WARNING: Some spoilers for The Raven Boys to follow. Read at your own risk.
Dream to reality. That is the key to a secret Ronan Lynch holds, one that he can finally reveal to Blue Sargent and the rest of the Raven Boys: Ronan can carry an object from his dream world into his real life. So far he has no control over the object he steals, but it’s a start. While Ronan is experimenting with his dreams, of all the Raven Boys, Gansey’s motives remain unchanged. Adam Parrish has become more distant since he awoke the ley line that Gansey so tirelessly tracks. His loyalty to Gansey begins to waver as he seeks to act upon his own fate. Alternately, Blue is beginning to see a Gansey she could love even as she keeps her own deadly secret from some of the boys living at Monmouth Manufacturing. When a dangerous man called Mr. Gray comes to Henrietta seeking the Greywaren, the boys, Blue, and the psychics at 300 Fox Way scramble to find Cabeswater before it’s too late.
I don’t think I even need to preface my thoughts on Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves with an explanation of why I chose to read it. It’s Maggie Stiefvater, and I’ve been with her since her Books of Faerie, which were pre-Shiver and the YA werewolf/vampire phenomenon. I liked the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, but it was a proper tease and I quibbled at times with its split narrative and heavy plot setup. I mean, she really began the book with Blue’s lethal kissing prophecy to not get anywhere close to begin fulfilling it? And what about mysterious, bad boy Ronan and his pet raven that seemed to appear out of nowhere, not to forget Adam, whose fate is unknown? If you were irked at all by these loose ends, then you should be picking up The Dream Thieves without hesitation, because it delivers on so many fronts while still leaving enough to sort out in the final installment.
As I mentioned above, I feel like Maggie hit her stride with this book. When the point-of-view is shared between multiple narrators the pace is always going to feel slower, but this time I felt an evenness that comes with a middle series book and established, already-familiar characters. Most of them are not immediately or unequivocally admired but they always feel new and fail to bore. I find myself at a loss when I try to commit to a favorite character. As a group is only as strong as its weakest member, I like them more as a whole than as individuals. For all of Gansey’s lofty leadership, he has an infectious innocence about him when he is around his friends. I knew that Ronan would have a sympathetic back story, and boy, does he in spades. His ability to steal from his dreams is enviable and horrific at the same time. Smudgy Noah is sweet and his story tragic, and Blue is identifiable as the only non-psychic, non-boy, and non-privileged Aglionby student of the group. I don’t have the firmest grasp on her character so I hope that we get to spend more time with her in the future. I know certain people that will decry my indifference to Adam, but I am alienated somewhat by his low-income, scholarship-student bitterness. I’m relieved that he’s still in the picture, however. I would be remiss not to mention a certain character that almost stole the show – and my heart – from the Raven Boys: the Gray Man. And the kissing! Yes, there is kissing. But even without the kissing I wondered and awed throughout The Dream Thieves. My breath caught multiple times and I found myself rooting for all the characters to play their part in helping Gansey find the long dead Welsh King Glendower. When somehow the Raven Cycle comes to its impossible, filled-to-the-brim-with-potential conclusion next year, we’re in for a treat.
The Dream Thieves is due out September 17.
Angieville – “If you’re looking for a story worth living and breathing, The Dream Thieves will take you there.”
Bunbury in the Stacks – “The Dream Thieves is one of those rare works of which I have no points to contend and nothing to complain about–it was frustratingly perfect”
The Reader’s Den – “I loved the sequel in the Raven Cycle, it surpassed my expectations”