Plot:Ronan has many secrets, from others, from himself and some he isn’t even aware of. The strangest and most dangerous of his secrets is his ability to take things out of his dreams. Others covet this power and are willing to go to great lengths to obtain it, even murder. He will have to master his dreams in order to solve the mysteries surrounding his father’s death and aid his friends in their search for a long dead Welsh king.
This review was based on an ARC received at BEA 2013.
If you haven’t read the first book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven Boys, go do that now. I’ll wait.
Done? Good. …I feel like I’ve done this gag before. Oh well, the point is that I love this series more than I can express in words. You could have pried the ARC of The Dream Thieves from my cold dead hands. It has everything I could want in a book: complex, quirky characters, witty dialogue, magical mysteries, life or death situations (including lots of exciting street racing!) and heartbreaking romance. I L.O.V.E. it. One of my favorite fantasy YA series out there, bar none.
If The Raven Boys was about Gansey’s obsessive quest for a lost Welsh king (a storyline that has not been completely abandoned, fear not), The Dream Thieves is about the wild, mysterious Ronan and his many secrets. First among these is his strange power to bring things back from dreams, but this is not his only secret, and far from the most shocking. I’ll let you discover them along with Ronan; it’s a wild ride. Meanwhile Adam is dealing with the terrible choice he made at the end of the last book and Blue is struggling with her feelings for the boys, never able to forget that if she kisses her true love, he will die. There are a lot of hurt feelings and life-altering decisions. And I’d like to say that all turns out well in the end but that remains to be seen. (Noah has a rather small role in this book but I need to mention him because I love him and he has the most adorable scene with Blue halfway through the book.)
There are also a few new characters. Kavinsky is the main antagonist: he is all of Ronan’s crazy, dangerous impulses taken to the extreme. He is what Ronan might have become without Gansey, I suspect, and they are alike in some surprising ways. But most interesting to me is the enigmatic and surprisingly sympathetic hit man known simply as Mr. Gray. He is pragmatic and very good at what he does. And he does some truly terrible things, without apology. But Stiefvater gives him a few human touches, a moral compass of sorts and a tragic past. I couldn’t help but like him.
Meanwhile Stiefvater’s use of language is so unique and beautiful, I kept reading sections aloud to the nearest victim… I mean friend! My boyfriend probably thinks he’s read it at this point and my copy of the book is full of post-it notes. Here are a few random examples that caught my eye:
Blue was a fanciful but sensible thing, like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party. (p. 78)
He was polite like tentacles were polite, testing the surface carefully, checking to see how it reacted to his presence. (p. 204)
Once he had been stabbed with a screwdriver – Phillips head, bright blue handle – and falling in love with Maura Sargent was exactly the same. (p 290)
When I read Stiefvater’s books, I’m reminded that writing can be a beautiful craft. I can imagine her choosing every word with care for maximum impact.
I also need to take a moment to talk about this gorgeous cover. The raven on the first volume was magnificent but Ronan on this cover is perfectly captured and he takes my breath away. Could I get this for my wall please?
The Dream Thieves comes out on September 17th 2013. And as with the first book, Stiefvater has left me desperate for more.