Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Spoiler Alert: If you have not read The Raven Boys, turn around. Do not read this review. Also, why the heck not? That book is wicked awesome.
That night, Niall Lynch came home in the blackness, and when he woke, he found Ronan standing above him in the small white master bedroom. The morning sun made them both snowy as angels, which was the better part of a lie already. Niall’s face was smeared with blood and blue petals.
“I was just dreaming of the day you were born,” Niall said, “Ronan.”
He wiped the blood on his forehead to show Ronan that there was no wound beneath it. The petals snared in the blood were shaped like tiny stars. Ronan was struck with how sure he was that they had come from his father’s mind. He’d never been more sure of anything.
The world gaped and stretched, suddenly infinite.
Ronan told him, “I know where the money comes from.”
“Don’t tell anyone,” his father said.
That was the first secret.
The second secret was perfect in its concealment. Ronan did not say it. Ronan did not think it. He never put lyrics to the second secret, the one he kept from himself.
But it still played in the background.
And then there was this: three years later, Ronan dreaming of his friend Richard C. Gansey III’s car. Gansey trusted him with all things, except for weapons. Never with weapons and never with this, not Gansey’s hell-tinged ’73 Camaro slicked with black stripes. In his waking hours, Ronan never got any farther than the passenger seat. When Gansey left town, he took the keys with him.
But in Ronan’s dream, Gansey was not there and the Camaro was. The car was poised on the sloped corner of an abandoned parking lot, mountains ghosted blue in the distance. Ronan’s hand closed around the driver’s side door handle. He tried his grip. It was a dream strength, only substantial enough to cling to the idea of opening the door. That was all right. Ronan sank into the driver’s seat. The mountains and the parking lot were a dream, but the smell of the interior was a memory: gasoline and vinyl and carpet and years whirring against one another.
The keys are in it, Ronan thought.
And they were.
The keys dangled from the ignition like metallic fruit, and Ronan spent a long moment holding them in his mind. He shuffled the keys from dream to memory and back again, and then he closed his palm around them. He felt the soft leather and the worn edge of the fob; the cold metal of the ring and the trunk key; the thin, sharp promise of the ignition key between his fingers.
Then he woke up.
When he opened his hand, the keys lay in his palm. Dream to reality.
This was his third secret.
In the second book of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, readers pick up exactly where they left off with The Raven Boys. Adam has made a sacrifice to awaken the ley lines around Cabeswater, and Ronan is showcasing his talents by pulling more than ravens from dreams. Blue, still working with the prophecy of kissing then killing her love, is falling deeper in with her “boys,” while Gansey is pulling himself apart trying to keep everyone together while still questing for Glendower. Darker forces are at work, however, when a mysterious Grey Man appears with orders to take out the Greywaren, and everyone is in danger if the ley lines are compromised.
Stiefvater’s writing is evocative and poetic, and blends in the supernatural with discussions of class and opportunities (or lack thereof). The Dream Thieves focuses more on the characters themselves rather than on the hunt for Glendower, which is both powerful and haunting. Ronan can pull things out of his dreams- but how much can he pull before he loses himself? And what about the consequences of Adam’s sacrifice? Or Blue’s prophecy when she’s starting to fall for one of the boys? The Dream Thieves builds with exquisite pacing, with a thudding danger surrounding everything, and the book ends on a cliffhanger that leaves readers crying out for the next book- everything that you want in a story. 5 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend pairing it with books similar to Jeff Hirsch’s Magisterium or the Lynburn Legacy series for the paranormal factor.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater, Paranormal Fiction
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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