The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater

I’m going to try to relate this review more with the actual book than my emotionally stimulated feelings of “OMG, this book is so freakin’ awesome, so let me tell you how awesome I think it is!” type of gushing. I’m sure I did enough of that in The Raven Boys to scare off hordes of the more emotionally stable population out there.

Anyway…

Aside from a typical introductory segue to make my posts look a little more structured and lengthy, honestly, I suck at structure. I’m not sure how I managed to make it through high school and college with my inability to format my essays properly, but I did and I must say, I’m not sure I ever really learned anything from any of my English classes about proper structure for a piece of written work.

So here I am with more random segways (yes, the above), and random thoughts on The Dream Thieves. Because, well, who cares about structure anyway?

Let’s start with the beginning though.

Before I started reading The Dream Thieves, I was worried about being overwhelmed. Sometimes, when I love a book so much that it hurts, and when I am in such high anticipation of the next book in a series that I can’t sleep, it’s a dangerous situation. Because as the time approached for the release date of The Dream Thieves, I began to have little panicky moments of the usual: “What if this book isn’t as good as the first one?” “What if this book is so good, but I don’t catch onto how good it is and I can’t do it any justice when I’m reading it?” “What if Book One had been the exception?” “What if I have too high expectations?” “What if I just don’t know what to do anymore?” “What if my dog eats my book review?”

“What if, what if, what if….?!!”

I’m ALWAYS like this with sequels to books that I personally loved and found fabulous (also for movies and Asian drama series as well; sequels can give me a heart attack easily with just BEING there). I’m always worried that the sequel or the second book won’t hold up to the first and that I’ll be disappointed.

So, I’m ecstatically delighted to announce (as many probably already have guessed) that this was definitely, absolutely NOT the case with The Dream Thieves. As I already mentioned: so many “AWESOME!”s to put out there.

I first realized one of the main reasons why I’d been loving The Raven Cycle series so much after about three chapters into this book. From the review of the first book, I had already mentioned how much I loved the characters, their interaction and their development. In this book, having paid more attention during my reading, I found another reason to love Maggie Stiefvater: her writing style is just so consistently witty and amazing. Let’s see, what did I call it in a note to myself?

Her writing borders on fantastical fairy tale meets whimsical, magical and mystical, with a side dish of natural sarcasm and dry humor to boot. And honestly, this is a type of dry humor I can appreciate because it’s not even in a laugh out loud, “you’ve gotta laugh at this particular scene” type of comedy. They are the little descriptors and analogies, one-liners and strange quips… They are strewn all over the place, every few sentences as a thought or an action or just as part of the ending of a paragraph. It’s like “serious, serious, snicker, emotional, serious, strange, serious” and then suddenly, all too smoothly and naturally, “insert O.o quip here” and it always makes me giggle or chuckle or backtrack just to reread it only to be impressed by how genius it was. And then we keep moving along the story like I hadn’t just been laughing at something snarky. They are very fine, little details that just fit into the writing effortlessly.

And I’m a sucker for attention to detail, that’s for sure. It’s one of those things where, if you aren’t really looking and you couldn’t really appreciate it; and if you’re looking at other parts of the story, you probably wouldn’t notice it at all and it won’t tickle you in the right ways.


The Dream Thieves is centered on Ronan Lynch -- a boy with a secret that we learn early on. He’s able to pull things from his dreams, tangible objects that just appear to him when he dreams about them. But aside from this little magic trick, there are even deeper, darker secrets about Ronan Lynch that he hides behind his anger and dark sarcasm.

I didn’t dislike any of the characters from the first book. Ronan had been a destructive bastard, a rich boy with a tendency to cause trouble and become antagonizing to everyone around him. But there had always been something about him that still drew me to like him for who he is -- dark, scathing humor and asshole personality all included. When I learned that the second book would be Ronan-centric, I was a little conflicted, because I’m sitting squarely in front of a Gansey pedestal. However, as I began to read The Dream Thieves, I realized that, despite being Ronan-centric, the telling of the book manages to capture so much more than just the base storyline.

Written in the third-person omniscient, we still get to see through the perspectives of each of the characters we fell in love with from the first book. In this, I believe is wherein lies a big success of this series. Because despite being a book about Ronan Lynch, it’s also a book that shows us the rest of the characters in varying degrees, smoothly tying everything up with Ronan’s journey.

So while we delve deeper into Ronan’s as well as the Lynch family’s secretive history, we’re also shown a lot of more reveals about the rest of the characters. Again, little moments that may not propel the main story, but manages to pick up significance in light of the surrounding actions.

It’s brilliant.

Characters continue to develop and their circumstances all continue to tug at heartstrings. There are so many moments in this book that make you smile and laugh, moments that make you churn those logical thinking wheels, and even a lot of gripping moments that have you at the edge of your seat waiting for the fall out. And then there are heartbreaking moments as well.

So much happens in this book that, if not handled properly, the story would have gotten out of hand and confusing. But The Dream Thieves manages to make it work, because even as more mysteries begin to occur and more side tangents present themselves, the story only manages to become more exciting.

On a final note, I feel like the characters are definitely the driving force of this series, and especially of this particular book. They’re all so intriguing that, even with an antagonist like The Gray Man, or the minor characters at 300 Fox Way or the Orphan Girl in Ronan’s dreams, I’m drawn to them and their significance -- no one seems to be “just a background character” with no rhyme or reason. I even enjoyed seeing the interaction between Ronan and his brothers, which draws upon so much more understanding of Ronan and his behavior. And it’s great! They all have their own stories if given the time.

I loved the interaction between the five friends -- the Aglionby boys and Blue -- and found that, despite my hopeless romantic love, I appreciate that the romance unfolds so subtly with such care. It’s the friendships that I love the most: between Blue and Gansey, between Gansey and Ronan, between Gansey and Adam, between Ronan and Adam, and especially between Blue and Noah. There’s a different air about each of these pairings in the friendship, and then the atmosphere is made all the different when they all come together.

I’m wholeheartedly and completely in Gansey’s boat. That boy has a charm to him that makes it hard NOT to love him. I’m particularly biased because I’ve let my love of Gansey get a little out of control. So, of course, I’d love to see Gansey and Blue complete their OTP pairing soon, and as the romance slowly unfolded itself in this book, it came to me that I loved how it was such a sweet, yet quiet occurrence. The fact that they started off as friends first and bonded through various interactions and sweet little moments made it all the better. Because I enjoyed the friendships in this book (and the series so far) that the romance is honestly the last of my priorities concerning The Raven Cycle series.

After the first book, it didn’t bother me at all that the romance seemed to be heading in a different direction with Blue and Adam starting a somewhat relationship. Because compared to Gansey, even though I loved all of the characters, I loved Gansey more and so it didn’t matter to me whether or not he paired up with the girl in the end.

I’m at least glad to say that I’ve grown to love Blue more in this book than I had from Book One. She has a strange and quirky personality, but in this book, she proved that she’s also feisty and fiery and doesn’t let anyone walk on her at all. It’s something I appreciate in a female character since, too often in a lot of books (especially YAs), the girl is painted in a demure, doormat fashion, written for readers to pity and sympathize with. No, I prefer the Blue Sargents of the world where, even if there are moments when she is scared or even when she doesn’t know how to act, she still doesn’t just lay there and let people walk all over her.

The Dream Thieves is a very magical, well written, fun and witty adventure (that’s not quite an adventure) with great characters and an intriguing story. There are times when you find that perfect book that you can’t help but to completely fall in love with.

Today, that book, for me, is this one.


***

 

08/28/2013

I just saw a rating of 4.5 stars pop up from one of the reviewers I follow.

Aaand.... so now we are counting down the days until the release of this book! September 17 seems like so MUCH longer than just the 20 days from this moment... well, 21 days, but I'm rounding down a little for my own benefit.

Oh man, I'm all fidgeting just waiting for the book release. I need this book so BADLY! RIGHT NOW!


09/19/2013

If I thought I loved the first book... I think I love this second book just as much and am not even quite sure which one I loved more. It's safe to say I've found another favorite series to add to my list, and officially declaring another favorite author I will be following.

So many thoughts, so many "AWESOME!"s to put out there. And I'm not even sure how this will go. But if I had to highlight every line of this book that I personally loved, my book would look like a striped lollipop.

Going to try to put my thoughts together in a more timely fashion this time, although I'm not sure how well that will serve my review since my review of the last book was simply a big ol' four page declaration of how much I loved The Raven Boys. I doubt there will be much different for The Dream Thieves -- though there may be a lot of added gushing over Maggie Stiefvater, my newest girl crush of an author.

She is so freakin' brilliant!

Review to come... maybe. If I can stop gushing. And after I get some sleep.