Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


Summary
from the inside of the ARC (the description on Goodreads is rather non-existent), but keep in mind that things in ARC’s don’t always stay permanent:
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.
Of the The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stievfater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.
Review
So, I was left a little speechless after finishing this one. Maggie’s prose again is the stuff that leaves me with goose bumps. This was the kind of book that makes you pause and re-read moments out loud mid-way through just to hear how it sounds spoken out loud. It’s one of those YA books you don’t want to read too fast (though you totally could because the story/mystery/supernatural suspense is spot on) because each sentence is just so well put together that you want to savor it slowly, keep it from ending.
And I wouldn’t even consider myself the biggest Stiefvater fan. I’ve either loved or most definitely not loved her past work. I devoured The Raven Boys though, and I was not disappointed with this sequel. I started the ARC while waiting in line to meet another author at BEA, and I remember thinking, “I wish I was at home in my reading spot right now, so nothing would distract me from these characters.” The book actually made me want to leave the conference I’ve called, “my Disneyland.”
At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel because a large part of the book centers on Ronan, a guy who was never my favorite character. The book does do a lot of the back and forth point of view shifts Stiefvater is famous for, so I did still get a lot of Blue and Adam and Gansey. But, it’s always hard to get into a character’s point of view who you just cannot relate to. And who can relate to Ronan? He’s violent, intense, dark, and brooding. He never seems to laugh and he’s always on edge.
But Maggie’s character development is just so good that by the time I was a chapter or so in, I loved Ronan with all my heart. I felt so bad for him and his younger brother. I wanted to battle his night terrors with him and kick his older brother somewhere it would hurt. I also came to love a newer character who’s actually a hit-man! Maggie has this way of writing characters that has you feeling like you know them. The hit man actually ends up being a love interest for Blue’s mom, and while this sounds kind of terrifying, it was just pure brilliant.
The crazy psychics that Blue lives with, really stepped it up a notch in this sequel to help out Blue and her friends. There’s tarot readings and psychic games. There’s a disappearing forrest, magical artifacts, a house of stolen objects, dream creatures, dragon battles, ghosts, and sacrifices.
And in between all the adventures, the searching for Glendower, the robberies, the supernatural elements, and the dark dream world Ronan learns to begin to navigate, is all of the amazing tensions from earlier in the series. Blue comes to terms with who her actual true love is (and who she will never be able to kiss –because it has been prophesized that if she kisses her true love, he will die). There’s all the tension between the haves and the have-nots, the wealthy and the poor, the Aglionby students and the locals, Adam and Gansey. There’s also Adam’s dark past, Ronan’s comatose mother, the hit-man’s serial killer brother, and Kavinsky (another raven boy), who is just as dark as Ronan, but not quite as good.
It ends with the kind of classic cliffhanger you come to expect in these YA series. But it does also end with a little bit of closure (which is beyond nice!). A couple of things do actually come to an end in the sequel, and I’m more than okay with this. A lot goes down in the ending chapters and it was a little too hard to savor the prose at the end because I was so on the edge of my seat.
This book is a pure, beautiful coming of age story. The characters are beyond three dimensional –they are real. Blue and the boys are pushed and pushed to their limits, and they are all asked to show their true colors. Some of this book was also scary for me. Some of the stuff in Ronan’s head was just so creepy and dark. It’s one of those books that has me still thinking about it, way after I finish its last page. This gets a 10/10 from me. I think I even liked it better than book 1.

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