The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Publisher: Scholastic (2013)
Length: 439 pgs
Series: The Raven Cycle, #2
Format: Hardcover, purchased from Amazon
Goodreads Synopsis: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.
Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.
Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…
You may be shocked, after my review of The Raven Boys, to see my rating for it’s sequel, as it’s a whole two stars lower than the glowing review I gave its predecessor. I want to start out by saying while I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and I continue to love the Raven Cycle series, sometimes a certain book in a series just doesn’t mesh with me as well as the others (such as Scarlet in the Lunar Chronicles). This book has a lot of great things about it, but it also didn’t keep me as captivated as the first book did.
I think a large part of my problem with falling in love with this installment is that it focuses much more on Ronan Lynch, probably my least favorite of the Raven Boys. While more exploration of his story and his family history is intriguing, it was also hard for me to read because he’s such an impulsive and hot-headed character, traits I don’t personally identify with. This book was a really big shift from the first one, which focused heavily on Blue and Gansey, and this book brought a lot of other peripheral characters into the forefront, often in a really abrupt manner (Kavinsky, who was so obnoxious to read, The Grey Man, who was intriguing yet disturbing, etc). I got tired of reading about Kavinsky’s and Ronan’s odd love/hate relationship, and I tired of him making disappointing choices.
Yet I think that was one of the points of this book- it exposed the ugly underbelly of a lot of the characters. As much as I dislike Ronan, I started to understand his struggles more while I grew to feel more and more discomfited with Adam’s character as he battles both the elements of Cabeswater and his father inside of him. Yet through Adam, more and more of Gansey’s superficiality (even if he himself abhors it) is exposed, and the reader starts to see how beautiful and ugly each boy is, which is an impressive, and brave, tactic used by Stiefvater.
One of the things I love about this series is Stiefvater’s attention to detail, the little elements that are so creative and quirky, such as the dorm rooms of Aglionby not having numbers, but rather having names of virtues they wish their students to emulate. I also love how she continues to keep her characters in awe of the magic that surrounds them and that they dabble in, and they never seem jaded or unsurprised by the paranormal happenings, which makes the happenings in the book feel that much more realistic, since the characters reactions and relationships to them are so human (even by Blue’s family, filled with clairvoyants).
- “…Blue thrilled again and again with the knowledge that magic was real, magic was real, magic was real.” (12)
- “Sometimes Ronan though that Adam was so used to the right way being painful that he doubted any path that didn’t come with agony.” (71)
- “…Ronan gve in to the brief privilege of hating himself, as he always did in church, There was something satisfying about acknowledging this hatred, something relieving about this little present he allowed himself each Sunday.” (91)
Isn’t Stiefvater’s dialogue just amazing? It’s so quirky and profound and introspective at the same time.
Overall: The Dream Thieves focuses on different primary characters than the Raven Boys and lacks some of it’s whimsy charm in favor of a darker, deeper side of magic, which endeared me less to this book. However, Stiefvater’s writing is still fantastic, she provides great character development within this installment, and the thrum of the ley lines and the mythical power in Henrietta is louder than ever, leaving me just as dedicated to this series and anticipating the next installment.
I find that’s often true of the second in a series of books. It just isn’t as good as the others. Some people loved Scarlet, but I agree with you, it wasn’t as good as Cinder or Cress. I enjoyed Stiefvater’s Sinner and that was told from (what I assume) was some of the not as likable characters. Good review! 🙂
I think you’re right about the second books of series being the hardest for authors to pull off, probably because there’s so much expectation and anticipation after the first book! Now that I think about it, I think most of the second books of series I love where some of my least favorites…
You make such a good point here! One that didn’t occur to me until you mentioned it… I, too, like how the magic in TRC never loses its edge. Of course they would be constantly surprised and puzzled by the weird powers which run in and out of their lives — they’re teenagers in the real world (with a little bit of unreal worlds mixed in for good measure). Too many authors let their fantasy elements lose that sense of wonder, but Stiefvater knows what’s up.
Exactly! Like I can relate because the characters aren’t jaded and expectant of the paranormal elements that keep cropping up in their lives, not even Gansey who spends his life chasing them or Blue who is constantly living with clairvoyants. It’s a really unique tactic that you’d assume more series would have!
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