Book Review: The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

the-dream-thieves-raven-cycle-maggie-stiefvater-book-review

Title: The Dream Thieves (2013)
Series: The Raven Cycle – Book 2
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 437 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

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.

Review

You guys… I think I’m falling madly in love with this series. I mean, I’ve always known that it’s likely my kind of thing, but I never knew just how much it is my kind of thing. This review might contain spoilers for that first book, so please proceed at your own risk.

The Dream Thieves starts a few weeks after The Raven Boys ended, after Blue and her boys found Cabeswater and all things good and awful about it. There are new villains, new magic being explored, and new challenges to overcome.  Ronan, previously a sort-of-side character, takes more of a central role here, with many, many chapters devoted to his POV and his own character development.

“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”

Make no mistake: this book is really, really, really slow. The first half mostly introduces new characters or expands on previous characters’ arcs, and the pacing doesn’t pick up until much later in the book. The plot is even more complex than before, with various characters having their own conflicting goals and motivations to ‘have a finger in the pie’, so to speak.

I love how Stiefvater develops her characters. All of them are three-dimensional and very well-written, with little details that just endear them to you. The writing is smart and thought-provoking, lending credibility that make the whole book come alive in my head. It’s not exactly emotional (yet?), but it is impactful in its own way.

“You really didn’t see the sadness or the longing unless you already knew it was there. But that was the trick, wasn’t it? Everyone had their disappointment and their baggage; only, some people carried it in their inside pockets and not on their backs.”

Now, this book is weird, but it’s weird in the best possible way. It answers some questions that I had from the first book, but raises tons more in their place. Rules are bent, twisted and broken. Characters surprised me constantly. Some people might dislike this, but I actually really, really loved it.

In the end, I’m just super glad that this book made me want to continue on with the series. Very often second books fail — the plot becoming too convoluted to follow, the characters turning into unrecognisable versions of themselves — but The Dream Thieves quite easily captured my attention and didn’t let go until the final page.

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37 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying The Raven Cycle! The Dream Thieves is probably my favorite book in the series– I loved Ronan’s character development. I agree; it’s such a delightfully strange book. And I just adore Maggie Stiefvater’s writing! Great review, Reg! 🙂

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  2. So glad to see you enjoyed this book! I think this one is my favorite because I love Ronan (even though BLLB and TRK are great as well). This series is definitely weird, but that’s probably why I love it so much! 😄

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  3. glad you enjoyed it! actually this one is my least favorite from the series, slow paced books + prose are never my thing, but somehow this book made it work! (even though it resulted in me not liking it as much). i love ronan’s ability and how it explores more about him, it’s like we finally know more about him!

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    • Thank you! And yeah, I think if you enjoy the prose, you’d likely enjoy the book – Stiefvater’s writing is super smart and really quite beautiful. I love Ronan’s ability too… everything in this book is so uniquely weird, I think it’s what makes it great. 😂

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  4. One of my favorite bloggers absolutely loves this series and she has been pressuring me to read it,and although I want to, I’m also a little nervous. I’m afraid that the slow writing will put me off. But I really do love that it’s also smart and thought-provoking. I’m glad you’re having excellent luck with this series, Reg. Hopefully, you’ll end up loving the series. 🙂

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    • I’d say that if you’re not interested then don’t push yourself – that’s kind of a recipe for disaster, haha. Maybe pick it up when you feel like you’re in the right mood for it? The writing is definitely slow, but if you go in knowing that perhaps you can savour it a little bit better. ❤

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  5. I’m so glad you loved this book so much – and I get your feeling, I thought it was a series I could enjoy just as well, but I didn’t realize just HOW MUCH I could fall in love with it. The characters, the writing, everything really is so alive on the page and makes this read magical ❤

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  6. Great review for this book Reg, I completely agree with pretty much everything you said. The Raven Cycle is one of my all-time favourite series and honestly I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I think all the books are slow to start but it’s worth it because it allows the characters and the setting to be given the development they need, the character development alone is beyond compare in this series.
    The Dream Thieves is probably my second favourite of this series, simply because Ronan is my favourite character and I loved learning more about him in The Dream Thieves, do you have a favourite character yet? Also do you plan to start Blue Lily Lily Blue soon if you haven’t already?

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    • Thanks so much, Beth! Yeah, all the books really only pick up after the 50% mark (I feel) but the writing really makes up for it because it feels like you’re at least progressing in getting to know the world, weird as that world is. 😛

      I actually have finished the series and really enjoyed BLLB too! My favourite character is Gansey, haha – I just love how he’s written to be super wealthy and kind of… guilty about it? Something about that privilege guilt I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in fiction.

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      • That’s all right, and it’s definitely amazing when you find a book like this, where the plot is slow to start but there’s still something that draws you in from the very beginning. The writing is amazing, for me it was really the setting and the magic that drew me in.
        Ohh that’s great to hear, I’ll be keeping an eye out for your reviews in that case! Gansey is an amazing character, they all are actually, and he’s definitely unique in terms of other YA male characters out there who share his privilege. 🙂

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    • I hope you give it a chance! I won’t lie, it’s not for everyone but I really do think the writing is beautiful, the plot is original and the characters very unique. There’s definitely no need to force yourself to love it if you end up not feeling it, though – we all have different tastes. 😛

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  7. YAAAY! I’m so happy you enjoyed this book. I love that we got to learn more about Ronan and his dynamic within the group and with his family. Like you said, the character development is phenomenal and each character is fully fleshed out so you never feel like one overshadows the other. They all retain their own individuality within the group. I can take the slow pacing if it means getting fleshed out characters.

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    • Yeees, exactly! Like they are so unique and distinct, and I can safely say that I’ve never encountered others like them in YA-verse so far. Like, they’re not copycats of tropes, you know? I’m more of a Gansey fan myself but it was super interesting to see Ronan’s background – you really get a feel of why he’s so… weird. 😛

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  8. LOVE this series. I think Stiefvater is creating a Raven Boys cult.

    I was so worried that this second book would disappoint me too (SO happy that it didn’t!). I think perhaps to key to keeping it interesting was the shift in focus to Ronan.

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    • Yes, I think so too! The story went in a different direction than expected because that focus is now on Ronan instead of on Gansey, and while I’ll forever want to know more about Gansey, I certainly didn’t mind the detour. 😉

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  9. Oooh I am so glad you liked this series! It’s one of my favorites. And yes to your entire–The Dream Thieves was slow and complex and weird but the characters and the writing and the plot itself was so beautiful 😍 I really loved Ronan here, and it was such a great insight to his character.

    Who’s your favorite Raven Boy? I don’t like Noah much but I love the other 3 equally.

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    • My favourite Raven Boy is definitely Gansey. I also love Ronan, Adam and Noah, but to me Gansey is so well-developed and much more interesting? Like, I love what his character deals with not only in terms of the magic/paranormal side of things but also his privilege and wealth and his “title”, so to speak. I don’t feel like I’ve seen a lot of that in YA fiction (or fiction in general) so that part of his character really succeeded for me. 🙂

      Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this series too! I heard Stiefvater is writing a series with Ronan as the main character.

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      • Really? I would love to read that too. And now that you mention it, you are right, we hardly ever see characters who are very privileged and so acutely aware of it that they are constantly doing things to make sure they are worthy of all the fortunate things that they have by default. Either we see rich, arrogant boys who have a dark past and are broken inside…or we have boys who are just broken. But a character like Gansey…he is one of a kind.

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        • Yes, exactly! Like I thought that part of his internal conflict was so well-done and realistic, so I really have to hand it to Maggie Stiefvater for that. I suppose with Ronan/the others their conflict was more fantasy-based so to me it’s less real, somehow. 😛

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