The Dream Thieves book review

by Maggie Stiefvater (2013) ♥♥♥♥

“He danced on the knife’s edge between awareness and sleep. When he dreamt like this, he was a king. The world was his to bend. His to burn.” – Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves

So this book follows on from The Raven Boys and it definitely steps up a gear; it’s always awesome when the sequel in a series is just as good as the first – there’s nothing worse than reading a book, loving it but then finding that the sequel really lets the story down. Not in this one though: the writing is fantastic, the story is dramatic but the character development! We see a lot more and learn a lot more about Ronan in this book, with the focus taken from Gansey and Blue, allowing the reader to explore a new side to this world.

The story starts off pretty much where TRB left off with the search for Glendower still in mind, but with the emphasis taken away slightly compared to TRB. It starts with an intriguing prologue all about secrets…

“A secret is a strange thing.

There are three kinds of secrets. One is the sort everyone knows about, the sort you need at least two people for. One to keep it. One to never know. The second is a harder kind of secret: one you keep from yourself. Every day, thousands of confessions are kept from their would-be confessors, none of these people knowing that their never-admitted secrets all boil down to the same three words: I am afraid.

And then there is the third kind of secret, the most hidden kind. A secret no one knows about. Perhaps it was known once, but was taken to the grave. Or maybe it is a useless mystery, arcane and lonely, unfound because no one ever looked for it.” – Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves

This prologue (the above quote is just a snippet of it) was really thought-provoking and I read it a few times to get my head round it. I do love when you’re reading a sentence or paragraph and the author makes you think profoundly. Words are just magic.

The set up of the mystery of secrets is to pave way for Ronan. He was a very enigmatic character in the last book, the author not giving too much away about him, just that he had a secret and you left TRB thinking there’s something more to him – this dark, threatening character, and of course we see this in TDT. We also get to understand more about why Ronan is the way he is, why he’s so cold and seemingly unfeeling at times as well as learning of his complicated past and seeing his relationship with his two brothers.

In TDT, we are introduced to a new character, the Grey Man. I actually loved this character because he comes across so plain and simple but he’s actually rather dark with a devastating occupation. The Grey Man becomes involved in the life of the raven boys as well as in Blue’s for two very different reasons; he’s creepily calm in the face of danger and the reader is left in a state of wanting more after finishing a particular chapter about him. I looked forward to the chapters with the Grey Man because of the uncertainty and air of mystery surrounding him – I love it when the author describes events in such a way that you know what’s happening, but not why or how so you find yourself incapable of putting the book down because you want to know the why.

I think this book steps up in maturity as well with the characters becoming more self-aware as the whole Glendower quest unfolds. There’s more adult themes in this book as well with the reference to drug use and increased cursing, but it adds to the character development and it enables us to understand how Ronan’s secret takes its toll on him.

TDT is definitely an asset to the Raven Cycle series and worth reading if you read TRB and are unsure whether to continue with the series. Pick up the sequel and see for yourself!

Right, so on to the review containing spoilers now so LOOK AWAY if you haven’t read any of the Raven Cycle series yet.

First thing I must mention is obviously what the whole book is about – dreams and how Ronan can steal from them. I love this idea! The fact that someone can enter a dream and come back with the thing they dreamed about, no matter how impossible it may be? Awesome!

I’d want that in my life. I could just dream a book I want, and have it. God that would be life. Imagine having books before they’re released or even ARCs – I could have a whole wall of books and still have money for other things… I wouldn’t even need to spend money because I could just dream of the thing I want and have it! Wow.

Okay so back to the book – the amount we learn of Ronan is immense: his father and how they’re both Greywarens, his total disregard for Declan (interested to find out why he hates him so much), how much he cares for his friends, and also that he might be gay. It’s hinted near the end that he could be and I have a theory that he’s actually in love with Adam. Kavinsky kept referencing Gansey as his ‘girlfriend’ throughout the book to provoke a reaction from him, but what if Ronan actually loves Adam secretly and then this all blows up at some point, making the apparition that Adam had in the first book of Gansey dying and Ronan shouting ‘is this what you wanted’ all the more painful? Maybe Adam turns sinister, maybe Ronan tries to stop him, maybe Adam kills Gansey – I don’t know but it’s got me thinking.

We didn’t see much of Adam in this book, just every now and then we get reminded that he made a sacrifice to be the eyes of Cabeswater and he gets visions, but there’s got to be more to it than that. I think Adam will go crazy or retreat into the dark at some point, and be lost to his friends. Whatever happens, I do miss the nice Adam we met in the first book.

Blue and Gansey are more like the side characters in TDT and nothing very interesting happens to them, except that Blue had her first kiss with a dead guy. Huh.

So she kissed Noah (which I think is really strange because they’re friends, like how could you kiss a friend and not have it be weird after?) and then he just like disappeared and we didn’t really see him again… Then Blue had a moment with Gansey where she had just broken up with Adam because he’s gone all moody and distant, climbed into Gansey’s car and told him to just drive anywhere, then they ended up like having a very serious hug? Blue needs to calm down, to say she’s referenced as being ‘sensible’ a lot throughout the books, she doesn’t seem to be living up to that really.

So if you’re told that if you kiss your true love, then he’ll die, I just don’t think you’d even let yourself get close to anyone. I think you be too harrowed to even try and hold someone’s hand. Just saying, Blue needs to calm down.

Which brings me on to her mother, Maura. Do all the women in this family have no common sense?! She finds out this guy, Mr Grey (the Grey Man), is a  HIT MAN and she just goes out with him anyway?

Total disregard for the fact that she has a child. Or the fact that she is a person. And people just don’t go on dates with hit men.

At first I was like, oh okay she’s just going on a date with him so she can get his phone and find stuff out about him (because clearly these psychics are secretly wannabe vigilantes) but then no, they kiss in the back garden and end up laying in bed with each other (no need for imagination to guess what happened there) and I’m just like ????

I’d like to think that no matter how bad life gets, I wouldn’t willingly go out with a hit man. A guy who kills for a living. A KILLER. But no, Maura, you do what you want. Even if it is ridiculous.

I mean, the guy even killed Ronan’s dad. Just as leverage to get information about the location of the Greywaren from someone.

I do like the Grey Man as a character though, just not the fact that he’s made out to be more human by having feelings for Maura – the guy kills people, he’s not right. But it will be interesting to see what happens in the next book with him and the raven gang.

I thought the whole Kavinsky character was a good addition to the story as well, helping Ronan discover how to be a ‘dream thief’ and showing the darker side of Ronan – how he enjoys the thrill of street racing and dream thieving. But I was glad he died, because he was vile.

Overall, The Dream Thieves was, I’d say, just as good as the first book, taking a different angle by focusing on Ronan and not focusing too much on Glendower or the fact that Gansey is gonna die soon.

I am feeling a bit worried though, I don’t want Gansey to end up dead – it’s funny how we read something that is definitely going to happen (I’m pretty sure the author will kill Gansey off, otherwise how did he appear on the corpse road?) but we still pretend that maybe it won’t happen, despite having read that it will happen. Somehow, he’ll be saved – won’t he? Well, I guess I’ll just have to read the next book in the series, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, to find out!

Have a great day everyone ♥

“It was mint and memories and the past and the future and she felt as if she’d done this before and already she longed to do it again.” – Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves

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