Monday, September 16, 2013

ARC Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) 

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 5 Stars

Release Date: September 17th, 2013

Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle is a little like wizard chess. The Raven Boys is the initial set-up, The Dream Thieves the careful maneuvering of pieces on the board, and now, with everything in its place, with secrets having emerged inside-out and back again; now, the real battle can begin. Stiefvater's latest is a mind meld; surprisingly lucid, utterly unbelievable, and wholly pleasing. If you aren't dreaming about this book afterwards, then you haven't read it right.

What makes The Dream Thieves stand out from its predecessor is its pacing. Where The Raven Boys was languid, an unusually casual pace with an aura of mystery that culminated - unfortunately - in an ending that left readers (i.e. me) wanting, The Dream Thieves is a hot Virginia summer; lazy, slow, creeping, and steadily building up to a stunning conclusion that makes the entire journey worth the wait. Moreover, it introduces a handful of new characters who not only enrich the novel, but who enhance the characters we've already come to know and love. It takes talent to create three-dimensional characters, but it takes genius to forever peel back layer after layer, making the reader feel simultaneously as if they know everything about the characters and nothing at all.

The Dream Thieves has been hailed as Ronan's story - and Ronan's story it is. That's not to say that there aren't glimpses into Adam, Gansey, Blue, and - a new "villain" I love - The Gray Man's perspectives, but it certainly does place most of the focus on Ronan. In The Raven Boys, Ronan is largely a mystery, which makes the scrutiny into his life that this novel provides necessary. I was one of the few readers who dismissed Ronan's "charm" in the previous novel, but his pain and insanity won me over in this installment. Moreover, Stiefvater meticulously answers all unanswered questions regarding Ronan's mysterious abilities, leaving practically no stone unturned. While there are still mysteries remaining - Where has Neeve disappeared off to? What is the extent of Adam's newfound powers? How will Blue's curse manifest? Where is Glendower? - Stiefvater bestows us with many unbidden answers nevertheless. In my opinion, this decision only makes the novel stronger, giving us more than enough information to keep our curiosities sated, all while fanning the flames.

One of my favorite aspects of The Dream Thieves, though, is the fact that Stiefvater enables us to view our favorite characters from the perspectives of others. Even though The Dream Thieves is Ronan's novel, the story never ceases to revolve around Gansey. It's as if his name is whispered across the pages for, despite the focus on Ronan's dreaming abilities, the plot continues to spin around Richard Gansey III. Every plot device, from the large to the minuscule, are all pieces in Gansey's quest for Glendower; every character is present only because of their connection to Gansey; every unrelated action, no matter how strange, somehow comes back to Gansey. Even better, though, is the fact that Gansey continues to morph and change, depending on the eyes who view them. The Gansey that Ronan witnesses is different from the Gansey that Blue sees under that exterior, and I love that despite the continued ordinariness of Gansey among his Raven Boys, he never ceases to change. It is Adam, however, who takes the cake when it comes to morphing. Out of all these characters, my heart breaks the most for Adam, whose darkness bleeds through these pages. The Dream Thieves stretches the boundaries between good and evil, especially so with The Gray Man who is both hero and villain, but a constant remains that these characters are ones we cannot fall out of love with. I love Adam, I love Ronan, I love Gansey, I love Noah, I love Blue...I love them all and no matter what nightmares emerge from the recesses of their mind, I will always continue to feel for them.

The Dream Thieves is brilliant precisely because it is a blend of perfect qualities. It contains Stiefvater's signature writing style; beautiful, gorgeous prose that sticks in your mind and refuses to fade away. It has a breath-taking cast, full of characters who make you question your own reality for, surely, they cannot be fictional. Its plot, though slow, is beautifully so, introducing new beings seamlessly into the tale. And yet, best of all, it clinches these characters ever closer to your heart. No matter how magnificently a novel is written and plotted, it is nothing without those raw, brutal emotions that rip through your body as your eyes frantically cross the page; and on that count, Stiefvater more than delivers, going above and beyond all hyped-up expectations. I am left wondering only one more thing: can Stiefvater possibly get any better than this?


  1. One of my favorite aspects of The Dream Thieves, though, is the fact that Stiefvater enables us to view our favorite characters from the perspectives of others.

    YES! I loved how seeing someone else's perspective made us look at situations and relationships differently, whether it was a WHOA moment or just in a slightly "hmmm" sort of way. And of course, the big big thing that we find out makes the multiple POVs so important, too--I want to reread both books now to see the clues that she no doubt dropped.

    I'm so glad you loved it, Keertana. I agree that the pacing is much improved in this book, and I'm SO glad to find someone else who has as big of a soft sport for Adam as I do. I love that you say his darkness bleeds through the pages. I LOVE THEM ALL, TOO.

    I am left wondering only one more thing: can Stiefvater possibly get any better than this?

    Probably. Although we might die.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  2. ^ LOL For Wendy's last comment. I'm afraid that it's possible.

    For your review, well let's just say that I couldn't wait till the book is out but now I want damn time machine and I want this book NOW! Oh my, it sounds even better than I though it would be. Really wonderful review Keertana :)

  3. AHHH!! Another 5 starred review for The Dream Thieves.

    @Wendy I'm already dying from excitement!

  4. I'm so glad Ronan won you over in this book! I loved his character in the first (and his relationship with Gansey and the other boys) but I thought everything was just perfectly written here. And yes! I also think that it's brilliant that we get to follow ALL our favourite characters, even if the story isn't being told from their perspective. Maggie Stiefvater does that so well.

    "I love Adam, I love Ronan, I love Gansey, I love Noah, I love Blue...I love them all and no matter what nightmares emerge from the recesses of their mind, I will always continue to feel for them." ---> ME TOO, KEERTANA. I haven't felt so attached to a whole cast characters since Harry Potter, and that's almost too mind-blowing to think about.

    I kind of don't want this series to ever end, but I can't wait to see how it all wraps up.

    Stunning review as always!

  5. I was completely fascinated by Ronan in The Raven Boys, so while I'm a little disappointed this book doesn't address the whole Blue/Gansey curse situation as much, I'm thrilled we get to spend so much time with him. He's just such a layered character, and I love nothing more than to burrow through layers when I'm reading. So glad to know you loved this Keertana, I'm excited to start it!

  6. Oh these comments above I wish I could have something so passionate to say like that... I started reading The Raven Boys and I just couldn't get into it. Though I know the reason was that my head wasn't into it for some reason. So I WILL go back to it because I think I will enjoy it and even more the characters, Blue, Ronan and everyone. Great review, Keertana! :)

  7. God--another gorgeous review, Keertana! And I totally agree that though this book is Ronan's story, all roads lead back to Gansey--I said the same thing in my review! I haven't always had it for Gansey but now, after reading The Dream Thieves, I get what all the fuss is about:) How exciting is it that we have two more books left in this series? I don't know if she can get any better--but I wouldn't bet against her:) Fab review:))

  8. I didn't read the whole review, because I didn't want spoilers of The Raven Boys! I still have about 100 pages left - and I LOVE it so far! I just wanted to see your rating, and I'm glad to know the sequel is just as good!

  9. Keertana, you and anyone else reading this comment will surely kill me. I still have not read The Raven Boys. I know! Stab me right now! I'm getting to it though. I swear! I've been waiting for The Dream Thieves to release, so I would be able to marathon the two. I'm so happy to learn this series keeps getting better, and I'm excited to know the high praise everyone is singing to Stiefvater is rightly deserved. She's one talented writer, that's for sure! I'll come back to you with my thoughts once I become properly introduced to the series. :)

  10. Oh I do agree with everything here. I admit I didn't love Adam until toward the end when he started thinking about someone/thing besides himself. I also loved Blue in this tale. Brilly review!!

  11. Your reviews just take my breath away, Keertana! It's been a long time since I read The Raven Boys and I must confess to forgetting some finer details, but with Maggie's recap, I should enjoy this one fully THE SECOND it arrives. Hurry up, mailman!

    I thought she couldn't get any better after The Scorpio Races, I honestly did, but while she didn't prove me wrong with The Raven Boys, I have a feeling she might with The Dream Thieves. I'm very much looking forward to this.

    1. Maja, I loved this book, though I still think TSR is her best piece of work, along with Forever, but this is right up there with them. I can't wait to see what you think!(:

  12. Amazing review, Keertana!:) You know I loved this, too. You are so right, the stories always come back to Gansey which is okay because I adore him. Adam makes me sad, he has a darkness that makes me worry what's in store for him.

  13. I'm not even kidding when I say that your review reminds me of Stiefvater's writing. It was so beautiful and this one of my favourite reviews from you Keertana. I loved everything about it. You know I'll talk more about the book with you once I get my copy of it.

    I liked how you said you loved all the characters despite the nightmares that might come back to haunt them in the future. I have to say that I'm terrified for Adam after reading both your review and Sam's. I adore that boy. It's a different kind of adoration in comparison to how I adore Ronan. I really don't want anything bad to happen to him, I don't think I could handle that very well lol.

    Fingers crossed that I get my copy sometime next week!


    1. Savindi, thank you for your kind words about y writing! I feel as if this review is so inadequate as it doesn't even begin to touch upon my love for characters such as Kavinsky or The Gray Man, but I didn't want to give too much away. And Adam...your heart will break, sadly, but I think there are slivers of hope. Adam reminds me of Sirius, in the sense that his circumstances are always fighting against him, but I'm hoping Adam's future is much brighter. (Funny how Gansey's the one who's going to die and yet we all think Adam is the most unfortunate...) Anyway, I can't wait to discuss this with you soon!(;

  14. I also used the word "mind melt" when describing this book on Goodreads! It took me almost 3 months to write a review for TDT, which I still have not posted, because as everything gets more complex it's hard for me to pair it down for a review or coherently talk about how amazing Stiefvater is. Characters, Pacing, Layers, all big YESes to those concepts. I agree and also talked about them. SO MANY questions left unanswered, and I love that we still don't know exactly where Stiefvater is going with all of this book. But I do love everything we learned about Ronan.

    "One of my favorite aspects of The Dream Thieves, though, is the fact that Stiefvater enables us to view our favorite characters from the perspectives of others. "

    I saw that Wendy highlighted this sentence above, but I had to do it also because it is the heart of why I love Stiefvater so much. In fact, this is exactly what I talked about in my LINGER review and it's one of the reasons I love the inclusion of Cole and Isabel in that series so much, because we get to see Sam and Grace and Cole and Isabel through the eyes of themselves and 3 other people and it just makes me want to cry I love it so much. The same here with these characters in The Raven Cycle. I actually asked Stiefvater about this at an event last fall for The Raven Boys and she said that it is something that she does consciously because one of the authors she loved most growing up did this and it always struck her (I am completely blanking on WHO the author is she spoke about). But it just makes her stories stick out to me and is one reason why she will always be a favorite.

    I agree, that this book is well written but it is my emotional connection to the story and characters that makes Stiefvater's books shine. Her more personal scenes between characters are why I keep coming back. LOVELY review. Sorry I went on a bit here!

  15. This series is wonderfully imaginative, mysterious, and captivating. I love the characters and the combination of adventure & the supernatural. Great read for a YA audience or adults!
    Highly recommended Alaska Brown Bear Hunts


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