The Dream Thieves is the second book in the Raven Cycle; I reviewed the first book, The Raven Boys HERE.
The following review undoubtedly has spoilers about the first book as it is the second book in the series. You have been warned.
I also acquired a copy of The Dream Thieves at the ALA conference I went to; as such the book I read is the advanced reader's copy, it is uncorrected proof; there will undoubtedly be some changes to it before it is published on September 17, 2013.
Update: My blogging book buddy (Miss Brittany) has also blogged about this book as she also obtained an ARC copy at the ALA conference. Her review is HERE AT SUMMERLAND SUSHI. I suppose you can see if you're on Team Brittany or Team Liz, although that makes me nervous. There is also a discussion posted that we had about this book which you can find HERE.
I presume since the book has not been released yet, that is why the amazon summary is a little lacking on it, "The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!
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...." AMAZON LINK OF BLAND JUSTICE
For the record, my copy of this book had 438 pages to it. I'm going to talk up until page 133 as that is approximately 30% of the book before I warn of spoiler land.
This book takes Ronan and makes his whole dream-raven-whatever thing take center stage. That is very important because new characters come into play because they're all like WHAT IS THIS? RONAN, ARE YOU A WEIRD THING THAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR?
Now that's out of the way, the beginning speaks of secrets. It takes the entire prologue to explain the profound nature of secrets, what defines a secret, and what exactly the Lynch family secrets could be.
Fair warning, I got highly annoyed with the book taking three paragraphs to explain something in an elusive way that didn't really accomplish anything that one or two sentences could have. I sense that the author believed it was creating more of the atmosphere of mystery to the book, but I just ended up hating it. I think a few times I distinctly told my book, "I get it, ITS ALL MYSTERIOUS, please stop dancing around the bush and JUST LIGHT IT ON FIRE!" ...It's just an interesting way to demand that some light be shed on the situation.
Disclaimer: I haven't lit the book on fire. No book deserves that, ever. [/down with book burning].
Now in the first book Blue Sargent was a main character, center stage with relative frequency. In the second book, it's more of her family that is important (Maura, Persephone, and Calla) because they can actually do psychic things and be useful (what? I don't hate Blue, I just find her a tad annoying all the time). In this book, it seems that Blue and her mysterious kiss of death to her first love takes a backseat of sorts because that was overly concerned in the first book, so it needs to back off in this book. Which it did, to a point. Blue kind of served as a catalyst character to the boys since she is 'sensible' and not really changing.
Then we're introduced to the character of Mr. Gray or The Gray Man, who has been sent by Mr. Greenmantle to find the Greywaren, and seems to use a lot similar devices to when in the first book, they discovered the leyline in Cabeswater. Mr. Gray is a hitman who begins with the Lynch brothers, specifically Declan (the oldest) to try and figure out where the Greywaren is.
Noah is almost completely forgotten except for a handful of scenes and only then is he remembered because of Blue's kiss thing, because of the leyline, and because near death experiences for everyone!
Adam is a hot mess. He is now the hands and eyes of something, he lives in the attic of a church in a very small cramped space, and is wrestling with the ferocious anger that dwells within him.
Something about this book itself; it seems to wrestle a lot with reality vs unrealistic; there are moments where the characters are very grounded within themselves, within their relationships, and still maintain some level of normalcy, but they lose it the moment something 'mystical' happens; such as Ronan pulling objects from his dreams. In the first book, Blue's family was presented with a lot of skepticism (besides from Blue) as if there were actual doubts that they could see the future or have any extra abilities. In this book, there are none of those doubts. They are still mysterious as hell, but they are accepted as the 'real deal'. With that notion in place, it is to be accepted that magic on some level exists in this world.
There is a huge play with the finding of the leyline and using man-made scientific machines to find the different energies that lead to the leyline. This implies that there is some definable, scientific way to deal with magic. That magic in itself can be mapped out, observed, and quite simply found.
There also seems to be the implication that the leyline and the magic that Blue's family uses are the same as they interacted with each other in the first book to see the ghosts on the road in the church.
Yet the magic that Blue's family uses is implied that not everyone can do it; not everyone is clairvoyant or what have you. There are invisible rules to how the magic interacts with the world that we are not allowed to see; for as much as the book tells us, there is so much it does not tell us and probably never will.
The book seems to use many words to say, "You will never get it, you never will, but I will keep acting like I'm going to tell you one day." So maybe in books three and four it will tell us, but for now, IT IS SO FRUSTRATING.
Now I'm just going to jump headfirst into spoiler land. BECAUSE SPOILER LAND. I HAVE NEEDS.
There is a character in this book by the name of Kavinsky, who taunts Ronan into having street races with him and tends to be a general nuisance. Here is a truth that is revealed much later in the book; Kavinsky can pull objects from dreams as Ronan does. He also appears to have been doing it for longer, and much better than Ronan can. They have a weird learning montage that involves a lot of alcohol and drugs (REMEMBER, DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ARE BAD) and then Kavinsky is convinced that Ronan is his enemy or something blah blah blah, huge fight. Whatever.
Kavinsky just doesn't make sense. Perhaps he doesn't need to though.
I suspect that the author kind of threw him in there because one, learning montage so Ronan knows what he's doing (kind of), and two, to show exactly how deranged and messed up Ronan has the potential to become.
But then what does that mean about the magic? There's the implication that Ronan is using the magic directly from the leyline, so is he connected to the same magic as Blue's family and Adam? Hmm???
Alright, in my last post about this series, I had a lot of unanswered questions. I'm going to see if I can answer a few of them now.
There didn't seem to be any more strong mention of gods and devils. Perhaps a character is becoming more of a devil or a god and whoever Glendower is (god or devil), one of the characters will be the other. That's my prediction. Of course, there could just be some other crazy old being lurking around, shielding Glendower all this time and then gets into a rage fit once it's complete.
There were a lot of Raven themes to Ronan's dreams and the 'nightmare monsters' that he was able to pull out of the dream (accidentally mostly). This makes more sense to me as we now know that Ronan draws his magic from the leyline or that the magic he uses to summon dream things is from the leyline. So the leyline is directly involved with Glendower, Glendower's sign was the Raven; I'll allow it with no further questions at this time.
The thing with Adam becoming the eyes and hands of Cabeswater is explained more or less (as everything else is) so I can wait to find out how that's all going to play out in the end.
Some ending thoughts.
I'm sick of Blue. I'm sick of her refraining from kissing, I'm sick of her getting emotionally tangled with the boys in ways that she doesn't need to, I'm sick of her becoming the thing that will probably split the boys up.
I'm sick of Gansey. OH MY GOSH GANSEY SHUT UP. I'm sick of Gansey and knowing how to handle everyone he doesn't know well, and not knowing how to handle anyone he knows at all. I'm so sick of all the different descriptions of Gansey, of how he can have so many different sides and versions of himself that each character likes for different reasons. SERIOUSLY? I CANNOT CARE ANY LESS. I assume this will somehow play into when Gansey dies, because he's going to die before the series is over, (HELLO BOOK ONE) but for now, I JUST DON'T CARE. I have gotten to the point where I REALLY WANT GANSEY TO DIE so there will just be LESS of Gansey. SHEESH. There are way too many melodramatics surrounding Gansey, surrounding Gansey's and Adam's relationship, surrounding Ronan's and Gansey's relationship, surrounding Blue and Gansey's relationship, and the only relationship that doesn't seem to matter is Gansey and Noah because NOAH IS ALREADY DEAD. SO WHATEVER TO THAT I SUPPOSE. When he dies, they should just bury him on the leyline so he can be like Noah and get it over with. UGH.
I want to share a quote to illustrate how much I vilely hate the writing of the book, but appreciate the content I can gleam from it. This is the last sentence in a long paragraph that is trying to illustrate the life that Gansey's Father experienced while he was at school. It goes through five references before it lands on this one, "It was a community of scholars, just outside of adolescence, a sort of Marvel comic where every hero represented a different arm of the humanities," (Stiefvater, page 297, The Dream Thieves-Advanced Reader's copy, uncorrected proof). OF ALL THE THINGS TO REFER TO, YOU CHOSE A MARVEL COMIC? YOU CHOSE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE? WHY. WHY. MARVEL HEROES ARE NOT DIFFERENT ARMS OF HUMANITIES. YOU ARE WRONG. SO WRONG. That is the kind of crap that the entire book is filled with. It's almost as if the author is unsure of who or what to relate everything to, and therefore makes all the references even if they are HORRIBLY INCORRECT. I'm very glad that the author has the want for everyone to understand the story, for everyone to get it, and seemingly makes long explanations to ensure that everyone understands before moving on; but seriously not everyone is ever going to get it no matter how well you explain yourself.
At this point, I feel as if it has become like a handful of other series for me; I just have to read the rest of the books to know how it ends.
I really like the content of the book and the magic aspects and I'm overly curious about Glendower, but I absolutely LOATHE the over explanations of everything. So the style of writing is really grating against me.