In the third book of the planned four-book Raven Cycle series, "Blue Lily, Lily Blue," author Maggie Stiefvater adds more complexity; delves deeper into the magic of Cabeswater, the ley line in Henrietta, Virginia; and brings the reader and the Raven Boys closer to solving the mystery of the whereabouts of the Welsh King Glendower and all that it entails.
It's been three months since the second installment, "Dream Thieves," ended. Blue Sargent's mother, Maura, is still missing in search of Blue's long-lost father, leaving teenage Blue, the other residents of 300 Fox Way — mostly Blue's female relatives who are psychic in some way, which Blue isn't — and the Raven Boys, including Adam Parrish, Richard Campbell Gansey III and Ronan Lynch, to move on in their dichotomous life without her.
This disappearance and other issues with the various group members' parents spurs the characters along to make discoveries of their own.
As with her previous books, Stiefvater here brings one character to the forefront while also highlighting the other main characters and introducing new ones.
In "Blue Lily, Lily Blue," it's Adam's turn as he explores his relationship with Cabeswater and what that means to his role in the Raven Boys group and his future.
As Adam, who grew up in a local trailer park and is on scholarship at the preppy Aglionby Academy, discovers and keeps secrets about multiple members of the group, he shows how strong he truly is and to what lengths he will go to help his friends.
Blue and Gansey, who comes from a wealthy family and leads the group search, grow closer, and the previous prediction of a tragic fate that awaits them becomes all the more inevitable. And although wild and rebellious Ronan was developed in the second installment, he is still driven by revenge and one new secret.
The new characters in this book are oddly lovable and heartlessly villainous. Jesse Dittley, a giant of a country man who guards a cursed cave, ends up having a heart bigger than he is. The villains, Mr. Greenmantle and his wife, are so cold and calculated, yet Stiefvater writes them with such complexity that they can be neither forgiven nor written off.
Just when it seems all will be resolved at the end, Stiefvater throws in a jaw-dropping last couple of pages to make the 2015 release of the fourth installment even more anticipated.
"Blue Lily, Lily Blue" contains no sexual content but does have some violence involving gunfights and death as well as multiple instances of graphic swear words.