Written by: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release date: September 17, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
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...
After a bit of a rough start (or two…) The Raven Boys ended up being one of my absolute favorite books of 2012 – and an all-time favorite in general. So you can understand that I was sufficiently excited for the sequel, and the day it arrived in the mail was a good day indeed. But there’s always a lingering worry that the sequel won’t be as good as the original, or at least won’t live up to your now-sky-high-after-a-year-long-wait expectations. Thankfully, I can say that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. For me, The Dream Thieves met and exceeded my expectations, and we have another all-time-favorite.
I think it has to do with what I’m beginning to see as the “recipe” for my ideal book: engaging writing, intriguing characters… and a little bit of magic. ;) When these things come together perfectly, that book becomes unstoppable. And The Dream Thieves delivers on all counts.
There is something about Maggie’s writing in this series that’s utterly gripping. Literally – like the book is holding onto your heart and won’t let go. Her writing is just… (please don’t laugh at this analogy, it’s as close as I can get!) …it’s a little bit like really dark chocolate, the kind with the salt in it. It’s rich and complex and fulfilling, and you feel like you could eat it in bucket-fulls because it’s delicious, but even the smallest taste goes a long way.
…Okay yeah, that was a weird analogy.
But that’s what I felt like when I read The Raven Boys, and if possible that feeling was even more pronounced in The Dream Thieves, and I loved it. There’s just something rich about all her descriptions, but they’re never overdone or pretentious, they just feel true.
Declan had the same way of taking a room and shaking its hand. Matthew’s curls were netted with Niall’s charm and humor. And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.
– The Dream Thieves, pg 2
My absolute favorite thing about this book, as with book 1, was the Raven Boys themselves – Gansey, Noah, Adam, and especially Ronan. Really, this part of the story is Ronan’s, more than anything. While much of the plot is devoted to things having to do with the ley lines (yeah, those have been awoken now, and they’re causing all kinds of trouble), we pick up where the last book left off–thankfully–jumping right in and getting more info about that crazy revelation Ronan revealed in the last paragraph of The Raven Boys. (Which I can’t go into details about because really, the whole book is needed to answer that craziness.)
But the fact that this book focused so heavily on Ronan was the reason I love it so much. I absolutely adore Ronan’s character – his relationship with Gansey, his flaws, his strengths, his subtly vicious attitude, the way he sticks to his friends… He’s like burning coals that are possibly also explosive, but you don’t even want to throw water on them because it could agitate them enough to ignite… (Again, please don’t laugh – I am trying here!) But I honestly think Ronan is one of my all-time favorite characters ever. There’s just something about him that is utterly entrancing, to me. If you are a fan of Ronan, I can say with near certainty that you will love where this book takes things.
And thanks to Ronan, two new characters come into play in The Dream Thieves. The first is Joseph Kavinsky, who is pretty much just ‘bad news’ all around. But even as an antagonist, I never really disliked his character – he may not be a very “good person”, but there’s a delicious sort of twisted mostly-rivalry-sometimes-friendship between him and Ronan that makes his presence totally worth it.
And Ronan’s dreams (obviously) also play a huge part in the plot of this second installment, including attracting the attention of the “Gray Man”, who wants something that Ronan has… But that would be telling. ;) We hear part of the story from the Gray Man’s perspective, which (like Whelk in the first book) reveals one plot-line that Blue and the Raven Boys aren’t really aware of until their paths cross in the end. I wasn’t overly fond of Whelk’s sections in The Raven Boys, but thankfully, the Gray Man was much more interesting to me, and I never minded when we went from one of Our Heroes’ perspectives to his. He has a really dark humor, and is a super interesting character.
I’m not really sure where else to go with this review… honestly (obviously), Ronan was the thing that struck me most about this book, but there is also so much else that I can’t say too much about because… spoilers! So I’ll break down a few simple things that might get people excited to hurry up and read this sequel:
- Gansey’s Camaro – there is LOTS of Gansey’s Camaro. And street racing. (I am not usually a car person, but these books make me want to be one.)
- As if Adam didn’t get enough of a hard time in Book 1, there are even more hardships for him in this book. But that’s not a horrible thing (for the reader), because it also lets Adam show his strength, and I love him even more after this book. After Ronan, his story arc is my absolute favorite.
- Blue is actually not that bad in this book! (I wasn’t a huge fan in book 1, but she grew on me a LOT in The Dream Thieves.)
- For those of you wondering if the ending of this one is as jaw-droppingly frustrating as the ending of The Raven Boys – for me, the answer is no. It’s frustrating, but not nearly as bad as book 1.
- SO MUCH BACKSTORY FOR RONAN. …Ugh, I just can’t shut up about Ronan, can I?
Literally the only bad thing about this book… is that we have to wait a year (?!) for Book 3. And then another year for Book 4.
But seriously. If you liked The Raven Boys, especially the second half of that book after we started following the boys more closely, you will love The Dream Thieves. If you were on the fence about The Raven Boys, I encourage you to give this book a fighting chance, because there really is so much here to love.