Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle, book #2
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Source: ARC won from Fic Fare; from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
I am steadfastly unapologetic of my Maggie love. No matter if she's writing about homicidal faeries, boys trapped in wolves bodies, killer water horses, or a group of kids searching for a Welsh king, her writing never fails to be evocative, lyrical, and whimsical. I've read every novel she's written to-date, and I'll be honest, I'm having a difficult time deciding my favorite now that I've read The Dream Thieves. Before this book, I would still have been able to say that The Scorpio Races would forever remain my favorite Maggie book, even despite how much I enjoyed The Raven Boys last year. I mean, even the author herself has proclaimed this her new favorite. Is it any wonder I'm waffling?
Prior to picking up this book myself, I'd seen others call this "Ronan's book". And it kind of is. Didn't he deserve his own side of the story after that rather shocking revelation at the end of The Raven Boys? And that's only the beginning. You have no idea what this guy is capable of...and neither does he! Ronan is a complicated guy. You empathize for his loss and his lack of familial support, but you also wonder how Gansey can stand to be friends with a guy who is so clearly his polar opposite. But that's the beauty of the relationship between the Raven Boys...and Blue; can't forget her. They all come from such different backgrounds and have such contrasting aspirations in life and yet they all come together in search of Glendower. I digress, but I just can't get over that group dynamic...it's almost as interesting as the one between the women of Blue's family.
Anyway, back to Ronan. He is special. All the characters in this series are special, but Ronan has a gift, an unbelievable, awesome, dangerous gift. And for much of The Dream Thieves, he's practicing mastering said gift. I found his talent interesting, but it wasn't until Kavinsky abruptly arrived on the scene that it truly caught my attention. Kavinsky, with his white framed sunglasses and his souped-up Mitsubishi, is the character you loathe to like; he's equal turns cocky and disgusting and dangerous, manipulative and calculating, and he wants to team up with Ronan. What a terrible and terrifying alliance that would be! (The following video is totally relevant...watch it.)
So much happens in this book as the quest for Glendower continues, though the group is really no closer to finding their Welsh king than they were before. That said, I felt like some of the magic had gone out of the story...literally. The lines that separated reality from the surreal in the first book are no longer blurred, except when Ronan dreams, and I love how the magic disappearing in one area correlates with the magic appearing so brazenly in another. This right here is some fascinating story-telling.
Despite the fact that this is a Ronan-centric book, there's still a little of everyone's story built into it. Adam is angry and a bit self-destructive. Blue is sad and lonely. Gansey is still driven, determined, and dapper. Noah is still dead, and because of circumstances created by the ending in the previous book, he's noticeably absent from a good chunk of this one. But, oh, when he's there, he is even more adorable than I remember...and sweet and charming and just.... *sigh* Oh, and Maura gets herself a hitman love interest. And I really liked his character's inclusion in the story. There has always been heavy emphasis on morality (and mortality!) in this story, and Mr. Gray/the Gray Man toes the line superbly.
"Like, if you kiss your true love, he'll die," he said, "or is it when you kiss your true love, he'll die?"There may be a kissing curse on Blue, but there is plenty of kissing to be had in this book. Maybe not in the way you might expect...I did tell you Maura landed herself a hitman, right? ;0) But that near kiss....it almost undid me. It took my breath away more than an actual kiss might have...the potential for disaster there is astounding, and yet I want it to happen so badly.
"I don't get what the difference is."
He rubbed the side of his face on the pillow. "Mmmmsoft," he remarked, then added, "One's your fault. The other one, you just happen to be there when it happens. Like, when you kiss him, POW, he gets hit by a bear. Totally not your fault. You shouldn't feel bad about that. It's not your bear."
"I think it's if. They all say if."
"Bummer. So you're never going to kiss anyone?"
"Looks that way."
Oh, that ending! Why does Maggie insist on tormenting us so?!? Things were going so well, er, well, as good as they're going to get for these characters any time in the near future. But man, does Maggie like leaving us on the edge of a precipice! It's going to be torture waiting another year for the next book, but it will definitely be worth the wait.
**I did miss Will Patton's narration, though. He provided all the voices in The Raven Boys audiobook and is doing the same for the audio for The Dream Thieves. Even so, I still heard his raspy voice for Ronan and the slight Southern drawl for Adam, etc., in my head while I was reading this one. That's the sign of a truly good narrator, if you ask me: when you can't imagine the voices any other way. If you haven't checked out the audio, I highly recommend it.
"So what you're saying is you can't explain it."
"I did explain it."
"No, you used nouns and verbs together in a pleasing but illogical format."
He didn't say, Or maybe something terrible happened to Adam that day he sacrificed himself in Cabeswater. Maybe he's messed up all of Henrietta by waking up the ley line. Because they couldn't talk about that. Just like they couldn't talk about Adam stealing the Camaro that night. Or about him basically doing everything Gansey had asked him not to. If Adam was stupid about his pride, Gansey was stupid about Adam.
If he were a god, he thought, this would be precisely how he'd create his new world. Unrolling it like a carpet.
Adam's response was buried in the sound of the second-story door falling open. Noah slouched in. In a wounded tone, he said, "He threw me out the window!"
Ronan's voice sang out from behind his closed door. "You're already dead!"
"I'm very nearly drunk enough to be transcendent," Calla said after a space. She was not the only psychic drinking, but she was the closest one to transcendence.
Gansey ran over the memory until he no longer felt the thrill of hearing Glendower's name whispered in his ear, and then instead gave himself over to feeling sorry for himself, that he should have so many friends and yet feel so very alone. He felt it fell to him to comfort them, but never the other way around.
As it should be, he thought, abruptly angry with himself. You've had it the easiest. What good is all your privilege, you soft, spoiled thing, if you can't stand on your own legs?
"Are you ready?" Ronan asked.
"What is it I'm preparing myself for?"
Behind the door, something scratched on the floorboard.
Tck-tck-tck. Like a mallet dragged across a washboard. Something in Gansey's heart thrilled with fear.
Ronan said, "What's in my head."
Gansey didn't think there was a way to steel oneself for that. But he helped Ronan push the bookshelf out of the way.
Gansey threw open his door. Gripping the roof of the car, he slid himself out. Even that gesture, Ronan noted, was wild Gansey, Gansey-on-fire. Like he pulled himself from the car because ordinary climbing out was too slow.
This was going to be a night.
"You're being creepy," Blue said. "Maybe you mean to be, but in case you're being accidentally creepy, I thought I'd let you know."