Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue & The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater

This review is non-spoilery – well for the beginning of it, so you can read on without worry!

I know that plenty of times, it seems pointless to say “Just read it”. That argument is weak, because why and how and when and just why are we supposed to read it? But there are so many things to be said about this series that I wouldn’t know where to start, so it’s one of these cases where I’d think it’d be okay to take that as an advice, and fall in head and heart first into this magical story-telling. I have probably too much to ramble on with these two books, and not enough coherent things to say, so I will go with this new formatting of mini-reviews, and will talk overall about the ending of the series.
I might ramble more than for mini-reviews, but…okay, I apologize beforehand if I do.

IMPRESSIVE STORY TELLING & CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

💭

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.”

From beginning to end, Maggie Stiefvater takes us into a whole other world I once said that this book was a masterpiece of story telling, and I still think so. There is so much to be said about the writing, the world she creates, it’s impressive and alive with a heart beating right on the page – a feeling I have experienced with very little books, to be honest, or at least not to this level.

This story, and this whole series, falls on the slow-side of the bookish spectrum. Is there action? YES. Do you get bored? NO. (At least, I didn’t). But there are things that could happen faster, there are some issues that could be resolved quicker, and so on. However, this slow developing of the story leaves so much ROOM for character development, it’s astonishing, especially given how well-crafted the characters are. All of the characters are so different from the first book, when you get around to closing the last page of The Raven King. They all grew so much, they all changed and it’s something, thanks to Maggie’s delicious character crafting, you get to experience yourself. They are just so alive on the pages.

The family’s presence and their overall weirdness has to be noted here, and loved, because they are such a big part of the story as well. It’s not about a group of teenagers – okay, it kind of is, but not only. It’s about family as well. For Blue, it’s about growing up different from her family, yet finally finding her place, what she is and where she belongs. The crazy psychics in all of this family are such a massive part of the intrigue – they are helpers, they are advisers, they are present and accounted for.

Now, onto the spoilery part of the review. Do NOT read below if you haven’t read the WHOLE series yet. (And probably go buy a copy)

Adam is probably the character I had the hardest time falling in love with, at first, but he is the one that grows the MOST thorough this series. It was fantastic seeing him putting his pride aside, growing up, standing for himself and most of it all, realizing that he COULD do whatever he wanted and be whoever he wanted.

“Adam Parrish – magician and puzzle, student and logician, man and boy.”

Ronan, there is SO much to be said about him, I wouldn’t even know where to start. To a character we barely knew and understood in The Raven Boys, he took so many different shapes in my mind and changed and grew and we got to discover his shell, and what was behind it all and, well, there is no other way to say this so I loved him so, so much. Also, so many things about his life story and how some things are ending – especially regarding to his mother – made me want to curl up and cry forever.

“It should have been impossible. No one should have been able to dream any of these thing, much less all of them. But Adam had seen what Ronan could do. He’d read the dreamt will and ridden in the dreamt Camaro and been terrified by the dreamt night terror.
It was possible that there were two gods in this church.”

I wouldn’t even know where to start or how to talk extensively about Gansey, because he is such a complex character, driven by his quest, haunted by his past death, discovering the power of his voice and overall just, he’s just so, Gansey. I wouldn’t even know how to talk about Blue either, because she is SO endearing and I love her, even if I have to say that her love for yogurt is at times a bit too much? I don’t know, I don’t even care. I love them all.

If the characters are growing, so are their relationships – and oh, how I loved how everything turned out. Blue and Gansey’s relationship was everything: from the phone calls in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, to the feelings developing and the TENSION and the frustration of everyone not knowing ; to the ending and the KISS and the love and the…I’m flailing here, SO MUCH.

“His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”

I was surprised and pleasantly happy about Adam and Ronan’s developing relationship. If I loved them together, who would have thought they’d end up like this reading the first book? I certainly wouldn’t have, and I WAS HAPPY. I wanted to take their heads together and tell them to KISS. ❤
Special mention to Henry, a good, refreshing, diverse and fun last-minute addition to a crazy little group.

Onto the ending of this…. I heard, and now understand how a couple of people felt disappointed and almost cheated on at that ending. There were so many plot twists, and the fact that the Glendower couldn’t even be awaken and everything was just…well, it kind of fell flat for a second here – because when you’re reading this kind of quest, obviously you want it to be fulfilled at the ending. That’s not what happened here, and if I do understand the disappointment, it felt kind of fitting. Because in the end, that book is about a quest, it’s about friendship, it’s most of it all about growing up and, if you ask me, this series was about the characters and their development, with magical story telling and writing that grasps you into the story and quite never lets you leave. I loved every moment of it.

If you haven’t read the whole series, you can read again this, to know that YOU SHOULD probably buy a copy of this series as soon as you can.

It might not be the best book you ever read, but if you don’t try, you might regret on missing out one of the best storytelling and characters you will meet. I realize this is high praise, so I will try not to built your expectations up too much, and shut up now to let you experiment the book for yourself.

Final rating:  It’s a HURRICANE!

 Do you want to read The Raven Boys series? Did you read it and enjoy it? Which is your favorite book? Share your thoughts in comments!


Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Lily, Lily Blue,  Published by Scholastic Press, October 21st 2014 / The Raven King, Published by Scholastic Press, April 26th 2016.

the-raven-king

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

47 thoughts on “Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue & The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I did read the whole series, though it took me a while to get through, and I had *extremely* mixed feelings about it. Some of the secondary characters I didn’t care for *at all*, and some of them seemed downright pointless, and I had to wonder why they were even included. Henry was a pleasant surprise. But the twist with Glendower almost made me put the last book down about 50 pages from the end. I’ve really liked Stiefvater’s work before, but this series truly strained my reader’s limits. There were just so many things I think could’ve been edited out, and in the end we’d still have the character development, the same results to many of the situations, and all the books could’ve managed to be 120 pages shorter. 😛 It just fell kind of flat for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh well I can understand your feeling about it. It is sort of a slow book at times and I get how this can be annoying and how you can think it could have been a bit shorter. Did you read any of Stiefvater’s books, other than this, or not at all?

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      1. I’d read books 1-3 of The Wolves of Mercy Falls, and The Scorpio Races, and really enjoyed both. I was really looking forward to The Raven Cycle, but about halfway through The Dream Thieves, I had to accept the inevitable, that it just wasn’t doing it for me.

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    1. Oh damn, I didn’t think of mentioning it, this series it so popular I forgot, but these two are the last two books in the series : The first book is The Raven Boys and the second one The Dream Thieves 🙂 But YES please , do add this to your TBR and read them all as soon as you can, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL 😀

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  2. This series is everything to me. So, so much love for it. As a whole, it didn’t quite end up being everything I thought the first book promised, but I love it all the same. I can totally see why people would be mad at the Glendower twist at the end, but I thought it was very fitting. The series is really about each character realizing that they are enough, and that all they need is within them, no longer living every moment feeling boxed and limited by who and what is around them. Blue and Gansey especially were obsessed with finding and being a part of “something bigger,” but in the end they realized that they could simply be something bigger in and of themselves ❤

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    1. I just love your comment so much, this is exactly it. They are just big enough and tht’s what matters, that really seemed like what this book was trying to say, and it was a characters’ development and adventure. I loved every moment of it 🙂 Thank you so much! ❤

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  3. I was only able to read the non-spoilery part because I still have to read the last book. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to say goodbye 😦
    I totally agree with you on the slow pace, and I couldn’t have said it better!! If at times I wanted things to go quicker, a part of me was happy about the room for character development. And that family ❤ I just can't wait to read but I'm afraid, haha! Awesome non-spoilery review 😀

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    1. OH well I get it, I couldn’t wait to read the last book but now I just want to re-read everything again, because I miss these characters so much 😦 Thank you my Sweechie, I hope you’ll be able to read that last book soon!! 😀

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    1. I understand your feeling, and slow books can more than often be a hit or a miss. I think the key here is, if you find yourself loving the characters, you won’t mind too much about the pacing of the books; It’s all in the beauty of these characters – or at least it was, for me. The atmosphere of this book is also very different from everything I have ever read, it’s more magical realism, touches of strange events happening, than a plain fantasy world you’re reading about. I hope you’ll want to try it out, maybe read a couple or pages and see if it can be for you, or not 🙂

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  4. I need a #JusticeForNoah tag or something though, because what happened to my precious little boy? He deserved better than what happened to him and quite honestly, I am not sure I understood his final role in all of it. That’s my two cents on that one. Otherwise, I wasn’t disappointed in the ending. I felt that it was somehow exactly as the story. Because you have to admit, there wasn’t really any climax or something like that in the series.

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    1. YES WE DO. I agree with you, and I felt like Noah was a bit, well…forgotten in the end, which was both sad and…unnecessary? He deserved a better ending. I know wishing he was okay with a beating heart and stuff is asking a lot, but…I guess I still expected something a bit different.
      You’re right, yes, I think the ending fitted the atmosphere of the whole series perfectly 🙂

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  5. Yayyy! I’m so glad you finished it!
    I love this series and, especially, the characters. It’s funny that you said Adam is the one you took the longest to connect with, because he was my favorite before I even started reading it. I remember reading the back of the book, where they describe Adam as this poor, beaten-up guy, that is also full of pride, and all I could think in my head is: “that’s right, my type.” I know why so many people dislike Adam, but he’s just what I love reading about.
    Gansey and Ronan were also fantastic. I didn’t like Ronan when I first read The Raven Boys, because he just felt like a rebel without a cause to me, but after getting to know more about his past and personality on the following books, it became impossible to not adore him.
    Noah was also the cutest thing ever and maybe that’s why I couldn’t accept Henry at all, by the end of The Raven King. In so many ways, he just felt like a replacement to Noah, especially when he’s hanging out with Blue and Gansey, like Noah would. Am I being too persistent and annoying? Hahah.
    I can’t deny that the end of the book felt very flat, especially after all the build up we had during the three previous books. But I think the character development really made the entire series worth reading! ❤

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    1. Thank you so, so much Lais! ❤ I'm so glad to hear you loved Adam so much – in the end, I fell in love with him just like I did with the other characters, it just took me a bit more time to do so.
      OH YES that's exactly it about Henry! I didn't see it that way but now that you point it out…Ugh, it makes me so sad and bothered. I was sad about Noah's fate, I wished he got something more in this book, I missed him around and everything. I loved him so much!
      Thank you so, so much Lais ❤

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  6. Great review for these books Marie, and I am so so glad you enjoyed them both as well. I agree the character development throughout the whole series was beyond amazing. Looking back at when I read the first book I never would have predicted Adam and Ronan ending up together but I think it makes sense for their characters and they just fit well together. Also yes I wasn’t much of a fan of Adam in the first book but he’s quickly become one of my favourite characters.
    I’m still not too sure how I feel about the ending of the last book. It wasn’t what I expected at all, not in terms of Glendower and not in terms of what happened to Noah either, but I think it was a good ending despite any issues it may have had.
    Again great review, are you excited for the Ronan trilogy being released next? 😀

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    1. Thank you so, so much Beth 🙂 Oh yes, I never would have predicted Adam and Ronan’s fate, but I loved it and I thought it made so much sense, too.
      OH YES I am so excited for this new series! I had a hard time loving Ronan in the first book, and by the end of The Raven King, he may be my favorite of them all, so I can’t wait! ❤

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      1. That’s all right, it’s kind of interesting thinking back to the first book and realising how far the characters have come since then isn’t it? They all ended up in places I never would have expected either.
        Ronan is definitely my favourite so I can’t wait to get more from him, and hopefully the rest of the characters as well! 😀

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  7. Oh my gosh Gansey and just all the Raven boys, Blue, my precious children!! ❤ I still have not read the last book, can you believe it?! Agh I really need to get on that, this review reminded me how much I love this series. But the three books I read, I fell in love with! Now excuse me while I hide in shame for not reading The Raven King and simultaneously fangirl over the preciousness that is this series. Amazing review, Marie! ❤

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