Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #2)

Every once in a while, you run into a series or a book that dares to be different in this world of homogeneity, How many young adult books are out there where the problem is self inflicted or menial? How many paranormal books are there that only use worn out worked over cliches that rarely feel like there is something unique happening? I'm personally a little bit sick of vampires, werewolves and demon hunters. I've heard it all before.

The Raven Cycle is a series that is entirely unique in its genre and is beautiful to read.

First, let's start with the cover. I'm drooling over it to be honest. I love that this author puts the characters on her cover and uses them in a recognizable and interesting way. Ronan and Chainsaw are the pivotal players in this book and there they are... Ronan looks absolutely unapproachable and the multiple birds suggest later plot elements. It's wonderful. And the colors are perfect. This is how covers should be done. 

I'm a sucker for books written in the South and this series is no real exception for me.  This book is set in some of the most beautiful country out there. 
Can't you see all of this mystic stuff happening here? Can't you see a family of psychics thriving in this beautiful isolation in the mountains? The Dream Thieves and the other books in the Raven Cycle incorporate the setting in a seamless way, such that you truly believe that the characters are interacting with the landscape and that this town could really exist.

But what really drives this book are the characters. And not just Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah but also the supporting characters. Kavinsky has depth. He has motivation and he has reasons for the way he acts. The same applies for The Gray Man. It gives the characters life outside of the plot and that is what makes them believable, at least for me. 
Secrets and cockroaches-that's what will be left at the end of it all.
Ronan is wonderfully tortured throughout this book. You come to understand his desperation and angst over everything. Ronan is not just some stereotypical hard edged rich young man.  I mean, can you imagine the emotional scarring of not only losing your father but also your mother and your home all together? But he is also gentle, if need be. He isn't all glares and tattoos. The character growth that Ronan goes through in this book is monumental and the reader gets to watch him transform. And his little revelation at the end? Perfect. It doesn't change the character in my eyes but it gives another element of explanation.
And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.
Adam is another character that shows his stripes in this book. He tries so desperately to be independent but he comes off as whiny sometimes. Sometimes, you have to have someone else to lean on but he sees every favor that someone does for him as a handout. Adam broke away from his family and lives alone in a church. He can't take what he perceives as charity from his rich friends. I can understand that but it is overwhelmingly frustrating when just being a little less proud would benefit him a great deal.
Sometimes Ronan thought Adam was so used to the right way being painful that he doubted any path that didn't come with agony.
 The development of the romance between Blue and Gansey is subtle and perfect in this book. It isn't one of those books where the characters fall in love and everything else, including the plot, disappears in the background. Blue is independent, strong and first and foremost, wants to be friends with the boys.
In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys. 
She acknowledges their flaws and accepts them, just like they accept her and her unconventional family without question. They don't treat her like a girl when they are out and about in the fields and helicopters. She is just as much part of their adventure as they are. Adam and Gansey's relationships with her do not affect her quality of character but rather, enhance it.
I wish you could be kissed, Jane,' he said. 'Because I would beg just one off you. Under all this.' He flailed an arm toward the stars.
And finally, Noah. My favorite out of all of them. He wants so much what he cannot and will not ever have. It's so easy to take being alive for granted but he is their ever present reminder that life is fleeting.  That doesn't stop them from doing stupid things but it at least reminds them that they are indeed mortal. I loved his interaction towards the beginning with Ronan and it actually made me laugh out loud because Ronan would do that. And the way Noah pouts afterwards is absolutely perfect. Noah's interaction with Blue nearly had me in tears because it is so sad and yet so liberating for both of them. Both of them gets to experience something that they otherwise wouldn't and that's bittersweet for both of them.

Come here Noah...let me give you a hug!

There is a subtle humor in this book that doesn't have you laughing uproariously but rather chuckling at the play of words or simplicity of it all. There isn't snark and played out one liners. There is beautiful prose with a thoughtful plot line as well as humor and that's important.

The fantasy elements of this series is so unique that is almost impossible to compare it to other books. Has anybody else encountered something like this? I loved how the ley lines are close to being tangible but one little change in the system makes it so they are disrupted. Adam treats the lines like water where one dam or diversion can cause a massive effect downstream.

It's marvelously well planned out. It's unique. It has strong characters. What more could you want?

I can't stop talking about this book.  This review could go on for pages and pages but I still wouldn't be done with it.  So overall, wonderful.

I can nitpick about the Gray Man and his absolute necessity to the plot but it doesn't take away from the book itself. When you can disagree or dislike a major character but still enjoy the book, that means you are reading something great.

Go out and get this series. Right now. I'll be reading the final book right away because I have to know what happens next. 


  1. AAAHHHHHHHHHH! After this review I know it's destiny we're friends!lol
    No one ever like Noah and I simply don't understand! He's my favorite character and I did cry when they kissed. I read it over like 5 times.

    Also did you get the hint about Ronan and Adam? I adore how this author does a LOT of showing rather than telling. You see it in between the lines. The stolen glances, the always there friend. Please tell me you saw that!

    1. I had to put down the book and walk away when Noah and Blue kissed. Can we ship them? Please? BlueXNoah4Life!

      Hint? Oh no...did I miss something? I mean, I figured out about Ronan. And his relationship with Gansey. I'll have to reread now!

  2. I sooooo freaking ship them!!!! I don't care if I'm on the losing side this time. BlueXNoah4Life!!!!!!!!!

    Crap I don't wanna spoil it for others. So I'll just pm you on GR

    1. Ah I think I know what you're talking about ;-)

      BlueXNoah4Life fanfiction. Now. Hahaha

  3. I loved this book, too. I agree - it's great to finally pick up a YA book that's got something different. And I'm always pleased when I stumble upon a series that already has 3 books published! :)

    1. It is such a unique series and I think that's its major draw for readers. There's a lot of YA burnout on plot lines.

      It's nice to find a complete series, isn't it? That way, you aren't waiting years in anticipation. :-D

      Thanks for commenting!