Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Haven’t read The Raven Boys yet? Check out my spoiler free review here. There will be spoilers for book one in this review so don’t read on if you haven’t read it!

I listened to the audio book of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater earlier this month, the second book in The Raven Cycle series. It’s narrated by Will Patton again, who does a great job of creating tension and giving each of the characters their own sound. His voice is very gravelly, which is perfectly suited to Ronan!

The Dream Thieves Maggie Stiefvater Lyndsey's Book Blog

4 stars

Synopsis

The Dream Thieves shifts focus slightly away from Gansey and on to Ronan, who’s learning more about his strange ability to take things – like Chainsaw, the raven – out of his dreams.

“He danced on the knife’s edge between awareness and sleep. When he dreamt like this, he was a king. The world was his to bend. His to burn.”

Adam is now living in an apartment he rents from the nuns, refusing to move into Monmouth Manufacturing with the other boys. Typical Adam.

“It was nothing, but it was Adam Parrish’s nothing. How he hated and loved it. How proud he was of it, how wretched it was.”

Gansey is still looking for Glendower, and now Cabeswater, which has decided to disappear from its usual spot in the forest. The now live leyline is tripping the electrics across Henrietta, power surges causing the town’s generators to blow on a semi-regular basis.

A sinister man dressed in grey has arrived in town and is on the hunt for the Grey Warren, unaware that it’s a who and not a what. And an angry, shaved-headed who at that.

“He was clearly related to Declan: same nose, same dark eyebrows, same phenomenal teeth. But there was a carefully cultivated sense of danger to this Lynch brother. This was not a rattlesnake hidden in the grass, but a deadly coral snake striped with warning colours. Everything about him was a warning: If this snake bit you, you had no one to blame but yourself.”

Review The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater Lyndsey's Book Blog

I really enjoyed this book, it was great to slip straight into the story without too much introduction as we’re already well acquainted with the characters. I actually really liked the change of pace and getting to know Ronan a bit more, and the new characters that were introduced were fascinating and layered.

I’ve seen some people complain that it’s not really a sequel, it’s more like a spin off about Ronan, but I completely disagree (plus, there’s an entire series about Ronan coming soon!). We see plenty of the other characters, I would just say that whereas the focus of book one was Blue and Gansey, in this one it’s Ronan and Adam. I actually think it works better as a sequel than if we’d stuck with Blue and Gansey and left the others as somewhat secondary characters – this way it’s more of an ensemble cast.

“So what you’re saying is you can’t explain it.”
“I did explain it.”
“No, you used nouns and verbs together in a pleasing but illogical format.”

The group dynamic is just as dysfunctional and hilarious as in book one, with the relationships between Blue and Adam and Gansey becoming ever more complicated. I loved seeing more of Gansey’s and Ronan’s families, and it goes without saying that some of my favourite parts happened at 300 Fox Way. Maura, Calla and Persephone are great characters and add a lot of humour to the book.

“I thought you said scrying was a bad idea.”
“It’s like vodka,” Calla said. “It really depends on who’s doing it.”

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I gave The Dream Thieves 4 stars, I really loved being back in Henrietta with this co-dependent, magical bunch, but it has a slightly different feel to The Raven Boys. If I’m honest, I’m not sure about the whole Kavinsky thing, it felt a little bit too convenient, but that might become clearer in the next book.

I’m currently listening to A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, and as soon as that’s finished I’ll be jumping straight into Blue Lily, Lily Blue, so expect a review of book three soon!

Have you read The Raven Cycle series? What did you think? Who’s your favourite character? I was leaning towards Adam but I’ve taken a liking to Noah after this book!

Lyndsey

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I am a member of the Book Depository affiliate program, so if you click through and buy any of the books mentioned in this blog I might make a little commission, but I am not paid to review books and all reviews are my own opinions!

Review of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater Lyndsey's Book Blog

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Welcome back to my blog, readers and writers!

Before we get to today’s review, I have some exciting news! I’m over halfway through draft two of my WIP The Fair Queen, and thought now would be a good time to share another excerpt (you may have read the first draft of my prologue when I shared it a few months ago).

So, now I’m sharing the first three chapters of The Fair Queen with you all! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, email me, tweet me, or leave a comment on here.

All you have to do to get your chapters is sign up with your email address and you’ll receive a link to download them, and if you’re already subscribed there’ll be a link in every email so you can download and read them at your leisure!

Head over to my Books page to sign up by email and get your chapters!

Right, on with the review!

 

The Raven Boys

5 stars

Let me start by saying that I am years behind, the final book in this series was published in 2016, and The Raven Cycle has been on my TBR for ages, but until I read The Scorpio Races recently and remembered how much I loved Maggie Stiefvater, it had languished at the bottom of the list. (I am ashamed. Too many books, too little time.)

Most of the book bloggers and readers I follow online absolutely adore this series, although some weren’t happy with the ending (I’ve only read the first book so far, so I can’t spoil that for you!). I heard that Maggie is writing a companion series about Ronan, so I’ll be looking forward to that when I finish. I’m going to try and avoid spoilers as much as possible – I’m desperate for some fan art, but Tumblr is a minefield!

Synopsis

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is set in Henrietta, Virginia, a small town on a ley line, where psychics are real and magic exists. Gansey is searching for a dead Welsh king, and Blue is trying to avoid kissing any boys because her psychic mother and aunts have warned her that kissing her true love will result in his death.

“Impossibly, Blue realised that this other Blue was crying because she loved Gansey. And that the reason Gansey touched her like that, his fingers so careful with her, was because he knew that her kiss could kill him.”

Unlike her mother, Blue doesn’t have the Sight, but on St Mark’s day, she sees a spirit. The spirits that walk the corpse road on St Mark’s day are the people of the town that will die in the next twelve months. Mostly the sick and elderly. But this spirit is a young man, and for Blue to have seen him must mean that he is either her true love, or she is going to kill him. Or both.

The eponymous Raven Boys consist of:

  • Richard Gansey III, or just “Gansey” – a tortured soul in a Trust fund kid’s body.

“Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.”

  • Ronan Lynch – an angry, dark-humoured ruffian who drinks, swears and offends people. A lot.

“Gansey had once told Adam that he was afraid most people didn’t know how to handle Ronan. What he meant by this was that he was worried that one day someone would fall on Ronan and cut themselves.”

  • Adam Parrish – a sweet, intelligent boy who works three jobs to pay for school and wants to make his own way in life.

“The most important thing to Adam Parrish, though, had always been free will, the ability to be his own master.
This was the important thing.
It had always been the important thing.
This was what it was to be Adam.”

  • Noah – a vague, gentle kid with a warm heart and cold hands.

“Noah appeared beside Blue. He looked joyful and adoring, like a Labrador retriever. Noah had decided almost immediately that he would do anything for Blue, a fact that would’ve needled Adam if it had been anyone other than Noah.”

All but Adam live together in an apartment building owned by Gansey, Monmouth Manufacturing. Adam lives in a double wide trailer with his parents, to his embarrassment, and works several jobs to pay for the half of his school fees that aren’t covered by a scholarship.

The emblem of Aglionby Academy, where the boys go to school, is a raven. Hence the name.

“Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”

The atmosphere of the book is heavy and intense, like a hot summer. For those few weeks in the story, it feels like everything Blue and the Raven Boys do is life-or-death, and it just might be. Stiefvater is brilliant at creating suspense and a sense of urgency, it’s slow-building, picking up speed with each surprise revelation along the way.

The plot, whilst gripping, is almost secondary to the relationships between the characters. I’ve seen the group described as “co-dependent” and that couldn’t be more accurate, I can’t think of another group of teens in a YA novel that need each other quite as much as these do.

“Gansey could’ve had any and all of the friends that he wanted. Instead he had chosen the three of them, three guys who should’ve, for three different reasons, been friendless.”

There are a lot of components to The Raven Boys, but Stiefvater commands them all effortlessly, and it never feels like a single element doesn’t quite fit. Combining Blue’s world of eccentric women, mysterious psychic abilities and strong principles with Gansey’s world of privilege, money and the all-consuming search for Owen Glendower, the lost Welsh king, takes real artistry, and Stiefvater makes it look easy.

I’m giving The Raven Boys 5 stars, it is definitely one of my new favourite books – probably not quite surpassing The Scorpio Races, if only because it’s the first in a series rather than a standalone and so I won’t be satisfied until I’ve read the entire series!

I would liken it to Beautiful Creatures, thematically, which I sadly didn’t finish, but this is definitely the better book!

Have you read The Raven Cycle? Which other books would you liken it to? If not, I can’t recommend it enough, stick it on your TBR or bump it up to the top, and let me know what you think of it!

Lyndsey

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I am a member of the Book Depository affiliate program, so if you click through and buy any of the books mentioned in this blog I might make a little commission, but I am not paid to review books and all reviews are my own opinions!

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Currently reading:

Audiobook

And I Darken by Kiersten White

I’m only about 50 pages into this but I’m enjoying it so far, it’s different to my usual YA reads because Lada starts off as a young girl and grows up throughout the book, so she’s only about 13 right now and already she’s a badass. It’s fascinating learning more about Romania and the Ottomans, and it’s a really interesting adaptation of the Vlad the Impaler/Dracula story.

Paperback

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

I finally finished my beta reading, so I’m going to dive back into this one because it’s been sitting on my bedside table for weeks now, untouched. I’ve heard there are dragons, so I’ll be picking this back up sharpish!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater review Lyndsey's Book Blog

Magical monsters and where you may discover them

The title of this post was my husband’s idea. We went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the other week – we’re both big Potterheads (well, he thinks he is, but he’s never read the books and in my book that doesn’t count). Afterwards, he said “I think you should write a book called Magical Monsters and Where You May Discover Them,” and then he had a good laugh at his own joke.

So, this week, we’re talking about mythical monsters and legendary creatures.

 

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My WIP, The Fair Queen, contains a fair few fantastic beasts. As with the names of many things in the novel (characters, places, etc.), the creatures are all based on British myths and legends.

I use this pin on Pinterest to help me come up with mythical creatures:

Let’s have a look at said beasties:

Banshee – a banshee is a kind of wraith, a female spirit dressed in white with a ruined face, whose scream kills by rupturing the victim’s blood vessels.

Barghest – an enormous black, dog-like beast with bone-white and razor-sharp teeth and claws. An omen of death.

Drac – a water demon, a cross between a mermaid and a sea dragon. Dracae drag victims down to the bottom of the lake, usually resulting in drowning.

Hag – a shape-shifter that appears to young men as a beautiful young woman, and to girls as a haggard old crone. They use visions to manipulate their victims into going with them, before killing them.

Nat – a twig-like creature in a symbiotic relationship with a tree. Usually harmless and peaceful, but will attack in droves to defend their territory.

Selkie – a water creature that appears as a seal-like animal under the water, but on land takes on human form. They are very seductive and manipulative, and are known to entice humans into joining them in their underwater kingdom forever.

Troll – a large, simple beast that usually keeps to itself, but when angered will attack. Not very intelligent, or skilled, but they have brute-strength on their side.

So, those are the magical creatures that appear in book one of the duology, we will probably (read: definitely) meet a few more in the sequel, The Solitary King. They all keep to the original myths quite closely, with a few small tweaks here and there. They may change slightly over the course of editing and revising, but that’s all part of the writing process!

Do you like your fantasy novels to tie into existing myths and legends, or do you prefer exciting new creations?

I hope you’re excited to see how these fantastic beasts fit into my novel and what kinds of trouble my characters get into!

What would you like to know about my WIP in my next blog? Let me know in the comments – I’m thinking ‘get to know my antagonist’, or if you have any questions you’d like answered based on what I’ve already shared.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Lyndsey

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