Sunday 23 November 2014

#CBR6 Book 129: "Blue Lily, Lily Blue" by Maggie Stiefvater

Page count: 416 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Blue Sargent's mother is missing, and it's quite clear that time passes differently where she's gone. This loss affects Blue deeply, although she has Mr. Grey around and her Raven Boys to take her mind off things. Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and even Noah are still trying to find Glendover, looking in caves all over the area. They are told repeatedly that there are three Sleepers under the ground, and it is imperative that one of them not be woken. They now have the aid of Gansey's elderly British professor friend, Mr. Malory, who seems to find being in "the Colonies" fascinating.

Malory is not the only new arrival in Henrietta. Colin Greenmantle, Mr. Grey's former employer and a very dangerous man, is in town, keeping himself busy plotting revenge and destruction, while also teaching the Aglionby boys Latin. His wife Piper may seem vapid and distracted at first, but it becomes clear after a while why the two were drawn to each other. Ronan is determined to get Greenmantle somehow, and enlists the aid of Adam, whose affinity with Cabeswater is getting stronger, allowing him a wholly new perspective. Adam needs all the distractions he can get, he's about to face his father in court, and he's making very sure that none of his friends find out about it.

While it is always lovely to spend time in the world of Blue and her Raven Boys, this book, number 3 in The Raven Cycle is so clearly a bridging book. Unlike in books 1 and 2, where we were introduced to all the characters and a lot of dramatic things happened, most of the story is in a holding pattern here, slowly moving the pieces into place for the final act, which I'm hoping will be spectacular.

Colin Greenmantle is a chilling new potential villain, and all the ominous messages about the third sleeper promise more complications in the final book, which is out at some as of yet not confirmed point in the second half of next year. In The Raven Boys, Blue saw Gansey on the Corpse Road, and with each season passing, they are getting closer to his doom. In this book, the other boys discover that the women of 300 Fox Way have a book where they write down the names of everyone who will die in the coming year, and Adam is clever enough to figure out that Blue is so secretive about the book because one of their names is in it. She finally has someone to share her secret with, not that it makes the situation any easier.

Blue and Gansey are growing closer, but trying to hide it from the others, especially to avoid hurting Adam. Ronan and Adam conspire to remove the threat of Colin Greenmantle behind Gansey's back, as they know they're not going to be able to play by the rules, and their best friend would be deeply uncomfortable.

I love these books, but this is clearly the least engrossing in the series so far. I understand that not every book can have the intriguing setup of The Raven Boys or the thrilling revelations of The Dream Thieves, but it would have been nice if there was a little bit more development. Some pretty thrilling stuff happens in the last few chapters, but mostly this is just the literary equivalent of hanging out with friends you like.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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