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.