The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Oh man. I've tried to write this review several times, but I couldn't manage to keep my fangirl and reviewer halves in balance. This time, let's get down to business (to defeat the Huns...). Also, as this is a sequel, there are some spoilery bits below. Nothing major though, so it's mostly safe. Maybe? Eh, use your judgement.
This is the second installment in Maggie's The Raven Cycle quartet, and focuses primarily on Ronan Lynch. Ronan can take things out of his dreams and bring them into his real life, an ability he inherited from his father, Niall. A significant portion of this novel delves into Ronan learning about his dream ability and his family's secrets. I really enjoyed this different perspective into Ronan's life, and the scene where a young Ronan wakes his father is an image that stayed with me long after I finished reading.
"Niall's face was smeared with blood and blue petals. "I was just dreaming of the day you were born," Niall said, "Ronan." He wiped the blood on his forehead to show Ronan that there was no wound beneath it...Ronan was struck with how sure he was that they'd come from his father's mind. He'd never been more sure of anything." (3-4).The first book in this series, The Raven Boys (reviewed here), provides a much more singular look at Ronan. But in The Dream Thieves, we are treated to the full expanse of Ronan Lynch - his admittedly brief moments of kindness, his sharp wit and sharper smirk, his wild streak and unfailing loyalty. I came to appreciate Ronan so much more in this book, and I enjoyed how Maggie's writing style even began to reflect Ronan's perspective - sentences were sharper, there was a frenetic energy to certain scenes that appropriately portrayed Ronan's anxiety. A friend has expressed that she didn't like this aspect of the writing, but it didn't bother me like it did her, so...personal opinions differ. I also found Ronan's relationship with Kavinsky so intriguing (in a Fatal Attraction kind of way, that is). Because going from "hey bro I dreamt you some more of those bracelets you like" to "hey bro if I can't have you bad shit's gonna go down" is really NOT OKAY KAVINSKY but you made a brilliant (if confusing) character.
While Ronan is obviously the focus of The Dream Thieves, each of the other characters has important development. Adam, bless his heart, is really having a tough time post-sacrifice. It's hard to be Cabeswater's eyes and hands when Cabeswater...you know, disappears. And the ley lines are having a power shortage because certain people are dreaming too enthusiastically. But the scenes where we see Adam struggle with his anger were heartbreaking, and the scenes where his heart is breaking had me enraged. There were moments were I felt that Adam was on the verge of becoming too pitiful to enjoy his character anymore (aka Gansey's mom's party), but I'm hoping that Adam's re-centering of sorts does a world of good.
"Sometimes Ronan though Adam was so used to the right way being painful that he doubted any path that didn't come with agony." (71) V GOOD OBSERVATION RO.Speaking of Adam's heart breaking: Blue. I just...I can't with Blue in this book. I know the third book focuses heavily on her, so I'm honestly hoping my opinions change when I read that book. But as it stands, I am not a fan of Blue. Why not just tell Adam about the curse, or even leave out the true love part? The scene between them goes down so badly...and I can't help but think it's largely her fault. I don't want to get too into this because this is where I break down and go into full-on rant mode in my previous attempts at reviewing this book. The Dream Thieves left me unimpressed and unhappy with Blue Sargent. I hate to harp on something negative when I enjoyed a book so much overall, but BLUE WHY DO YOU MAKE POOR CHOICES?
I must say, however, that one of my favorite scenes in this book is one that occurs between Blue and Noah. It's the second half of chapter 31, fellow readers. Yep, that scene. On the first read through I laughed because it's funny and sweet, but as I often do with scenes I enjoy, I read it again. And cried. Because on a second read, it was so sad. Hands-down the saddest kissing scene I've ever read. That's the way I took it, but oh my god y'all.
I genuinely enjoyed this second installment in The Raven Cycle, and gave it 5 stars on my Goodreads page. I loved how visceral this book felt, and there were moments whilst reading when I actually felt scared (hello bird monsters). In certain aspects I think The Dream Thieves surpasses The Raven Boys - it felt more intense, unleashed a wealth of complex plot lines and character development moments. The Dream Thieves stayed with me for days after I finished reading, and I had an hours-long conversation with a friend about all of my theories. I am entirely too invested in this series, and I love it. If you've read The Dream Thieves, let me know! I'm going to buddy read Blue Lily, Lily Blue with a friend very soon, so look out for that review.