Brittany and I went to the ALA conference together and gathered many of the same advanced reader's copies while we were there. We were also escorted around by the fabulous Lynn Rutan and Cindy Dobrez of Bookends Blog.
That led to the inspiration of having conversations about the books we managed to wrangle at the conference. Granted, it won't be every book that we picked up most likely but there is hope that we'll be able to do this with some frequency.
Brittany blogs at Summerland Sushi, and her blog post about The Dream Thieves can be found HERE.
In case you missed it, my blog about The Dream Thieves can be found HERE.
In the following discussion, I AM THE GREEN COLOR. Brittany is THE BLUE COLOR.
There might be different colors amidst the paragraphs; that is us chiming in on what the other says. The colors should remain true to who said what.
This will undoubtedly contain spoilers about The Dream Thieves as it's a book discussion. Please do not read on if you would like the book to remain unspoiled.
Without further ado, here is our discussion led by questions. We tried not to be repetitive with what we already posted in our original blogs.
What made you want to read it?
LIZ: I was on the fence with how I felt about the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, and enjoyed where the plot was moving, but not as much as the writing style. I read the second book in the hopes of finding redemption for the first book and to see where the story was going. I’m beginning to like it a bit more now, but I’m still hesitant.
BRITTANY: This is an easy one for me. I adored the Raven Boys for both the storyline and (most) of the characters, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel - and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel to the sequel.
Did it live up to your expectations? Why or Why not? What are your expectations for the next book?
LIZ: The only expectations I had for the book was there to be less of a focus on Blue and Gansey, while answering more questions about the plot. Both of my expectations were fulfilled, but I didn’t have any expectations in regards to the story because I just didn’t know what to expect of where it would go or how it would get there.
My expectations for the next book...how about what I want from the next book. I would really like to see some more answers about Glendower rather than who else is after him and why. I would like to see some sort of resolution between Gansey and Adam. Gansey is like WHY WON’T YOU LET ME HELP YOU and Adam is like ITS NOT EVEN A SIMPLE MATTER OF PRIDE, ITS AN ALMOST UNEXPLAINABLE EMOTION annnddd they both just seem to have a mutual amount of angst and dumb in relation to the whole deal. I would also like to find out what is going on with Blue’s mother. I would like to know if Adam has become some sort of holy entity (monk, priest, atc) to the leyline itself, ORRRR if he became that sort of deal for Glendower himself. Could you imagine if he was a knight of Glendower? That would just be SO COOL. In a weird way. Hmm. This would be awesome and I would love to see it also - unless he gets some ridiculous magical sword. I’ve had it up to here with ridiculous magical swords.
What I expect to happen in next book is a concentration on Blue and Gansey again (gag both of them with spoons, now), more revelations through Blue’s eccentric family, and the Grey man having a more of a vital role. I want to believe that since so much time was spent on developing his character, there will be more of the story with him. Maybe he’ll have some sort of vital role in retrieving Blue’s mother? Hmm? Will love be a central theme to this whole story? Are we really on an exploratory story of what love is like in all of it’s different forms? I’m still not sure what the point of this book is. There’s usually a nice genre that books can fall into such as fantasy, science fiction, action, adventure, romance, etc; but this book seems to want to be everything it can be, and maybe what it shouldn’t.
My expectation for the next book is that there is some clarity brought to the series to round out the first two books, and perhaps to begin to bring things full circle. I might have a rage fit if I have to wait until book four to get any sort of full circle completion. It would be interesting if it was angling to answer the question of “What is love?” (baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more - ahem) in all it’s different forms. It would be a very uncommon way to go about it as well. Or maybe those answers are also being woven into the story. With a story like this, the possibilities are almost endless. Almost endless; let’s just hope the series finishes in a resounding four books with all ends tied up and it doesn’t become a monstrosity onto itself. These are my expectations.
BRITTANY: I think we’ll definitely stop at four - YA is great for keeping stories to the original anticipated print run - not like adult fantasy (I’m looking at you, Robert Jordan). It better stop at four. To declare it a cycle and then pull a ‘JUST KIDDING, THERE’S MORE!’ is really annoying and disappointing.
I didn’t have many expectations going into the second book because there were so many ways to answer the questions that were left over from the first book. I was actually expecting the book to focus again on Gansey and Blue; at the time, I didn’t know it was slated for a four book run, so the switch over to Ronan and Adam was very nice. I did expect more out of Noah, though looking back, I think that was wishful thinking. I really like his character but I can see where he fulfilled his purpose in exposing the leyline for Gansey. I hope this doesn’t mean he gets written out of the story all together.
For the next book, I expect the focus to shift back to Blue and probably Blue/Gansey (sadly). The shift back will be tragic. I will be all the sad. The events at the end directly involve Blue’s mother, so returning to her makes the most sense. I’m interested to see what part The New and Improved Grey Man plays. His story was more or less resolved but I don’t think he’s done with killing people quite yet.
Which character could you relate to best and why?
LIZ: I couldn’t relate to any of the characters really, it might be why I struggle with having a firm connection with the book. I enjoyed Noah’s character the most because of the strangeness of his character. He seems to have a whimsical childish fancy with the world for being a dead boy yet he can be the most mature at times. He’s probably slowly being written out of the story’s focus and becoming more of an indicator for the leyline’s current condition. Like a weather man, but for the leyline.
BRITTANY: I wrote in my blog post about relating to Blue out of all of the characters but even in relating to her, she isn’t really my favorite. She spent a lot of this book just being mopey and whiney about Adam and Gansey and I’m not sure I buy the transition from, “I’m not at all attracted to Gansey” to “OMG wanna have his babies”. I’m interested to see if there’s a magical angle at play here, like maybe Glendower is screwing around with their relationship because.... I don’t know. I need something better than what I got, though. Noah is absolutely my favorite character, but Chainsaw is also pretty awesome. I struggle with the characters a lot since I want to like them, but there’s not a lot to like about them. I mean Gansey would be awesome if everyone wasn’t so focused on Gansey to begin with, but he seems to be undefinable to all the other characters.
Why else struck you about the book as good or bad? What did you like or dislike about it that we haven't discussed already?
LIZ: I don’t think I discussed the reveal at the end of The Dream Thieves about Blue’s mother suddenly going MIA. I am troubled by what that could mean or imply. I don’t recall the exact wording of the note but there’s a growing implication that there is a threat to the group of the magical nature. That there is some evil that is working to get them because they are after Glendower. I’m not entirely sure if this is something that is note worthy, or a red herring. It’s not good or bad depending on what it could be in later books.
BRITTANY: The ending bothered me also, but more because it felt like it came out of nowhere. Blue’s mother has kind of been involved in proceedings from the beginning, but suddenly she’s dragged into the underground awful place? This is why I want to read over starting with RB because I’ve missed SOMETHING. My best guess is that Neeve is somehow involved, because she was the Other Bad Guy in the first book and we haven’t heard from her since the end.
The other thing that bothered me was The Grey Man. I loved him when he was the Grey Man and seemed to be almost magical and mythical in his mystery. Then he turned out be to be a person with a name and that was okay too - but I absolutely did not understand the resolution of his conflict with his brother. A) I still don’t understand what the conflict was and B) Why was it such a conflict if the brother is actually not a scary individual? I understand that sometimes people are scarier in our heads than in real life, but I needed to know why.
LIZ AGAIN: I’m am also at odds with the Grey man because I loved how his character came into focus within the story, yet I am unsure of the conflict surrounding him. With his brother, it seemed over too quickly with almost no explanation, I want to see more of why that matters. I don’t think that was thrown in there to prove the brutality of the Grey man in the sense of shock factor, ‘He’s willing to kill his own flesh and blood! LE GASP!’ I need more to the Grey man as well, I would love to see more of him in book three and hopefully have revealed why he was brought into the story.
Happy book discussions!
(I also had a weirdly hard time getting the formatting on this right, so if something looks screwed up, PLEASE TELL ME. I've been checking and previewing it, but I can really get everything messed up easily.)