The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.19


Remember when Blue woke up in the middle of the night and Neeve was being super sketchy (and by super sketchy I mean actively summoning a malignant demon)? Yeah, me too. Turns out Blue has been waiting all day to talk to someone about it and everyone is so busy they simply cannot bother with her. This is where Calla comes in. She smells like jalepeños, which means she’s angry, and throughout the course of the conversation she hands Blue all three bags she’s holding and concedes to being a part of Blue’s nefarious plan.

Basically, Calla is going to hold Neeve’s belongings and Blue is going to stand next to her, being the best little battery she possibly can. Calla’s down because she’s ornery and likes to be the baddest bitch in the room (we know nothing Neeve does can change that, but Calla doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight). What they have to contend with is Maura, who, for someone who has only given her daughter one order in her entire life, is being quite domineering. I like it.

Calla had once observed that Maura had no pets because her principles took too much time to take care of. Maura was a big believer in many things, one of them personal privacy.

But wait! The chapter’s not over! We were sent a gift from the gods of mush that consists of one (1) gratuitous flower-receiving scene wherein “Flowers by Andi” pulls up in front of Blue’s house and gives her the tiniest and cutest bunch of baby’s breath and one single white carnation. I might have cried, the first time I read this, mostly because Blue tells Andi the Flower Lady that they’re probably for Orla, but they’re not! They’re for Blue! Because Adam is a southern ass gentleman and none of us deserve him!

The card says “I hope you still want me to call –Adam” (which I would have put in italics if the book hadn’t put it in some weird default handwriting font—always respect the source text except when they do dumb things with fonts). This is a very cute way to resolve a relationship confusion and as much as I was feeling all squirmy because it was too cute, I was also kinda pissed. Nobody has ever sent me flowers like this, probably because real people suck and this scenario is a little beyond the scope of an actual non-magic entrenched high school boy. Still mad though.

But then, LIKE SHE ALWAYS DOES, Steifvater finds some way to slip in the fact that Gansey and his sexy, sexy journal are keeping Blue awake at night. This time it’s because she’s asking Calla for advice on the Disobeying Maura issue, but honestly it seems like Blue will find absolutely any reason to tell us why she hasn’t gotten her 8 hours, waking up before her alarms included.

Blue does what we always knew she would and decides to ignore Maura’s order. I am reminded of every Disney Channel Original Movie, because they all tried the same thing and Stiefvater did it better:

Once she’d seen his death laid out for him, and seen that he was real, and found out that she was meant to have a part in it, there had never been a chance that she would just stand by and let it happen. 

“Don’t tell Mom,” Blue said.

And that’s that! After 18 chapters of exposition and one glorious chapter (15) of confrontation, we are finally taking the plot to the magic and doing our darndest to find Glendower! Scenes from our next episodes include: helicopters, handholding, seashells, and poor boxing technique, but first we need to close with some of Blue’s most famous words.

Today, Blue thought, is the day I stop listening to the future and start living it instead.


Thoughts and Feelings:

I’m a huge fan of this chapter, mostly because it contains the exact formula to get to my heart. We have Calla and three of her mysterious bags, one of which “manages to have corners”—one of the greatest literary feats of this novel is that Steifvater can say stuff like that and give the reader a precise image and also the giggles. We have Adam and Blue sweetness overload. And, to top it all off, a couple of quotes that I absolutely would have underlined had I been the type of person who is cool with writing in books.

I’m excited for the novel to get going, which you probably know since I’ve been bemoaning the slowness of the plot since I started this reread. But what I haven’t said is that I’m going to miss the slow and careful approach Stiefvater has to exposition, where she sketches out these characters and their backstories in a painstaking and lovely way. There is just enough revealed to us that we understand the key points of each character, but enough left out that we can come and fill in the rest for ourselves, which I do a little differently every time and makes the story that much more fun to read over and over.

That’s not to say new things won’t get revealed about the characters over the course of all four books, or that they won’t go on a journey. The Gangsey grows and changes so much and that’s probably the biggest reason I love this series. What I mean is that we’ve established our baseline, and it’s time for them to start changing. It’s like sending your kids off to preschool and knowing they’re going to come home a little smarter every day. Yeah, you want them to be able to put peas in their mouth instead of all over their face and the floor, but it’s still sad when you realize you won’t get to see their stupid pea-covered face anymore. Right now, Blue is naïve and her face is covered in peas, but she’s going to wipe them off soon. I’m scared and excited about it. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

Best Character Moment:

It was no portrait or fruit basket, but she couldn’t imagine Adam sending anything more dramatic. These little flowers were quiet and sparse, just like him. “I think they’re pretty.”

Best Turn of Phrase:

Calla tapped a finger on her lip. Both her lips and the nail she used to tap were deeply indigo, the color of octopus ink, the color of the deepest shadows in the rocky front yard.

Action: Okay, being real, not much. But Calla makes every moment seem charged, so I’m going to be generous. 5/10

Magic: They mention psychometry briefly, and they also cast doubts on Neeve, which is magic in and of itself. Also, everything Adam Parrish does is magic and I love him. 7/10

Comic Relief: We learn that Calla has bad-day burritos and everyone knows because when she comes home she straight up smelled like jalapeños. If you don’t think that’s hilarious your sense of humor is broken. 9/10

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