Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The third in the Raven Cycle series, I read Blue Lily, Lily Blue in January 2016. At the time, this is what I had to say:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blue Lily, Lily Blue continues the trend started by The Dream Thieves and focuses on the character development of one of the core team members, with the lens on Blue this time. I was glad to see Blue’s abilities get built up a bit, what she can and cannot do, and what her role is in the team. It fixes one of my biggest gripes from the other books, that I felt Blue was sort of along for the ride, there to be needlessly confrontational from time to time. It was great to see some action on her part, especially at the end when she truly takes matters into her own hands and begins using her new-found abilities with confidence. I’m looking forward to what I assume will be a more Gansey-focused finale.

Regarding plot/pacing: I feel like a lot happened in this book yet very little happened all at once. I think this could be because the first half is spent building up the energy and momentum for two things: entering the cave and finding Maura. I felt that there was a lot of waiting going on in the beginning and it bothered me that even though the plot itself (Maura’s absence, Greenmantle’s looming presence) lent to a faster pace it didn’t really deliver that. The last 150 pages, however, are impossible to put down, charging right along to the end before stopping in its tracks and leaving you screaming for more.

Pacing aside, it really is a great read. The characters are what drive this one, even when the plot might be slow for stretches. You are endeared to Ronan, Gansey, Adam, and Blue, invested in their success and their relationships. Stiefvater does a great job taking these characters and firmly planting them in your heart which will, I’m sure, make the inevitable ending to the series even more heartrendingly painful.


Blue Lily, Lily Blue didn’t hold up to Dream Thieves for me, but I feel that would’ve been tough for any book. At 50% through The Raven King, I’m a bit disappointed to find that the pacing issues I felt plagued Blue Lily are present here, too. I’ll have more to say on that matter in the next couple of days, once I finish up Raven King and can put all my thoughts on it into words.

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Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Continuing with the Raven Cycle review posts, today we’re looking at The Dream Thieves. I read this one in October 2015; it is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite in the series.

Here’s the original review:
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It was better than the first in every possible way – the pacing, the story, the character growth. The first book felt like set up; not terribly dull, but almost anti-climatic, slowly plucking along before dropping the climax right at the very end. It sets up the second book well, though, and this one definitely delivered on that setup. Kavinsky especially drives the later half of the book, his explosive, unpredictable personality stringing you along with Ronan. The end was a vast improvement as well, feeling less “and they all did this, the end” than the first and encouraging me to pick up the next ASAP. I’m almost glad I’m taking a break from this to start in on House of Leaves next, since the wait between Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King will probably drive me insane if Blue Lily ends anything like this one did.

We don’t see much of the Glendower quest in this one, really, but that’s okay. The side trip through the role the Greywaren and Magician play in this added some much-needed depth to the quest. I hope Glendower and Gansey’s motivations get the same treatment as time goes on.

Ronan is absolutely my favorite character in this series, but I’m really looking forward to Blue’s development over the last two books as well. She started off on the wrong foot for me, but she’s grown on me as I keep reading. Adam, too, finally worked his way into my good graces by the end of this book, after a horribly frustrating (and I’m not quite sure completely well defined?) low point to his character. Gansey could stand for some character growth next, I think, but I have to assume the following books will focus more and more heavily on both Gansey and Blue, so I’m sure we’ll get there.

I really liked Kavinsky and Ronan’s interactions in this book. I’m disappointed we won’t see more of that, but ah well.


It’s definitely a given that this one really knocked it out of the park for me. It took the setup of Raven Boys and ran with it with intense, explosive fury, and I fell head over heels in love with Ronan and Kavinsky and their antagonist games. I’d be content just reading a series about those two and their exploits, but alas, all good things come to an end.

At 25% through The Raven King, I’m really missing Dream Thieves, but I’m holding out hope that things pick up and the book has its “aha!” moment.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting Blue Lily, Lily Blue and, perhaps, by early next week I will have a review up for The Raven King. Then we can move on with our lives and this blog can become something more than the “Heather really likes Raven Cycle” blog.

 

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

In honor of The Raven King being released this week, and the inevitable rant I’ll have upon finishing the book, I’ve decided to begin my book reviews on this site by reposting my GoodReads reviews to the first three books in the Raven Cycle series, beginning with The Raven Boys.

At the time of finishing the book last September, here’s what I had to say:

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I picked this one up purely because of how enthusiastic a friend was about it and I was definitely not disappointed. As far as YA goes, The Raven Boys avoids a lot of the normal pitfalls. The third person omniscient perspective keeps things interesting, the characters had flaws and character traits that were believable, and even the somewhat cliched catch with Blue’s story didn’t bother me in this. Stiefvater’s writing is interesting, imaginative and descriptive, and it made the magic and mystery of Glendower seem just as grand and fantastic as Gansey believes it to be. I was a bit put off by how the climax seemed rushed together, like all the characters were smashed together all at once to wrap things up, and the abrupt, hard cliffhanger was a surprise. Either way, I’m definitely heading right into book two. The good in this one far outweighed any bad.


It’s interesting to go back and read what I wrote, having read the second and third book in the series since then. I’d probably dock a star off Raven Boys in retrospect. It was a great read, and really hooked me through Stiefvater’s imaginative and descriptive writing, but the characters and plot were far more two-dimensional. The character growth and plot development in the later books really shines, and I think The Dream Thieves remains the high point of the series for me so far.

Welcome

Welcome to The Writerly Kind, a blog for writing, books, literature, and other story analysis. This blog will serve as a place for me to practice my writing – creative writing, nonfiction, fiction, analysis, etc. I’m looking forward to using this blog for a sort of outlet for all the parts of my English degree I haven’t had an opportunity to use. I have a few plans to kick things off, including:

  • Writing prompts. Based on a list of 365 writing prompts and using a random number generator to pick which number I’ll be writing.
  • Book reviews. Just what it sounds like: reviews of any books I read.
  • Plot analysis. This might be deep dives into books or analysis of video game storylines, things of that nature.
  • Reviews and commentary about local book stores, libraries, events, etc. This one isn’t likely to be a very common post but I hope to get a chance to write posts of this nature.

That’s the gist of things. I’d love to put content out there every other day, but chances are good work will put a damper on that, so as long as I can post once a week I’ll be satisfied.

Here goes nothing!