The Dream Thieves
(The Raven Cycle, Number Two)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton *Applauds*
Length: 12 hours & 46 minutes
Genres: Fiction, Young-adult, Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural, Adventure
Take a Peek: Audible | Overdrive | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Story Rating: 5 Stars
Performance Rating: 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
*Series spoilers ahead my friends*
This was my second foray into the Raven Cycle series and I’ll admit, I was a tad apprehensive when I started. Instinctively, without really reading anything about it, I knew things were going to start getting crazy for our Raven Boys and I was not wrong. It’s reassuring to know my instincts are still very much in tact. In the first novel, we get a taste of the magic they’re dealing with and in this one it’s GAME ON. About 60% of the novel feels like you’re on a bad high from one of Kavinsky’s pills, but somehow it TOTALLY WORKS. Even with all the freaky magical dream shit going on, this book leaves you frothing at the mouth for more.
In the first novel, it’s our raven gang against the bad guy on their quest to find Glendower. Shortest summary ever. But this sequel is subtly different, taking each main character on separate(-ish) story arcs that all converge together. Adam is much changed since his sacrifice in the first novel, although he tries to deny anything is wrong, and has moved into an apartment above a church. Now he works all the time to cover the extra expense and has started seeing strange apparitions at the most inconvenient times. Saying poor Adam is strung out would be an understatement, and small fits of rage that are eerily similar to his father’s are the side effect.
Meanwhile, Blue can feel herself slowly falling for Gansey and slipping further away from Adam, which she desperately tries to fight without success. She doesn’t want to hurt Adam, but his new erratic, violent behavior only serves to push her away. Meanwhile, Gansey the fearless leader can feel the ends of his life fraying and tries to take control like he always does, but this is far past his abilities. His bff Adam is like a new person, Ronan is being a hooligan as always, his feelings for Blue are deepening, and his desperate search for Glendower keeps running into humongous road blocks. Things are coming apart at the seams and Gansey is at a loss for how to handle it.
That leaves Ronan, quite possibly my new favorite fictional character of all time. After the big bomb he dropped at the end of The Raven Boys, the gang is desperate for proof of his power. Ronan dreams up a toy plane that looks fake, but wows everyone when it actually works. He continues to explore his dreams and getting a feel for his talent, bringing back a variety objects that range anywhere from delightful to downright horrifying. And in his spare time he’s street racing against the skeevy, asshat Kavinsky who’s the local drug-dealer/party-thrower/fake-ID-distributor. He’s known for his exotic drugs, elaborate parties, impeccable fake IDs, and getting things for people no one else can. Even though Kavinsky is obviously bad news bears, Ronan can’t help but be intrigued by him, which only leads to heaps and heaps of trouble for everyone.
All the while, a mysterious new character “Mr. Gray” lurks in the background. He’s a hired hit man sent to get something called the Graywaren, but has no idea what it actually looks like. His search leads him straight to Blue’s house and dangerously close to the raven gang. The Gray Man knows they’re up to something mysterious and he’s determined to follow them, thinking they’ll lead him straight to the Graywaren. And he’s not wrong…
In the end, all of these loose ends come together in one explosive edge-of-your-seat finale.
Okay. Listen. Hold the phone. We need to talk about how awesome Will Patton is. In my review of the first novel The Raven Boys, I touched on his stellar performance, but it needs to be said again. He has the BEST southern accent—the kind that makes you buttery—and it perfectly fits this series like a missing puzzle piece. The different voices Patton uses for each character has such a grand individuality, that it has greatly shaped the way I “see” each one. When that creeper Kavisnky first rolled up, I just about died at Will Patton’s old-timey gangster sounding voice. Freaking perfect.
This time around I really enjoyed the subtlety of Blue and Gangsey’s building relationship. During the first book I was worried their forbidden romance would turn into the main story line and overshadow everything else. That’s not why I liked the first book, and after novels like Shiver and Twilight (sorry guys, I’m jut not a fan), I didn’t want to see this series ruined. My worries were all for naught though. Steifvater does an amazing job using small actions or phrases to create an undercurrent of romantic tension that I love. I can’t wait to see it play out over the next two books.
And I’ve saved the best for last. RONAN YOU GUYS. RONAN. He’s just the best and I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS.
To me, the “bad boy” characters always feel hollow. They’re too much like a stereotype and not comparable to any real person, but Ronan is a take on the classic “bad boy” that completely feels genuine. I hate even mentioning that stereotype because I don’t want his character to get pigeon-holed. He’s a loving person with a big heart that’s been hurt, and he’s pissed as hell, and I totally get it. Maybe this is just me personally, or maybe it’s just where I’m at in my life right now, but Ronan is one of the most relatable characters I’ve read in a really long time. I’m so happy he was the central focus in this book and I CANNOT WAIT to keep going.
These are people that I feel like I know. It feels like I went to high school with them, or that we’re neighbors in the same town and that’s the quality really tying me to this series. I’m completely invested in what happens to the raven gang and I’m a little sad I didn’t find this series sooner. Despite all the fantastical monsters and magic, Stiefvater has written a unique coming-of-age tale that everyone can identify with.
This isn’t really a negative comment about the book, but more of a personal observation.
I had a hard time with Adam in this novel. Most of the time I felt bad for him in a wow-that-sucks kind of way, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around his motivations and actions. Obviously Adam was acting different because of his sacrifice to Cabeswater, but it almost felt too out of character to me. It made me sad, because I really loved Adam the way he was and I hated seeing him so out of it. But now that he has a better handle on what’s happening to him, I’m hopeful it will get better for the poor guy. *crosses fingers*
This book is better than the first one. There, I said it. More action, more drama, more crazy magic, and MORE RONAN! If you even remotely enjoyed the first novel, do yourself a favor and give this one a go.