Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream ThievesTitle: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA Paranormal, Magical Realism, Mystery

Publication Date: September 17, 2013 (Scholastic Press)

Source: eARC from the publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis: The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

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…

3/5 stars – A generally well-written but not always entertaining sequel to The Raven Cycle

Maggie Stiefvater is one hell of a writer. Her other books either don’t appeal to me or embody all the cliches I can’t stand, but this particular series really hooks me and goads me into putting aside my personal feelings about her for a while. Fans who loved everything The Raven Boys had to offer will love The Dream Thieves just as much, especially when it comes to Ronan.

The plot–especially its focus on Ronan, his ability to produce objects from his dreams, and who he really is–picks you up and takes you on a fun ride, however slow or poorly pathed out it can be due to too many extraneous details and a very strange plot line involving hit man Mr. Gray romancing Blue’s mother Maura. Things could happen more quickly than they do, but I love that I’m expected to put the many, many pieces of the world together myself instead of just being handed the completed puzzle.

Unfortunately, the good stuff doesn’t always feel worth it because about half the book is a dull read. What it does during that half is important, true, but there has to be a way to get the important stuff in without boring readers into putting down the book for days! Sitefvater is a competent writer and her riff on secrets in the prologue is one of my favorite passages in the entire book, but sometimes, it seems she’s trying too hard. The result of that is ridiculous prose like “He was attracted to her like a heart attack (ARC p. 59)” and dialogue I can’t imagine anyone ever saying.

But really, this is Ronan’s book 100%. He’s got the spotlight, the most interesting plot line, and a lot more depth than I imagined. Adam, my darling favorite, isn’t afraid of the spotlight either! The dark places this book takes him makes me wish Blue were into him instead of Gansey. Speaking of our fated duo, it seems like no real effort is made to create a connection between them this time around. It’s almost like we’re expected to cheer them on and believe in their love (which hasn’t even developed yet!) solely because they’re each other’s true love. Fate is not an excuse for poor development.

Readers should also beware because this has another cliffhanger ending, but it’s not the sort of “Ronan admits he pulled a living, breathing bird out of his dreams” ending like in The Raven Boys. Still a painful one for invested fans, though. I might stick around for book three, but I’ll need a while to think about it. A year is good enough, don’t you think?

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