3.5 out of 5 Raving stars
This is the 2nd book in the Raven Cycle, so be prepared for spoilers of the previous book.
As a matter of fact, they’re comin’ hot and heavy because OH MY GOD. Maggie Stiefvater dropped a bomb on us in the last line of the last book. Ronan told us that his crow sidekick, Chainsaw, came from his dreams. !!! So the title is appropriate… he is a dream thief. I love dreams – I have incredibly vivid dreams that always feel important. And dreams pay a big part of this… obviously.
Sadly, I didn’t love this one as much as the first one. Where the first one was ethereal and gorgeous… this one felt choppy, slow and confusing. It felt like it needed another editing. I always assumed Gansey and Blue were the main force of this series, and they are kinda set up that way in the first book, but this book is more about Adam and Ronan.
Now we know that Ronan’s father was brutally murdered and he’s the one who found the body. This has messed him up. Then there’s the weird will his father left. Ronan and his two siblings got the money but basically, the will evicted them from their house. They are never to return and never to contact their mother. Weird, right? It was a ball I felt was dropped in the first novel, but in this one, we learn more about it. This part was pretty amazing, as was Ronan learning more about using his dream powers. I actually warmed up to him quite a lot in this one. I mentioned in the review for the first book I don’t think sexuality should ever be a spoiler and the author did not make it clear that Ronan was somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. There is a lot more hints and metaphor this time, and finally a conversation that confirms it. So this gets one tick on the diversity mark, but otherwise, again, it’s a bunch of white people.
I read a review on a book I really loved and the reviewer made me mad when she said the main female character was just a romantic interest. She was pretty kick ass in my opinion. Now I’m going to be that same reviewer…because I have to come to feel that everything about Blue is the whole kiss thing (that when she kisses her true love, she will kill him) and the only drama around her is her love life. She and Adam almost had a thing in the last book, but this time, he’s angry and unpredictable, changes brought about either as result of what happened with himself and his father, or his magical, mythical connection to Cabeswater. (More on that later). And of course, she has begun to appreciate Gansey’s mouth. So that’s a little disappointing to realize. Gansey gets the quest and the girl gets the “will she fall in love and kiss someone” story. I hope things improve. I do want to point out she’s a feminist, with a strong sense of self. She does go on the verge of slut shaming her cousin Orla, who is a show off and a flirt… but Orla is super irritating.
On to Adam. He was our outsider last time, and it looks like that is his role. I was very confused at the end of the last book when he did his “sacrifice” where he woke up the Ley line by agreeing to be the forest’s eyes and hands. I have a better understanding now but I still don’t think it was done that well. Adam has always done things his own way, and now he has to learn, on his own, how to do what Cabeswater wants. He’s also having twisted feelings about Blue, who hasn’t told him yet about the kissing thing. So you can imagine his confusion. There is another “ritual” that Persephone leads him through to get better in touch with the ley line – and it didn’t make any sense to me at all. This is towards the end of the book where there is some good action, but where the storytelling starts to get really choppy and like I said, it felt like it needed another edit. I didn’t have a sense of where everyone was and what they were doing.
Noah is also different in this book. Because SURPRISE! He was a ghost all along! I was spoiled on that (thanks Tumblr). He’s more corporeal again because they buried his bones in the church on the Ley line but he still disappears a lot. He also is re-enacting his death, only he doesn’t realize it. That’s creepy. But he and Blue have some wonderful interactions. He’s such a darling character.
Gansey is in this. I mean that’s fair to say. I don’t know. Just I have NOTHING under his note tab for this one. I keep character notes as I go along, and did not write 1 thing for him or Blue, really. Oh… there is some stuff about why he’s searching for Glendower. There is more about his bee and wasp allergy, and allusions to his epi pen abound, which I am sure are going to be important later.
I can’t finish this without mention of the Grey Man. I don’t want to give too much away – but what an interesting addition to the story. At first, I thought he might be an alien. He might be an emissary from the fae, the really cruel side. I was so intrigued. Stiefvater did an amazing job straddling the line of making him seem omniscient and scary, untouchable, unknowable and somehow oddly appealing. He really added to the story. We’ve known that the Raven crew isn’t the only group looking for Glendower, and things get intense.
Again, just to reiterate, this is, as Whitty Novels says, a jar of mayonnaise as far as diversity goes. I don’t want to ignore that. I am excited about my next Book Outlet order, as I’ve got some sci fi novels written by non-white dudes! Whooot! Anyway – I’m going on to the next.