Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA contemporary, Magical Realism, Mystery, Paranormal
Publication Date: September 17, 2013 (Scholastic Press – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
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…
☆: 4/5 stars – Not quite as amazing as “Raven Boys”, but still pretty damn good.
Review: If “Raven Boys” was Gansey’s book/the intro book, “Dream Thieves” is definitely Ronan’s book, 100%. We also get a lot of juicy details about backstory about Ronan and his brothers, as well as some new characters, and new mysteries to solve in order to get the boys back together, and back to business at hand. Yes, while “Dream Thieves” had a little more introspection than its predecessor, it’s still a really good sequel, and it’s making me froth at the mouth for book three.
This is going to be a very difficult review to do without spoilers. I’ll try my best, but I can’t guarantee that there won’t be spoilers that slip out. Just an FYI for you. Since the technical areas were more or less just as awesome as book one, I’ll be leaving those alone, and instead going after certain parts about the book that I found interesting, or found issues with.
The thing that brought down the book for me the most in this book was the introspection. If you thought there was a lot of it in book one (mostly on Blue’s end of things)? There’s tons more here, and it’s mostly from Ronan’s POV. I feel like there could have been a little less introspection, even though this is definitely his book, with his backstory, his past, and his insane present all brought together in one big melding of delicious magical realism on Stiefvater’s part. We’re not quite talking George R R Martin/A Song of Ice and Fire-worthy amounts of introspection, but for a YA/NA (because at times, I do feel like this book does cross into NA territory) book, it does get pretty thought-heavy. Which does slow down the pace a bit.
I also had the screaming question of Ronan’s sexuality. I love how vague Stiefvater left it, and how confused Ronan was about his own sexuality. I love the continual questions he asked himself – particularly whenever he was with Kavinsky – though he never explicitly asked himself if he might be anything but straight. I thought before, he might be asexual – he has so much rage that it seems like that might have been the only option at the time in book one. The scenes with Kavinsky felt very intimate, on the edge of being sexual, but being very sensual all at the same time. I wish we’d gotten a bit of a more solid answer to this question, but it’s enough to keep me wondering about Ronan as a character for the next two books to come. I could have used a little more clarification with Blue, Gansey, and Adam (that was starting to get really frustrating), so I hope that gets addressed in the next two books.
We get new characters – the biggest of which is The Gray Man, who I love because I feel like by writing him in, Stiefvater, who before was pretty good with individual character arcs in terms of transformation and growth, got even better by writing him. And by writing the rest of the characters. I feel like we get to see far more in terms of the actual transformation process from point A (the start of the book) to point B (the ending) and beyond. The Gray Man kind of kicked that off, and I feel like it spread to the rest of the characters, and the main cast. We get to see a lot of transformation and/or a lot of character progress with the lesser characters of the main cast (Orla, Maura, and Persephone, mostly), which we didn’t really get in book one. Now I feel like I have a firmer hold on these characters, and thus, the world around them.
The backstory of Ronan’s father, Ronan’s general past, getting to know his brothers, and more on Cabeswater/the ley lines in general really helped build up this world even more. Before, it was mostly just Henrietta that built the physical world, but we get to see its limits at the Barns, and even get to take a trip to DC to help widen things (and add tension, oh boy). I loved the idea that Ronan has an equal (and possibly more) with Kavinsky – someone else just like him. I love the idea of the Graywaren, though the disc that Blue helps the boys find kind of fell off the map and wasn’t really mentioned again. I hope that comes up in book three, because I’m dying to know if it has anything to do with Graywaren(s) or not. Or if it’s just proof that Cabeswater and Glendower are there, waiting to be found. We also have more of Noah, and how his appearance becomes a sign of whether or not the boys are getting close to their discovery. I thought that was quite the clever use of him as a character, and as a symbol of not only friendship, but of an eternal search for something more than themselves.
Final verdict? While I wish a few more things had been clarified, this book was just as gorgeous as book one – especially in the sensory imagery/language arena. Those who enjoyed book one will love this second book. I hope. I know I did. And it’s definitely on my best of 2013 list. “The Dream Thieves” is out now from Scholastic, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!