The Dream Thieves is the second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s, The Raven Cycle. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers for the first book, The Raven Boys, so feel free to stay if you want to know if the series is worth pursuing.
THE DREAM THIEVES SYNOPSIS
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.
The Dream Thieves picks up a few weeks after the events in The Raven Boys but it doesn’t exactly pick up where the first book left off. After finishing The Raven Boys, I was a little bit confused about some of the things that had happened and the consequences of those things happening. I was hoping that The Dream Thieves would give me some clarification or explain what had gone down in The Raven Boys. However, this book went into a completely different direction and the questions I had at the end of the first book were left unanswered. Which is completely fine… but I just felt like there were more and more unanswered questions and puzzles to solve and very few answers being given.
To me, the plot of The Dream Thieves felt largely unrelated to what happened in the previous book. At times, it almost felt like a filler book before we moved on to bigger things in the next two books. In this novel, we follow Ronan, the impulsive brawler of the group. We find out at the very end of The Raven Boys that Ronan is able to take things out of his dreams (this is not a spoiler since this is never explored in the first book) and in this book, we explore his story and the whole process of the dreaming further. Of course, Ronan’s dream thievery is linked to the greater story of the ley lines and the search for the lost Welsh king, Glendower, but for a huge section of the book, it felt almost like a separate and unrelated story. Having said that, I really enjoyed getting to know Ronan a little bit more because we didn’t get much of his back story in Book 1 and he was the enigmatic and closed off one of the group. I found his background and his family’s story to be really unexpected and interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything we learnt about him.
I enjoyed the plot of this second book a little bit more than the first one. It was magical, fascinating and very strange at times and I couldn’t help but be drawn into Ronan’s story and want to read more. There were some plot points that genuinely surprised me. I did, however, find the climax of the book to be slightly lacking. It wasn’t as exciting and intense as I had hoped it would be but I still really liked it and can’t complain about it too much.
The pace of this book is very slow, probably even slower than The Raven Boys. It took a very long time for the book to get started and I wasn’t really engaged until after the 150 page mark. The story and the characters were still intriguing enough that I finished the novel in two sittings and I never felt bored even though there wasn’t very much happening. Obviously, I wish that the book could have been a little bit more fast-paced but the writing and the pace really enhanced the atmosphere of the book and I didn’t mind it too much after I got past the slow patch at the beginning.
The characters were still the stand out aspect of this series so far. They really filled in the large gaps in the book where there wasn’t much going on. My favourite characters are still Blue and Gansey. Their characters were the easiest for me to relate to and they felt the most normal to me. They’re so full of love for their family and friends and I just want to hug them. I also enjoyed Ronan’s character a lot more in this book. He’s still a little bit difficult to connect with since he’s such a closed off and distant person but getting to know his background and his cool dream thieving abilities really helped me relate to him a little bit more. The character that took a nose dive in terms of likability was Adam. I liked him quite a bit for most of The Raven Boys, but he became very annoying in this one. He acted like he was entitled to things just because he’s had a tough time and he wasn’t able to see things from the others’ perspectives. His need to be better than other people was infuriating and I just wanted him to work with the team!
“Being the Magician isn’t about being powerful when you have things and useless when you don’t,” Persephone said. “The Magician sees what is out there and find connections. The Magician can make anything magical.”
Yes, Adam. Take note. We are also introduced to a few new characters in this sequel. We have Mr Gray, a hit man who’s searching for something called the Graywaren. He does some atrocious things but his character was so complex, layered and unexpected that I really ended up loving his addition to the book. I think what Maggie Stiefvater does so well is really spending the time to develop her characters and make them multi-faceted. She plays around with stereotypes and tropes and I really love her characters.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and characters. I didn’t think the plot of this novel made any developments to the series and it almost felt like a side story with some links to the overall story arc of The Raven Cycle. However, I still really liked the book and I’m predicting that the events that take place in all these books will probably have some impact on what happens in the finale.