Name: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy > Paranormal
Synopsis: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…
Would I recommend? Definitely worth reading if you enjoyed the first one.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
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Let me start off by saying that I don’t really see why a lot of people think this installment is better than the first one. It’s very good, but is it better than the Raven Boys? I don’t think so, but that might be just me. It’s good, but it’s not better, nor is it just as good.
The Raven Cycle had a certain feel to it. It had a dark, twisted atmosphere and the exploration of the world and the characters did wonders for the book as a whole. I admit that when I went into it, I didn’t expect it to be quite as weird as it actually was, which was perhaps why I was so pleasantly surprised. Maybe I didn’t enjoy this just as much was because I knew how weird this series was, and I knew what to expect going in. I was more familiar with the world, more familiar with the characters, and this may sound extremely weird and unorthodox to some people, but I enjoyed the exploration a little more than I enjoy the actual, concrete thing. This is not implying, in any way, that the Dream Thieves disappointed me. It did not. It just didn’t blow my mind either.
Now, this book follows the several characters we encountered in the first book, but it focuses on Ronan much more than it does on the others. If you’ve read the first book, you know Ronan is a complex, mysterious character who we don’t really understand, don’t really know. This book explores his storyline in great depth. We learn his backstory, his special “powers” as well as some other existing story lines such as the ley lines, the dynamics between Gansey and Blue and Adam’s relationships with the Raven Boys and Blue.
I might be the only one who thinks this, but I believe that this series is much more character-driven than it is plot-driven. I am more invested in the characters than I am in the plot. There is a strong skeleton of a plot in the background which is fleshed out by characters and their relationships with each other. If you’re a very plot-driven person, I would not suggest this series, because there’s a lot of things going on that have nothing to do with the actual plot.
I enjoyed the plot in the Raven Boys more than I enjoyed this one. Maggie Stiefvater is imaginative, I’ll give her that. I mean, her imagination astounds me. She does things with ideas and concepts that I’ve never seen done before, never even thought about. She plays with real-life concepts such as dreams in such an creative, interesting manner. I only wish that she did it more. I only wish she focused MORE on this creativity than she does on the characters. I’m not saying I want less focus on the characters; I’m saying I want more focus on the plot. I wouldn’t mind longer books, you know?
I’ve already mentioned a ton about the characters, but let me just say that this is where Stiefvater’s strengths lie. Her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy had some fantastic characters, just like this series does. Stiefvater has a way with characterization; she builds her people up from the bottom-up, and she breathes life into them by giving them such distinct personalities. They walk and talk differently, they dress differently, they think differently. They are such well-built, well-constructed individual beings. You are completely invested in them, even if you don’t completely agree with their choices.
I know a lot of people have problems with Adam and his somewhat egotistical attitude, and the thing is that even though I don’t have problems with him, I completely understand why some people might. Some people have problems with Ronan and his aggression, and even though I don’t, I understand. These characters are so inherently flawed, but they are lovable at the same time. That’s the sign of good characterization.
I love all the characters. I can’t say anything else, because there’s not much more to say. Way after this series has ended, I will think about these characters as if they are friends. Because they are so real. Their interactions with each other are so real. Their emotions are almost tangible. I could learn a thing or two from Stiefvater when it comes to characterization.
Weird, lyrical, poetic, painful, beautiful. That is all.