I loved Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys (see my glowing review here) and I had high hopes for the sequel even though at the same time I also dreaded that it may not live up to my inordinately high expectations. I am pleased that not only did it manage to exceed all of my expectations, I loved the book even more than the first (even if I wished to get a bit more of Gansey – more on that later!). The Dream Thieves was an even more thrilling book than its predecessor (which is high praise indeed since the first book kicked all kinds of ass!). Maggie Stiefvater is da bomb (I apologise in advance – I do not know what possessed me to truck out that old saying but…it fits so I am going with it)!
We pick up not long after the events of the first book. The eponymous ‘Raven Boys’ are still trying to uncover Owain Glendower’s final resting place but also have to contend with yet another threat in the form of an elusive hit-man, the ‘Gray Man’, who is also on the trail. Gansey is struggling to reconcile Adam actions in the last book, they are all still coming to terms with Noah’s ‘status’, and Ronan’s secret has finally been revealed – he can bring objects out of his dreams. Blue also has a lot to deal with, getting to grips with her growing feelings for Gansey and what that means for her and Adam’s burgeoning relationship.
Where the last book had a slow build-up and more leisurely pace, this book has a much more driven narrative. I enjoyed the scene-setting in the last book but I am glad that this book had more energy to it – it made the stakes seem higher and the tension practically bled off the page in several key scenes. The plot was exciting and just as eerily creepy at times as the first book. It started off somewhat low-key but became a crescendo of action towards the end making it very difficult to put the book down (I tried but it just wasn’t happening!).
The plots left dangling at the end of the last book are continued here but although some answers are given, more mysteries are uncovered and I was left with even more questions than I had before which on one hand is great because it means I cannot wait for the next book but on the other hand is awful because it is still awhile before it will be released which makes me very sad. 😦
The characters were every bit as nuanced and richly detailed as in the first book. New characters were introduced but they enhanced the story and did not at all detract from the characters we have come to know and love. Ronan takes centre-stage in this book and although I missed getting Gansey and Blue’s insights (they still have POV’s – just not as frequent in this book) it was a delight to get to see inside Ronan’s head – he was such a mystery in the first book. I was happy to find out his abilities were not the only things he was hiding – there were little hints here and there throughout the book about where his inclinations go and I was happy that this was included in the novel. Adam started to annoy me a little. I felt for him in The Raven Boys but his self-pitying started to get a bit grating here. I hope that the next book will clear up some of the issues with him as I really do like him as a character (just not as much as Gansey 😉 ).
A fair bit of time was given to Blue and Gansey’s relationship and it was perhaps the best part of the book for me. I love these two characters, together and separately, and their interactions kept me riveted throughout. The relationship is subtly drawn – their feelings becoming more and more apparent but there is not only Adam’s feelings to consider, both Blue and Gansey have to keep in mind Blue’s ‘curse’ – that she is fated to kill her true love if she is ever to kiss him. Blue also knows that Gansey is fated to die sometime in the next year – a fact which causes Blue all kinds of distress as she is frightened that she herself could be the cause of his death.
Blue’s POV still had a good amount of page-time but I did feel that Gansey’s was severely limited in this book. I would have loved for him to have had a bit more presence but hopefully he will get a bit more time devoted to him in the next book. He is my favourite character and I was eager for more of him throughout – it was tthe only thing that I felt the novel was lacking in.
This was a fantastic entry in the Raven Cycle series and with every book Maggie Stiefvater proves herself to be one of the best voices in YA paranormal fiction. Her prose is lovely, her plots are engaging and her characters are truly out of this world. I have become a huge fan and I cannot wait to read her next book!
Quotes I like:
“His eyes were frighteningly alive, the curve of his mouth savage and pleased. It suddenly didn’t seem at all surprising that he should be able to pull things from his dreams.
In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”
“She wore a dress Ronan thought looked like a lampshade. Whatever sort of lamp it belonged on, Gansey clearly wished he had one.
Ronan wasn’t a fan of lamps.”
“He hadn’t realized yet that Gansey could persuade even the sun to pause and give him the time.”
“In some parallel universe, there was a Gansey who could tell Blue that he found the ten inches of her bare calves far more tantalizing than the thirteen cubic feet of bare skin Orla sported. But in this universe, that was Adam’s job.
He was in a terrible mood.”
“Calla readjusted, wrapping the silk around her other thigh instead. “Which one’s he again? The pretty one?”
Blue and Gansey exchanged a look. Blue’s look said, I’m so, so sorry. Gansey’s said, Am I the pretty one?”