Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

This is the book that made me love the Raven Cycle. Rereading it, I just fell more in love.

5/5 stars

Book 2 of the Raven Cycle

This book is on my Top Shelf.

Amazon description of The Dream Thieves:

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?
Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.
One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.
And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.
Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.

The second book  in the Raven Cycle combines the subtle fantasy of The Raven Boys with a fascinating darkness. The plot is faster, grittier, and more surprising. The characters are deeper. The conflicts continue from book one and only get more intense.

The writing is breathtaking. Stiefvater not only has a magnificent command of character and emotional descriptions, she can also create dialogue exchanges with perfect-rhythm. I’m not sure if I’m describing that very well, but if you read the book, I hope you understand.

I’m going to review the book by talking about the characters, because the plot is driven by each one, and I absolutely love each character anyway.

Let’s start with Mr. Gray. I love him. Though his character starts out playing largely the same role as Barrington Whelk in the last book, the Gray Man’s character was infinitely more successful at being interesting. To be honest, the chapters dealing with Whelk last book were slow and didn’t really add to the story until the end.

Mr. Gray’s chapters are so much fun to read. His character evolution was subtle and fast at the same time. I loved the role he played in regards to Maura–I felt that this book really too advantage of the adult characters involved. Stiefvater established the women of 300 Fox Way as rough outlines in book one, but in this book each of the main women really developed; instead of awkwardly hovering at the edge of the story, their integration was effortless and moved the story forward.

Next, Ronan. He’s basically the main character of this one–and I’m not complaining. His character is so much more complex than you could ever imagine after book one. With his character, Stiefvater took her series past of the almost-blandness of book one and created a dark, suspenseful plot rooted in both paranormal and regular teenage experiences.

And Kavinsky. He had a few lines of dialogue with Ronan in book one, but he takes on a whole new role in book two. He’s the devil on Ronan’s shoulder to counter Gansey, and that juxtaposition really highlighted the importance of Gansey in Ronan’s life and Ronan’s internal struggles.

Then there’s Adam. Honestly, he’s never been my favorite character, and he isn’t exactly likable in this book, but that’s the point, I think. After the end of book one, his character embodies the conflicts between the Raven Boys, and he definitely serves to move the story along. Certain plot points involving him, however, dragged on, even if they did enhance the story overall.

Last but not least, Blue and Gansey. Neither of them play massive roles in this book or undergo crazy character changes. I would say it is more fair to say that each of their characters just develops more–the reader gets to have a deeper understanding of both of them. In particular, Gansey’s sense of self worth is explored a lot in the second book, which I liked.

I can’t wait to read the third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

A few comments that contain spoilers (ranging from mild to severe):

I loved the grittiness Kavinsky brought to the book. The street racing, the drugs, the evilness–it took me completely by surprise the first time I read it, but it was exactly what the series needed to stop being just an interesting book about ley lines and Welsh mythology.

The romance between Blue and Gansey is so freaking adorable and heart-wrenching. The scene in the mountains between them broke my heart. And I really hated Adam at that moment.

Ronan being gay is basically my favorite thing ever. It fleshed out his character and really influenced his dynamic with Kavinsky. Ronan has always been an angry, self-hating character, and I thought the subtle but significant reveal Stiefvater strung through this book helped to explain part of that.

I can’t decide if I want Adam to be with Persephone or Ronan. I’m not sure I care. Both would enhance the book–and give Blue and Gansey some slack.

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