Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.
Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.
Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
Audiobook, Unabridged; Audible Download, 13 pages
Five Stars: A complex, stunning and beautifully written book.
The Raven Boys, along with Blue, are still on the hunt for the magical dead king. However, things are much more complicated. The ley lines are awake but messed up, and Cabeswater is suddenly noticeably absent. Danger is stalking them, and worse, Ronan is haunted by his dreams. Even Noah is having trouble remaining visible. Can Ronan master his dreams and help Gansey find the elusive dead king? Will Blue kill her true love with a kiss?
What I Liked:
- Once again, the magic was back with Ms. Stiefvater's writing. I was captivated and in awe of her masterful brilliance with words. It is hard to describe the beauty of Maggie Stiefvater's work as my words can't begin to compare to her mastery. Ms. Stiefvater has the ability to take words and use them in a way that makes you feel. She tickles your senses with her words, and you are able to hear, smell, and practically touch things in her books. There are those who use words in a utilitarian way to tell a story, and then there are the few who grab words and bend them to capture your imagination and infiltrate your dreams. Ms. Stiefvater is one of those authors who has an amazing gift for story telling. If you have not read anything by Maggie Stiefvater, you are missing out. Her work is outstanding, stunningly detailed and exceptional, and she is without a doubt one of my favorite authors.
- This book is completely character driven. I was once again reunited with the quartet known as the Raven Boys. This time, the story digs a little deeper and peels back the layers, and I was able to learn more about what made each boy tick. While the first book was more Gansey and Blue's story, this one is Ronan and Adam's story. Ronan takes center stage and he is incredibly complex. At first introduction, he was not the most likable of the Raven Boys. He is sharp tongued, irreverent, harsh, brazen and rebellious, a total bad boy. However, underneath the tough exterior there is a kind heart and unwavering loyalty. Ronan has a softer side that is completely unexpected. It flares through in an anonymous kindness to another Raven Boy. It is also evident in the way he looks after his younger brother. There is so much more to Ronan than I ever thought possible, especially when it comes to his amazing secret. Ronan has the ability to steal stuff from his dreams, but his gift is also the stuff of nightmares. It was fascinating to get to know Ronan. I was surprised at how much I grew to love this bad boy. Adam was so endearing to me in the last book, but this time, I saw another side of Adam that was a bit more harsh. Adam is struggling with all of his personal demons. There were times when I was not pleased with his actions and I couldn't understand why he refused help, other than the fact that he is incredibly stubborn. It is most impressive how Ms. Stiefvater is able to sculpt characters with flaws and still make them likable.
- This time around, there are two villains. The mysterious hit man, The Gray Man and the bold, defiant, destructive and reckless Joseph Kavinisky. I was surprised to find that my initial impressions of both of these characters changed dramatically during the read. The Gray Man actually shows signs of redemption, and I was able to understand why he behaved the way he did once I glimpsed his troubled past. He went from someone I despised to someone I respected by the end. Kavinisky was a character that made me laugh. He is brazen, foul mouthed, disrespectful and flat out funny. I was surprised at how much I ended up liking him. Just as with her Raven Boys, Steifvater exposes the faults of the villains along with the likable qualities making them realistic and complex.
- The overall storyline remains incredibly detailed and complicated. This is a book and a series that must be read slowly and absorbed as there are so many story lines that interweave. This is a series that builds upon each book. You must be patient and appreciate the mastery of this work. Don't go in expecting to breeze through and have a complete understanding. While some things become more clear in this outing, there are still so many secrets and unanswered questions that itch at my mind. I can't even imagine how the story is going to progress because Steifvater always has plenty of twists and surprises up her sleeve. No doubt it will be an amazing finish.
- I listened to the audio version of this book read by the brilliant Will Patton. Patton does an incredible job with narration. All of his voices, including the female characters, are well done and believable. I never struggle with his rendition of females. His voice for Kavinsky was my favorite. I loved the audio version, but due to the complexity of the story line, I feel like I need to go back and read it as I am such a visual learner. If you struggle taking in complex reads and you aren't an auditory person, you may be best served reading this. However, the audio version is top notch and I highly recommend it!
And The Not So Much:
- I have grown accustomed to Stiefvater's method of storytelling. Her pace is slow, often times laborious as she takes her time to flesh out and detail her characters and her storyline. Her books are pieces to the overall picture. You can never get a clear idea of where her story is going with one book. You have to read all of the books in the series to have the full vision. This is not a series that you can pick up and read out of order, or you will be horribly lost. Even after reading this, I am still floundering wondering where the finale will take me.
- The romance is still almost non existent. In the first book, we are introduced to the hapless, non psychic Blue. She comes from a family of psychics but has no psychic abilities of her own, other than she seems to be able to amplify the talents of her psychic family. Blue has been told her whole life that she will kiss and kill her true love. Thus, Blue is afraid to allow herself to fall in love. In The Raven Boys, a small love triangle was developed. Blue seemed to have feelings for both Adam and Gansey, but there is nothing concrete. This time, Blue is caught between the boys, but she eventually makes a decision. Then the romance fizzles. This is not a big issue for me because I know Steifvater will deliver in the end. For those of you who are looking for a romance driven story, this will be a disappointment as there is really not a romance as of yet.
- I struggled a bit with Blue's mother in this one. I had a hard time with her relationship with the Gray Man. I didn't understand why she would develop feelings for him other than out of pity?
- The ending tied up the main story arcs in this book regarding Ronan and his abilities, but the main plot of finding the missing king is almost abandoned in favor of Ronan and his issues. Finally, at the end there was a shocking, jaw dropping revelation that left me aching to know more. It will be a long wait between books. In all honesty, due to the complexity of this series, it is almost best to wait and read all three books back to back in order to absorb everything.
- I don't like this series being labeled as Young Adult. Not because there is anything inappropriate, but more because this is an intelligent and complex read. It exceeds far beyond most of the YA titles out there. It is incredibly sophisticated and detailed. I am sad that many adults will miss out on this exquisite work because it is in the Young Adult genre. This is a smart book that people of all ages can enjoy. For those of you who don't read Young Adult books, this is a series that is far beyond the typical YA books out there. I highly recommend picking this up and ignoring the label.
The Dream Thieves is a stunning sequel and in fact, a book that is even better than its predecessor. Ms. Steifvater once again found the magic that is her trademark and she captured me with her mastery of words. She is an author who is talented beyond measure, one more people need to be reading. If you are looking for an amazing, complex, fascinating, character driven series, look no further, get The Raven Cycle Series now!