I’m gonna start this summary off with a gentle reminder that when I asked for all the books in the Raven Cycle for Christmas last year, for some reason Amazon sent my mom the British version. So, here we are, a kilometer away from the events of last chapter in Blue’s bedroom. That shakes out to like .6 miles, for all of you out there who don’t know shit about the metric system.
Maura is like “psst are you sleeping” and Blue is like “yeah,” which is a classic sleepover line. But even more classic is what we’ve got coming up next:
She sat on the end of Blue’s bed, looking soft as a poem in the dim light.
Are you kidding me? That line sent me. A poem? And the light is dim, too? It’s too much. I have to take a break.
Okay, I’m back. All great lines aside, this is a nice moment. Stiefvater does a really good job showing us the room we inhabit and how it reflects aspects of Blue’s personality. All in all, it’s just a nice scene where Blue and her mom talk softly about their growing pains as a pair and Blue’s father, Artemus (or, as he’s more commonly known, Butternut).
It turns out that Artemus just sort of appeared after Maura, Calla, and Persephone performed a ritual on the ley line. Which, okay, I’m a little confused how Maura looked at him and was like “yeah I guess it’s time for me to have a kid with this odd magical man” but we got Blue out of it, so I’m not complaining. Neither is Blue.
We also learn that he didn’t leave as much as he disappeared when Blue was born. I don’t know if your mom has ever likened your birth to a ritual, so I’m not sure if there’s any comparisons out there, but I think Maura does a pretty good job with this conversation. She does call Blue a “strange child,” but she’s not wrong. Blue is a psychic battery who puts repurposed cardboard trees on her wall and falls in platonic love with four boys at once. But before Blue can get too indignant, Persephone arrives.
“I don’t mean to interrupt. But in either three or seven minutes,” Persephone said, “Blue’s raven boys are going to pull down the street and sit in front of the house while they try and find a way to convince her to sneak out with them.”
Her mother rubbed the skin between her eyebrows. “I know.”
Some other things we learn: the women of Fox Way have been lying about how good they are at predicting the future. They are very good with specifics. Also, Neeve stole their car and Maura is cool with Blue leaving with the boys as long as she remembers how significant the stuff she’s meddling with is.
And that’s it. In TV terms we would call this part of the novel a bottle episode, but seeing as words only cost as much as the ink they’re printed with, I think it’s more fittingly described as setup. You know, for the big conclusion. But now everyone is in motion, and we get some fun and funky new settings.
Thoughts and Feelings:
Y’all know I’m a sucker for both platonic and romantic love, but I’m also (big surprise) a sucker for familial love! I love my mom and so does Blue, so this little exploration this mother daughter relationship is nice. I’m a fan. I know this because First-Read Emily kept saying, over and over on her Post-It notes, “I’m a fan.”
I’m also really impressed with the setting in this chapter. I made a dig like ten seconds ago about the fact that it reads a little bit like a bottle episode, but unlike TV, in books the setting is often left up the reader’s imagination. An author will be like “her room was small” and I’m like okay, cool. Any other details you wanna give me? And the author is like, “no.”
Here’s the thing: I’m guilty of this as well. I focus so much on character that it’s easy to let setting fall by the wayside. But this is a really good example of character through setting. Steifvater takes the time to talk not only about what goes on in Blue’s room, but the room itself. The canvas trees on the walls and the poems copied onto the ceiling. Sure, it reads a little too manic pixie dream girl for my taste, but we have ample evidence that tells us Blue is anything but.
I’m just obsessed with Maura and Blue’s mother daughter relationship, what’s wrong with that?
Best Character Moment:
There was nothing unfamiliar about this quiet between them; for as long as Blue could remember, her mother had come into her room in the evening and together they’d read books on separate ends of the bed.
Best Turn of Phrase:
“Your light was on,” she observed, and with a sigh, she sat on the end of Blue’s bed, looking soft as a poem in the dim light.
Action: Two rituals were described, and both of them led to the creation of Blue, our main character and driver of all action. We’re moving now, folks. 10/10
Magic: Did I mention the rituals? And the mysterious, Latin-named, ley line father? 12/10
Comic Relief: When Maura told Blue her vanished father would’ve liked all the shit she put up on her walls, that clinched it for me. 9/10