Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Genre: YA, adventure, fantasy, supernatural
Published on September 17, 2013
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 439
Read From: 9.21.13 - 9.23.13

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 rave 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.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yeah, you can kind of see the character impersonator's face, and I would rather that you couldn't, but I still really love the cover. Broody, mysterious, very atmospheric, it's just plain awesome.

Characters: Ronan Lynch is still my least favorite raven boy. I would never in a million years ask the Author to get rid of him, because he serves a very good purpose to the story and adds a lot to the group. But he still isn't my favorite. Even so, I really enjoyed getting to know Ronan better in this installment. He's a very complex character and I have to admit that after he stood up for Adam in The Raven Boys, while I will never number him as a favvie, I do hold some love and respect for him. Ronan has a lots of ghosts he's facing, and he's a character that the Reader would like to connect to, but he's almost too intimidating for that. He forces the Reader to keep their distance, and it makes him a very interesting character. I really liked seeing more of what made Ronan Lynch tick; what made him the way he was. Noah is still my absolute favorite raven boy; he's just too adorable. Is it even physically possible for him to become more adorable? I just want to give him a big hug! Gansey continues to be a great "main" character (it's hard to pinpoint a main character in Maggie's books); a strong leader, a guy with two faces. One he presents to the public, and the obsessed scholar. I love his loyalty and big brother tending of the other raven boys. Adam was probably the most painful to read about. Still an absolute favorite, he's gone through a lot of changes since The Raven Boys, and it hasn't exactly had a good effect on him. Poor Adam was an emotional wreck in The Dream Thieves, and I was cringing the entire time. He sort of comes full circle, but I still get the awful feeling that by trying to change what he saw in the dreaming tree, he's just made it worse. Adam isn't going to avoid tragedy that easily, and I'm just dreading the moment when things spiral completely out of control for him. It's a good kind of dread, though. Happily, Blue continues to be a great girl protagonist. She has spunk and personality, and she still manages to be "one of the guys" without developing an annoying Attitude. I love her, though I still agree with Gansey: she should be called Jane. :-) There are some new characters in The Dream Thieves as well. There's the Gray Man - a hitman for hire. Call it weird, but the Gray Man was my favorite new character. He was just brimming with a personality that you would never expect a hitman to have. And most Authors couldn't pull off his sort of personality; Maggie Stiefvater can. He had so many quirks, and was a surprisingly really decent and normal guy. His hitman work was just a way to pay the bills; really, he was more interested in writing books about Old English. I just really cannot express how awesome I thought he was. And then there's Kavinsky. Maggie Stiefvater knows how to write disturbing little creeps. She did it in The Scorpio Races with Mutt, and she did it with Kavinsky. Every time he appeared, I wanted to take a shower in acid; he was just so creepy. I absolutely hated his guts, and I loved what he brought to the story.

The Romance: Blue and Gansey are starting to have feelings for each other. However, neither of them want to hurt Adam's feelings (and somehow, I get the awful feeling that this is going to backfire on them later), so they keep their feelings under wraps.

Plot: You know what, I'm not even going to try. As short as the official synopsis is, it does a way better job of summing up The Dream Thieves than I ever could. To put it simply: it was weird. Weird, weird, and weird. Maggie Stiefvater does weird very well; she writes the sort of weird that, were it in the hands of a less skilled Author, wouldn't work. But she makes it work in ways you wouldn't think possible. The Dream Thieves is a tiny bit slower than The Raven Boys. Less time is spent on the actual search for Glendower, and more time is spent on setting up character emotions and relationships. In short, it acts as an in-between book; a bridge into the next two. There's nothing wrong with that; I'm not complaining in the least. The Raven Cycle is a complex series, and because it has so many weird elements, the Author is taking the smart choice and setting everything up carefully and meticulously so the Reader isn't confused later. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters better, spotting new clues that may become important later, and exploring this world of magic and the supernatural. At times, though, the weirdness factor almost got a little too much. I can't elaborate a great deal on that without giving things away, but there were moments when I thought, "O-kay, that's just a little too bizarre." It never went over the edge, but there were brief moments were it came close. If it had been any other writer, other than Maggie Stiefvater, it would have tipped over and had a very long fall, possibly dragging the entire book with it. But thankfully, Maggie Stiefvater did write this and so the weirdness level doesn't go too far.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. We follow various different characters in each chapter, but it doesn't get confusing - or boring. There was never a moment where I thought, "Oh, we're following this character now; yawn!" I enjoyed all of the point of views. The Author's writing style really is quite modern, but it's a modern that I really enjoy. She has a way of pulling her Readers in with her descriptions and overall ambiance. I'm not a fan of modern-based stories, but her stories never feel modern. I just adore everything about her style.

Content: 27 f-words, 27 s-words, 9 g--damns. There are a few off-color jokes and innuendos, but nothing explicit. Like The Raven Boys, I really, really, really wish I could give The Dream Thieves five stars. I love everything about it. But the profanity level in it is just way to high for my liking. Some Readers won't mind this, especially since the profanity is in the context of character personality. However, even if it's realistic for a character to use strong profanity, it still bothers me, and thus I am forced to subject some stars.

Conclusion: While the majority of The Dream Thieves is a tad bit slower than The Raven Boys, the climax totally makes up for it. Perhaps the most bizarre part of the entire book, it's also one of the best. Until you get to the very end, where the Author is absolutely cruel and ends it on the world's worst cliffhanger. I kept flipping the last few pages back and forth, convinced that I was missing something. Surely that wasn't where it ended! The Dream Thieves is not a disappointment at all. It's everything I thought it would be - and then some. Once I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down. My only complaint is the profanity. Other than that, this book totally deserves five stars. It's amazing.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, eighteen-and-up due to profanity and some off-color innuendos. Fans of Maggie Stiefvater will love it, as well as Readers who are looking for something different and intriguing.

Others in The Raven Cycle:
1)The Raven Boys
2)The Dream Thieves
3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue

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