Reread Review: The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

This is my second favorite book in the series (behind The Raven King). I love the darkness of this book and the way that all of the characters continue to grow and weave together.

First reviewed: November 2014

Initial Rating: 5/5 stars

Reread Rating: 5/5 stars

First review here.

cover dream thieves

Goodreads Description

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.

Add it on Goodreads here.

My Review

I LOVE this book! I’ve now read it three times and it only gets more intense, more real, more captivating.

As always, the characters are the defining magic of The Dream Thieves. Even more than in the first book, the characters feel like living, breathing people who could walk off the page and into real life. And where The Raven Boys (TRB) sought to establish an overview of the relationships between the characters, The Dream Thieves (TDT) delves into the specifics of their friendships and rivalries.

None of the characters are static. Every character is at some point focused on in the narration, giving the reader a strong sense of who that character is and how they are developing. Because of that, this book is not so much one story, but half a dozen stories woven together. While shifting POV narration can break the flow of some stories, it actually enhances the power of this book.

As you can tell from the description, Ronan plays a much bigger role in this story than in the first book. I loved this. Ronan isn’t a cheery character, but he is a painfully real character. Stiefvater captures his anger and frustrations and joys beautifully, giving Ronan depth and life that few other characters achieve (in any book).

Ronan’s dreams also come to the forefront of the story. If the sparsity of paranormal elements in TRB frustrated you, don’t worry, because TDT is undeniably magical. I loved the dream world (and dream logic) that Stiefvater created. It seems like such an obvious concept—he can bring objects he dreams to the real world—but Stiefvater takes it to a new level, adding darkness and horror to the magic. 

Adam’s character also gets more layers in this book as the deal he made with Cabeswater starts encroaching on his life. Things start to unravel, and Adam’s previously stoic character starts to fray at the edges.

I’ll admit, I don’t love Adam’s character in this book, but I really appreciate that Stiefvater let her characters fall apart instead of only giving them positive growth. Adam’s actions always feel “in character” for him, even when they send him on a negative path—and break the reader’s heart in the process.

New characters are introduced, adding to the story without overpowering the original cast. I especially love The Gray Man, who could have been an incredibly one-dimensional character but who is instead given a dry sense of humor and a love of poetry. (I also love that this YA book still has autonomous adult characters who have their own scenes and plot lines, separate of the teens.) I also love hate Kavinsky, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

As always, Gansey and Blue are amazing characters. They face trials and frustrations both in the real world and the paranormal one, and the attraction between them grows (*helpless fangirl squealing*).

TDT is addictive; I always wanted to turn the page, discover the next secret, see the next wonder (or horror). The writing that was so gorgeous in book one is still just as poetic and masterful. But where TRB had only a few creepy moments, TDT is full of darkness.

This is probably what makes this my (second) favorite book in the cycle. The darkness doesn’t come just from the magical elements, or Ronan’s nightmares, or Adam’s deal, or Cabeswater itself. There is also real world darkness—fist fights, grief, drugs, enemies. It is both a contemporary and a fantasy/paranormal novel—realism is not sacrificed so that magic can occur, it enhances the magic.

Basically, I’m in love with this novel, these characters, this series, this author. I LOVE EVERYTHING. If you read The Raven Boys and weren’t convinced, you should definitely still pick up The Dream Thieves. The series only gets more gripping and more fascinating.

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