The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Digital Audiobook narrated by Will Patton
Published by Scholastic Press on September 17, 2013
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Length: 439 pages or 12 hours, 45 minutes
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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…
While I fell completely into The Raven Boys and wanted more of this strange and unusual world, The Dream Thieves left me decidedly unsatisfied. My understanding of the fan community is that The Dream Thieves is often a favorite in the bookish community, so this is probably a bit of an unpopular opinion…but it just didn’t do it for me. I’m sorry, but there you have it.
This isn’t to say that The Dream Thieves is an inherently unenjoyable book. It’s still entertaining, and for fans who like Ronan’s character, this book will be a holy grail of awesome. I’m here for Richard Gansey III and the hunt for Glendower, so fans of the series will probably be able to see why this one fell short for me. There’s very little time spent in The Dream Thieves looking for Glendower and an awful lot of time sorting out Ronan’s family affairs and watching Adam fall apart. Since I’m not crazy about either of these characters, my interest tended to wane. It’s still immersive and fantastically written, but I just found myself impatiently asking, “Okay, but how about one of Gansey’s chapters now?”
I think that The Dream Thieves reads like a typical second book in a longer series. In book one, we get the main plot points and adventure, but book two is really just used for further developing characters and subplots that will ultimately lead to strengthening the plot in later books. It’s a necessary tool, but just not as jaw-dropping as the rest. Unless, like I said, you’re a fan of Ronan Lynch. Or Adam Parrish I suppose. This book deals with Ronan sorting out the way he carves things from his dreams and manifests them in the real world, and while Gansey is off in DC schmoozing, we spent a lot of time with Ronan learning and experimenting. In the chapters that aren’t about Ronan, it’s about the way Adam’s sacrifice has changed him, and him trying to come to grips with it. And in the chapters that are neither about Ronan and Adam, we hear about Blue Sargent’s growing restlessness and desire to be something more, which ultimately leads to her love story as well. It’s all tidy housekeeping.
There’s only one scene that really stood out for me in this one, and it was a Blue and Noah scene. I adore their casual friendship. I like the way he pats her hair every time he sees her, and it breaks my heart when he has to replay his death. Noah is a character that hovers on the edges of things both within the world of the book, and while you’re reading it. I really enjoy Noah’s character, because he’s one of those characters that leave you wanting more. He had a couple of good moments here, and I thoroughly enjoyed him.
Another sort of under-the-radar character that got some love here is Persephone. For me, Persephone is this sweet enigmatic person and I loved that we got a little peek at potential backstory. With Gansey’s quest taking a backseat, it’s a good time for some of the quirky characters to get a moment in the sunlight.
On the other hand, we had the greater inclusion of the Lynch brothers as a trio, which I felt dragged a bit. Matthew’s brought in early to create sympathy for event later in the book, and I just didn’t get attached to him. Additionally, there are whole chapters told in “The Grey Man’s” perspective. I understand the choice to include this character to show the stakes, but ultimately, The Grey Man was a character who came and then went and didn’t really make a difference. It was all very… middle book.
I suppose that’s not really fair, but as a whole, I feel like I could take or leave this book and other than a couple of role shifts, I wouldn’t notice it was gone from the series. That said, I also haven’t read the rest of the series yet, so I’m not sure if it all plays a big part later. It was written in the same spirit, but didn’t draw me in.