Novel: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Will Patton) | Goodreads
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Format: Audio CD
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
Will Patton’s earthy voice lends a culture to Blue Lily, Lily Blue that is truly remarkable.
When I had a concussion over the summer, I became insatiably addicted to audiobooks. One of the series that I picked up was the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – a series I had enjoyed in print but hadn’t picked up again. It didn’t have that same lyrical quality present in Stiefvater’s other works, and the complex plot was hard to wrap my head around. Once I decided to reread – listen, actually – to the series on audio, I was hooked.
The plot was slowed down a bit, the language much more obvious. It was subtle and intelligent and folksy – a combination that provoked an urgency within me to immediately devour the books. The tantalizing pace of the audiobooks, however, only made the wait much more enjoyable. I relished each character, forming empathetic bonds and friendships to the characters that touched me in a way that I haven’t experienced in a while, and made me inexplicably grateful for the products of my favorite writer. (Yes, Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite writer.) Something about the Raven Cycle books was made infinitely more compelling on audio.
When the third book came out, I ordered it on audio immediately. When it came into the mail, I was nearly brought to tears. I have to provide a disclaimer that I had mistakenly thought this was the third and final book of a series. The Raven Cycle is in actuality, a quartet. I was feeling so proud of myself for actually finishing a series – something that I struggle with, because I hate saying goodbye to characters – but someone very helpfully told me on Twitter that I was mistaken.
Needless to say, Blue Lily, Lily Blue did such a phenomenal job with tension, historical contexts, and relationships, that it could have been a final book if not for the ending, which set up well for another. It was meticulously plotted and well-researched in a way that added an extra layer of intrigue to each page. The sheer brilliance of it blew me away.
Blue is a character that started out in The Raven Boys as likable and mysterious, but still down-to-earth. Moments in Blue Lily, Lily Blue showed her at her most human – from missing her mom to dealing with boys to dealing with strangers. Even the mundane processes of college were dealt with in Blue Lily, Lily Blue so well that it all felt familiar to me (a high school junior). On the other hand, the supernatural dealings she experienced merged so fully with her regular life that chapters focusing on her were charged with this addictive energy.
I’ve talked about Gansey before as a candidate for my lunch table. His engrossing conversations, destiny as a politician, and care for his friends, made him intriguing. Additionally, his extensive knowledge of history and fable made him a fascinating person to simply listen to. Even when Adam – another character working multiple jobs with little of the opportunity Gansey was handed – got frustrated with Gansey, Richard Gansey III was so remarkably compelling and articulate that his perspective was beyond likable.
Ronan, a character who dominated much of the second book The Dream Thieves, didn’t have nearly the same focus in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I must say, I was rather disappointed by that. While his personality was abrasive in the first book, he still had an enigma to him that I loved. Adam – previously mentioned – was just as likable and tired and lonely as usual, and Noah struggled with much of the same. While it was originally tricky to straighten out the various relationships between the boys, another feat depicted much better on audio than in print, everything’s pretty straightforward by the third book. Other characters – Maura, Mr. Gray, Piper – were stunning as well.
The characters developed smartly, with obstacles thrown in their paths that challenged my emotional stability more than once. By now, I’ve developed such a fondness and affection for each of the characters, rooting for romantic relationships and mourning trials. Each of the characters experienced heart wrenching tribulations that tested me as a reader. The cultures of 300 Fox Way, of Cabeswater, of all of the settings, were so ingrained in the story that it lent a wholesome and ethereal texture to Blue Lily, Lily Blue.
In easier terms, I was blown away by this book. On audio particularly, it was a phenomenal specimen, one that haunted my thoughts for so many nights. I curled up in my car after lacrosse practice, shushed my sister on the way to school and shoved it in the CD player, listened to it in the shower and before bed and whenever I could. I even listened to it while running.
Narration-wise, Will Patton’s familiarity with the story and innate sense of voice lent it the charm, that certain je ne sais quoi that made it excel. His raspy voice kept the pace well and molded each character with such separation that it was easy to keep them straight, but never jolting. It was funny when he sang (the only “flaw”) and he gave the characters more layers of humanity than Stiefvater even did. I can’t applaud him enough for this. I want to listen to every other book he narrates.
Blue Lily, Blue Lily ramped up the plot, the motivations. It’s definitely less domestic than The Raven Boys or The Dream Thieves – focused on Glendower and relationships rather than the small, often connective issues that the first few books built upon in relation to backstory – but equally personable if in a different way. It created a whole new level of intensity and backstory that added on to previous foundations, resulting in a story so distinct and memorable that I consider it one of the best stories I’ve read (er – listened to).Maggie Stiefvater has outdone herself.
Just a phenomenal, phenomenal audiobook.