationship remains pretty rocky throughout most of the book.  Most of the time, you can tell there is something between them but neither of them want to admit to such feelings.

We don’t see much of Tella throughout the book because she is the prize.  But she comes off at first as very coy.  At the end of the book it is revealed how manipulative AND coy she is.

The plot left very few loose ends, except for the cliff hanger at the end.  All off the plot twists made sense and they were well thought out.  The clues that were left for the character to figure out were not easily predicted.

  • 5/5
  • Very well written
  • Read it!
  • Interesting plot and characters.

 

The Crown by Kiera Cass

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Make sure you check out our reviews of the rest of the Selection Series novels, The SelectionThe EliteThe One, and The Heir.

Eadlyn would still like to think there is no one as powerful as her. But it’s hard when her mother is dying of a heart condition, and her brother left the country without telling anyone, and her people hate her, and she has to choose between the 6 suitors still at the Palace, but the man she really wants to be with isn’t one of them. Not to mention, there’s an Illea out there stirring up trouble by suggesting he and the Princess are in love. Yeah, sure. No one is more powerful.

Anything interesting that happened in this story, happened during the last book. There is little plot development and no action. It’s simply Eadlyn trying to decide what to do with her life. The ending was entirely predictable, from who Eadlyn chose to what Eadlyn chose to do with the country. The one truly shocking thing was Lady Brice’s identity, and even that felt lackluster due to the lack of foreshadowing or description or character building to actually make us care about Brice. Yeah, everyone love someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, but who is Brice as a person or a character? We really just don’t know.

Speaking of Brice and the advisers, why are they even still around? What purpose do they serve? How were they chosen? Why hasn’t Maxon gotten rid of them? All they seem to do is propose terrible ideas and attempt to bully whoever is in charge into listening to them.

It wasn’t even a fun read, because I could care less about anyone in the novel. America’s relatively absent the whole time, Maxon is mopey, twin brother is gone. Who else have I got? Oh, that’s right. I’ve got the guy who can barely speak English; the architect who used to use his talents to help the impoverished, but can’t seem to stop designing palace parlors these days; the boy who promised to provide a reason to choose him everyday, until he tells Eadlyn he likes someone else; and a boy who’s not even in the Selection. Right. Interesting.

There are some moments in this story that had the potential to be very heartfelt, and they were very rushed, especially near the end. It was like Cass had a page limit that she was trying hard not to go over, even though there were things she desparately wanted to talk  about. Maxon’s conversation with Eadlyn? Was there a reason we wait until there were 7 minutes to the announcement? Was there a reason the conversation with Marlee about Kile needed to happen in less than 10 seconds? Probably not.

TL;DR

  • I don’t even know what to say
  • Not good
  • 1/5 stars
  • It’s not even fun anymore