It seems that Maggie Stiefvater has heard the prayers from my last Raven Cycle book review (two years after this book was first published whatever shut up), because The Dream Thieves fixes many of the flaws of the first installment and turns to where the focus of the story should be. Sure, Blue’s name is still Blue, and sure, the love triangle has turned into a love pentagon I’m sure fanfiction writers are having an absolute ball with. …And I don’t mind. Not one bit. That’s how entertaining this book is.
The biggest strength of The Raven Boys was, without a doubt, the well-crafted cast of characters and their group dynamic. I wanted to get to know these people better, to go on more adventures with them, and Stiefvater delivers in the best possible way. Not only does Blue’s “true love’s first kiss” prophecy take a back seat for most of the novel (making her a far more likeable presence in the story), but the focus shifts to Ronan and the mystery of his dreams instead.
Granted, Stiefvater feels the need to remind the reader what a badass Ronan is a few times too many – drink every time he is referred to as a knife, a blade, or just anything sharp! However, that is easily forgiven when we get such an engaging story. I was completely drawn in by his inner demons, the return to his childhood home, and the strange tension between him and Kavinsky. Any attentive reader would have picked up on the fact that he is gay very early on in the novel and it adds a new layer to the character without taking over completely: Ronan’s sexuality is not the most interesting thing about him. He is broken, he struggles to connect with his friends, he is haunted by the past – and he also happens to be gay. Yes. Good.
I am so fond of these characters and I love getting lost in this world. As far as I’m concerned, this has everything that makes young adult literature entertaining: love, friendship, mystery, fantasy, a laugh to lighten the mood, and some moments that are seriously intense. So why didn’t The Dream Thieves get five stars? Aside from some awkward lines here and there, my biggest problem is with Blue’s family and her mother’s relationship with Mr Gray. I understand what Stiefvater was going for here, I do, but… How does it not bother anyone that he is an assassin? No one? You’re… You’re just going to go on a date with this man? You sure? O-okay. Well, alright. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. He probably knows about eleven different ways to kill you with his bare hands, so you’d better be carrying some mace in that purse, that’s all I’m saying.
That said, here is my new wishlist for Blue Lily, Lily Blue:
1. Based on that title, I am going to assume that Blue is going to get some more screentime again, but I do hope that we will not lose touch with Ronan after this. When in doubt, add more Ronan.
2. Make me care about Blue’s family. They may be useful as plot devices, but as characters, I tend to zone out whenever they talk.
3. Adam offered himself to the Cabeswater back in The Raven Boys and his newly found abilities are slowly bubbling to the surface, so I want him to start owning them. This is such a promising idea, I can’t wait to see where the story takes him.
4. Great use of your Gansey and Noah, keep it up.
5. When I finish this book, I want to slam it shut and scream at the walls because I can’t bear the long, long wait until The Raven King comes out in September. Make it hurt. A lot.
God damn this was fun.