by Maggie Stiefvater
To be published by Scholastic Books
on September 17, 2013
Source: ARC giveaway at BEA (Book Expo America)
Summary (adapted from ARC to be spoiler free for Raven Boys:) Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. 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.This review is SPOILER FREE for both Raven Boys and Dream Thieves.
My take: I really liked The Raven Boys, but after reading The Dream Thieves, I think that The Raven Cycle is turning out to be one of my favorite YA series.
There are still two more books to come, so I'll have to wait see what's ahead, but The Dream Thieves was, in a word, fantastic. To me, The Dream Thieves did exactly what the second book in a series should do: deepened my understanding and love for the returning characters, introduced intriguing new characters, raised the stakes, answered some questions while posing new ones, and got me way more emotionally invested in the story.
Here are seven reasons your should read this series -- or, if you've read it, seven reasons you are probably in love with it already...
1. The characters
Every character -- from the main "Scooby Gang" of the raven boys and Blue to the secondary characters -- is distinct and beautifully drawn. Blue, the only teen girl in the mix, is a wonderful blend of adolescent poise and uncertainty. Each raven boy has his own unique charm: the brash, tortured Ronan, the confident, tortured Gansey, the proud, tortured Adam, the melancholy, tortured Noah. I also love the way the story contrasts Gansey's upbringing of power and privilege and Adam's struggle and hardship and Blue's eccentric, chaotic family. As I was reading, every time I thought I'd decide which character I loved most, I read another chapter and changed my mind.
2. The concept
To me, The Raven Boys felt like a blend of paranormal romance with a curse and a quest story, all with a strong grounding in Celtic lore. Then The Dream Thieves shaded in the story with some grittier, darker elements in the form of two new characters -- The Gray Man and Kavinsky-- and a much greater sense of danger.
3. The setting
I love the story's connection to the natural world -- both the concept of the ley lines and the beautiful descriptions of the landscape really ground the story. It's a fully realized story world that blends natural, human and paranormal elements in a way that really works.
4. The romance
As Karyn Silverman of School Library Journal very cleverly pointed out, The Raven Boys was "the opposite of a paranormal romance, in that there can be no kissing and there are way too many boys." I thought that made a nice change of pace. Without spoilers, I will say that I really like the direction that the romance began to take in The Dream Thieves. I always thought that there was a certain person that Blue was suited for, had tons of chemistry with, and would eventually find her way to, and I was happy to see that begin to happen. Others may disagree.
5. The intrigue
There are SO many things I can't wait to find out, things about Butternut and Glendower and Greenmantle and Chainsaw and Orphan Girl. What gives? What's going to happen next?
6. The humor
I'm a sucker for a book that doesn't take itself too seriously, a book that can make me laugh at unexpected moments. Whether it was smiling at the color of Gansey's "ardently yellow" or "aggressively green" polo shirts, smirking at Mr. Gray's impressions of his kitschy B&B, or laughing at Kavinsky and Ronan's hilarious interchanges, I loved the sly and unexpected humor that was woven into this story.
7. The friendship
The ties of friendship and family that the book weaves together have to be one of the most moving parts of this story. From Gansey's friends and their unquestioning devotion to his crazy quest to the women of 300 Fox Way, to the touching friendship between Noah and Blue -- this is a story of all the different sides of family and friendship -- love, rivalry, jealousy, devotion.
If you haven't started this series, yet, now's the perfect time! If you've read The Raven Boys, you're going to love The Dream Thieves. If you've read both, come talk spoilers with me on Goodreads.
The Scooby Gang! I've been comparing this series to Goonies :)ReplyDelete
I still haven't read anything by Stiefvater! I must remedy this one day soon. I do have The Raven Boys.ReplyDelete
I haven't read The Dream Thieves but I hopefully will soon-it's one of my most anticipated books after loving The Raven Boys. I'm very impressed you kept this spoiler free as I feel like my review will be just spoilers.ReplyDelete
Loved your review! I just finish commenting on other post about this story. Lots of peeps are enjoying it.ReplyDelete
I think he made the story for me! You're definitely right that The Dream Thieves did everything the second book in a series has to do and now I can't wait to see how the story continues. Great review =)
Great review! So glad to see you liked this one even more than the first! This one is on its way to me in the mail! Really looking forward to it :-)ReplyDelete
I love your review, Jen! Especially your analysis of what makes it work so well as a second book. I agree with everything you've written, with a slight modification on Blue's relationship--somehow I didn't feel it in the first book, but I definitely feel it now. ;)ReplyDelete
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
Yay for list formats! They are becoming my favorite way to review too:) Yes to all that you said here. I am so impressed with the characters in this book, the old ones and the new faces. And I love the romance that is starting to amp up between Blue and Gansey--and that I finally see what all the Gansey fuss is about.ReplyDelete
Also, THANK YOU once again for picking up a copy of this book for me--it's one of my fave reads of the year and it's because of you that I was bale to read it early:) You rock, chica:)
Awesome review! This series is definitely one of my favourites as well! The Dream Thieves especially was amazing. Everything just seemed to be done right. I love how you mention the humour- I noticed that a lot! It was so cute and natural.ReplyDelete
-P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex
I still haven't read the Dream Thieves and I'm dying to read it (the gazillion reviews aren't helping of course!). I really hope the guy that Blue was moving towards was Gansey in this book but I guess I'll have to wait and see. Great review! :)ReplyDelete
Amazing review! I haven't read this series yet for some reason but I have read other books from this author. It definitely has caught my attention though, I'll have to get it asap. Glad you enjoyed it :)ReplyDelete
Ana's Book Blog
I didn't read your review because I'm reading The Dream Thieves right now but I am so happy that you didn't put this one off like you did The Raven Boys :)ReplyDelete
I really should have started the first book already! This is one of the top series I want to read when I get caught up on some of the other ones I'm reading.ReplyDelete
I love that you referred them to the Scooby gang. lol I loved the first book and can't wait to read this sequel!ReplyDelete
I LOVE the sound of this friendship!! All the characters seem great, and it's awesome that this book does not suffer from middle book syndrome! great review!ReplyDelete
- Farah @ MajiBookshelf
It seems that I'm the only one that did not enjoy this series :( Nothing really grabbed me, I guess. The characters sound lovely the way you describe them as unnique.ReplyDelete
Great review! <33
I've yet to give this series a try (I've always heard that the pacing was too slow) but your review (awesome list!) definitely makes me want to go out and grab a copy of The Raven Boys. I love slow-developing romantic relationships, and looks like this series has it.ReplyDelete
Great review, Jen! :)
Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant
I love how this book built on the setup of the first book. The characters are just fleshed out enough to understand some of their motivations but not to understand everything else yet. I love the mystery of it all! And the humor...goodness Maggie is funny and witty. Great review!ReplyDelete
WOW. You made the review spoiler free for both books? genius! I found that I couldn't discuss TDT without weighing on my expectations from TRB. You did this too with Fire & Thorns - the last book. So good at it too!ReplyDelete
The Raven Cycle is going to be one of my favorite YA series too :D. Even with two more books to come, I love that Maggie wrote these.
"deepened my understanding and love for the returning characters, introduced intriguing new characters, raised the stakes, answered some questions while posing new ones, and got me way more emotionally invested in the story." <-- YES. So true. As a sequel, it does exactly what it needs to. Even still, I think I'm in the minority when I say I liked TRB better o.O. But I hope the next one does as well of a job at the above as TDT did!
Lol, I like how you emphasized each of the boys being tortured ;). "I also love the way the story contrasts Gansey's upbringing of power and privilege and Adam's struggle and hardship and Blue's eccentric, chaotic family." <-- Me too. I think that's one of my favorite parts, and why this read is higher up in the favorites list than the others.
TDT is way grittier and darker than TRB not only because of Kavinsky and The Gray Man, I think, but also because of Ronan as the protagonist. The drag racing? The drugs? wowza. But I'm more a fan of TRB for the reasons you listed - the paranormal blend with the curse and quest aspects.
YES the magical realism parts of it! YES YES YES. I don't read many MR books but the Raven Cycle makes me wish I did.
Yes. Yes. to the romance. I'm thinking the third book is just going to be plain painful for us since dreaded-event will happen o.O.
YES. the intrigue - did you go to Wendy Darling's review? So many lovely spoilery discussions there!
!!! Yes. the sly humor. I didn't get that sense in some of Maggie's other books, but here it really shines. Have you listened to Will Patton on the audiobook? He does a great job of emphasizing it too.
Basically, Jen, you've nailed the series! And I hope you've convinced some others to read it too :).
I really love this series even though there is so much swearing (which you know I don't like), but it is written so well, with a fabulous plot and characters. Some of it is so heartbreaking. I cried, sighed, and laughed constantly in the last book. Maggie is really good at conveying feelings and getting her readers really invested in her stories. Your character descriptions cracked me up a little in that you said they're all tortured, but it is so true too. I think I know who you mean for Blue's love interest, but I'll have to read this one to see if it is. I've got it from NetGalley, so hopefully I'll get to it soon.ReplyDelete
Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings