Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

The Dream Thieves (Raven Boys #2), by Maggie Stiefvater || an engaging sequel with lots and lots of Ronan (YES to this)

20257177If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

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.

I was initially worried about reading this sequel, because of the amount of time that passed between now and when I read The Raven Boys. I always try to continue a series at a consistent rate, because I tend to forget the story told in each previous book when I move onto the next after a long time, but it doesn’t always work out. This is the reason why getting into The Dream Thieves took a few chapters, but after sinking into the characters and settings I knew, it was such a fun, interesting read. Steifvater upgraded literally everything in this book; the writing, the atmosphere, the character arcs. It only gets better and better as it goes on.

The elevated atmosphere and Stiefvater’s effortless prose: Stiefvater’s writing in this book is effortless. I use that word in every damn review, but when I say that, it means the emotions expressed in the words are so easily understandable. I enjoyed the writing in The Raven Boys but The Dream Thieves contains some of the most beautifully stringed words ever, and the flow is absolutely perfect. This elevated nearly everything in the story, from further developing established characters (Adam and Ronan and everybody actually) and newly introduced characters (The Gray Man, Joseph Kavinsky). The homey yet mysterious vibes of the Virginia suburbs echoed throughout the events of the story, and I’ve come to love Henrietta even more.

A mix of thriller and fantasy with newer themes: This book also introduces a new fantasy aspect to add to the spirits concept … dreams. As we all know, Ronan has the mysterious ability to reach into his dreams and bring things out of it. The history of his ability and how far it can go is expanded on largely in this book, and while I thought it was a bit vague at times, most of this new information is made pretty entertaining due to some awesome characterization, which we’ll get to later. I also loved the mysterious Gray Man subplot going on, and I thought it was perfectly interpolated with the fantasy elements.

Them characters throughhhhh: I really like how Steifvater is doing this thing where each of her books focus on a specific character. While all the characters were greatly written, The Raven Boys was clearly dominated by Gansey and Adam, and this time around it’s Ronan and I couldn’t be happier about it. I stated before in my Raven Boys review that I understood that Ronan was complex, but I found him to be a tad underdeveloped regardless. Well, that’s changed. Ronan is crafted into difficult, angsty, complex, and all the way vulnerable person with a number of secrets throughout this book, and I definitely gained a whole new perspective on him. The Raven Boys only gave us a glimpse of Ronan, and The Dream Thieves tries to take us all the way. In fact, Steifvater’s character writing is so improved, I feel as though she can take Ronan’s persona to an even more complex level.

Despite the focus on Ronan, Gansey and Adam are also incredibly defined and present throughout this book. Adam is just starting to come to terms with his act of awakening the ley line in the previous installment, and has troubles with his relationship with Gansey, and newly, Blue. Gansey himself is struggling to deal with Adam, and in this book, we see the adventurous and ambitious side of him, as well as the broken and bleak side. Noah flashes in and out, can’t say much about him. Joseph Kavinsky and I carry a complicated relationship, and I can’t say much about him because spoilers. But, watch out for this dude. He’s way more important than you think. The Gray Man is another new character, and I absolutely love him. The way he’s introduced and maintained throughout the story is very anonymous and quiet, but after discovering more and more of his true nature and past, he becomes a very interesting character.

I’m still lost on Blue and I don’t know why. Her issues are definitely more defined in this one, she’s struggling with her identity and purpose, as well as her relationship with Adam and Gansey. And, of course, there’s that no-kiss deal. Yeah, she’s got problems, but I really can’t understand them and dive into her personality. I still like her jabbing, sarcastic remarks, but she seems very unnecessarily irritable throughout, and I just don’t get it. It’s probably just me though, because every other character in this series so far is wonderfully written.

The Raven Cycle is turning out to be a pretty kickass series, and I can’t wait to read the next installment, which is apparently focused on Blue. Hopefully it turns around my opinion on her and keeps up with the greatness The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves have delivered so far.

-Haven

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