YA Review: THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first book in this series–THE RAVEN BOYS–earlier this year, but when I finished it, I had a hard time putting into words what I liked about it. I think I’ve figured it out, so I’m ready to review the most recent book, THE DREAM THIEVES. While you should read THE RAVEN BOYS first, this review doesn’t contain any spoilers for either.

The Dream ThievesIf 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.

Here are the five things I love most, really about both books.

1. Gansey – There’s something so engaging about Gansey, and I love the way Maggie Stiefvater describes his charm. I tried to find a small enough sample to include here, but it’s too hard to nail down with a single paragraph. There’s a scene in the book where Gansey and Adam are at a political event for Gansey’s mother. The way Adam describes Gansey’s interactions with potential donors is a perfect blend of showing and telling the way Gansey not only puts everyone at ease but makes them feel like they have his complete attention and approval. He’s such a richly drawn character.

2. The explanation of the magic – This series takes a different approach to what most of the world would consider magic by giving it a scientific bent. At one point, Gansey says, “Multiple studies have suggested that clairvoyance lies in the realm of science, not magic. … Time’s not a line. It’s a circle or a figure eight or a ****** Slinky. If you can believe that, I don’t know why you can’t believe that someone might be able to glimpse something farther along the Slinky.”

3. The poetry – Maggie Stiefvater uses a number of poetic devices in her writing. I may  have been an English major, but poetry was not my thing, so I can’t even name all of them. There’s a cadence to the writing that is beautiful. Objects aren’t just objects. They come to life through the writing. Like when Gansey glances at a text on his phone and sets it aside, Ronan thinks: “So [the phone] sat there with its eyebrows raised, waiting.” I would never think to write something this way–it’s not my style–but I appreciate the perfectness of it in this book.

4. The craziness – I have to say that about half the time I have no idea what’s going on. There are constantly new clues and plot points being thrown in that don’t fit together right away. And yet I have confidence that they all will in the end, so I file them away and wait for their significance to be revealed.

5. The forbidden romance – The description for this book doesn’t tell you about Blue Sargent, the girl who joined this group of boys in their search in the first book. She lives under a prophecy–or a curse–that when she kisses her true love, he will die. While I don’t think all books need to end happily, I’m hopeful it’s a curse that will be overcome in some way by the end of the third book. It provides for some great romantic tension in this one.

I will put a note of caution in here for any of my younger followers that there is a lot of language in this book, mainly due to a character with whom Ronan interacts.

Who else is reading this series? What do you love about it?

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