Off the Shelf: A Review of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog here lately, then you’ll know that a few weeks ago, I discovered Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. Once I got hold of The Raven Boys, as I told you in my review, I COULD NOT put it down, and I immediately ordered the rest of the series and preordered the fourth book.  When I started reading the second book, The Dream Thieves, I had much the same reaction as I had to the first. Homework wasn’t completed. Texts and phone calls went unanswered. Bits of conversation were entirely missed. All because I could not get my nose out of this book, and, well, sacrifices had to be made…

dreamthieves

Summary (via Goodreads)

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

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 raven 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.

I’m so excited to talk about this one!

Things I Liked:

This is the second book in the series, which traditionally in the writing world means that character development is going to vastly outweigh the amount of action that takes place so that the story can be furthered for future books. Is that the case here? Sure. BUT does that make it any less interesting? Heck, no. The book still stands pretty solidly on its own, with only a few parts that seemed somewhat slow. It is definitely a character driven story, and we’re learning a lot more about our precious Raven Boys this go around, especially Ronan.

Speaking of Ronan, he is the major highlight of this book for me. After completing the first book, one of my favorite teenage patrons at the library asked me which Raven Boy was my favorite. I hadn’t really considered it while reading, having loved each of them in their own respect, but I told her that I was torn between two at that point. I loved Adam for the adversity he faced in his everyday life and the motivation that was the driving force behind his character… but there was just SOMETHING about Ronan that I really liked. I found that something in The Dream Thieves. Ronan has an incredible level of depth and so many different facets of his personality depending on who he is interacting with. He’s got issues, issues the others can’t even begin to understand on his level. The guy can physically TAKE THINGS OUT OF HIS DREAMS. Think about that for a second. What would you take? What would you WANT to take? My dreams aren’t even remotely that intense, and the moment Ronan discovers the truth about his family and his home, I didn’t know how I would ever wrap my head around it. Aside from that, any guy who knows direct quotes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is going to totally score points with me.
–Before I rant a little more about Ronan and how he became cemented as my favorite character, let me give you a little SPOILER WARNING. There be SPOILERS ahead, mateys! Yo-ho!
Okay, can we just talk about that big “reveal” for a second? You know the one, Ronan’s “secret”… and I’m not talking about his secret of being able to remove objects from his dreams. I’m talking about this scene with Kavinsky:

“Don’t say Dick Gansey, man. Do not say it. He is never going to be with you. And don’t tell me you don’t swing that way, man. I’m in your head.”
“That’s not what Gansey is to me,” Ronan said.

“You didn’t say you don’t swing that way.”
Ronan was silent. Thunder growled under his feet. “No, I didn’t.”

*STANDS UP AND APPLAUDS*
…THAT…That, my friends, is how you knock the socks off of readers. We’ve had bad boy Ronan all along, brooding, deep, getting into fights, mouthing off, and generally being the “muscle” of the group. But then you read this, and you start to think back to all those times he would subtly notice something about the way Gansey smiled or the way he was the one secretly taking care of Adam’s rent. Add to that the fact that I wanted to strangle Kavinsky if he made one more gay joke…and then BAM! It’s out there. Ronan’s gay. What makes it even more of a twist is that we don’t really get to give it any more thought until the epilogue when it details Ronan’s three secrets. “Ronan’s second secret was Adam Parrish.” My. Heart. Stopped. YES – it all makes sense! His secret is a crush on Adam, and that’s why he’s looking out for him. While I don’t particularly expect this to go anywhere in the next book, it was a major YES moment for me while reading this book. It needed to happen, and it makes perfect sense for Ronan’s character. Perfection. He is, by far, my favorite Raven Boy, and he continues to knock me on my feet with each look into his character.

While we’re talking about romantic feelings, I should move to the next thing that I really liked about this book. So far, this book included, we haven’t really seen a whole lot of physical romance. We know that Blue is afraid of relationships because she’s been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. She’s been sort of paired up with Adam, but this is the book where she really acknowledges that she doesn’t have any real feelings for him, and that her feelings really are for Gansey, no matter how much she tried to avoid that. The line that got me is when they’re together, driving away from all of the things they don’t want to talk about, trying to take each other’s minds off all of the problems and…

“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 then we’d never say anything about it again.”

My heart might have fluttered just a bit. On top of that, there was nothing sweeter than Noah and Blue’s experimental scene where he invited her to try kissing on him. Other than Noah being already dead, this made for a really believable scene. No one’s first kiss is perfect, and Noah’s coaching was adorable. I’m not usually super into romance in a book, but the light sprinkling of it in this book was the perfect amount.

 

Things I Didn’t Like:

I’m utterly confused and unimpressed with Mr. Gray. I came into this book expecting him to be the new bad guy in town, and he is, and then he isn’t, and then it’s questionable that he might be, and then he isn’t. It’s kind of like that. I’m sure he will play a bigger role in the next book, but I really just couldn’t get into him.  The background information about his fear of his brother, what his brother did to him, and how he became a hit man is supposed to make us feel a little sympathy for him, but I just didn’t. Then, when his brother tracks him down and they meet face to face, there’s barely any interaction. I’m expected to believe that he’s been terrified of this man this whole time, and then he just casually strides up and shoots him? I feel like this could have been fleshed out a little more. It just wasn’t enough for me to really connect to his character.

Overall Rating

4.5/5 It’s not quite as good as The Raven Boys, but I don’t really know of any sequel that outshines the first book in a series. Even as obsessed with Harry Potter as I am, the second book is my least favorite of the entire series. So, even though it’s not as good as the first, this book still had me captivated. I can’t get enough of Ronan, and so many things are about to change for him. The last 30-or-so pages of this book held an insane amount of action, and it left us with a major cliffhanger. The only acceptable thing to do now is to dive straight in to Blue Lily, Lily Blue. See you on the other side, readers!

Add The Dream Thieves to your To Be Read Shelf on Goodreads

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