4.5 out of 5 stars
I did not see where this was going! What a great series, if it can surprise you with an even better, all-new story line in the second installment.
Warning: If you haven’t read The Raven Boys, go do that immediately.
On the last page of The Raven Books, the brooding enigma who is Ronan Lynch announces to his friends that he pulled Chainsaw, his pet raven, from a dream. Then the book ends.
Uhhh… what?! Of course you’ve already got the second book in hand, and frantically flip it open to find that seemingly normal, though blindingly aggro, Ronan has a power. He can, in fact, take things from dreams. Even if he doesn’t mean to.
While Ronan’s crazy manifests, the larger story of the Raven Boys’ hunt for Welsh king Glendower continues unabated. Gansey, shamelessly dressed like he fell off a Nantucket yacht, leads the search between two words: reality and magic. Adam struggles through a secret third world: poverty. Noah does his best to stay in any world at all. And Blue keeps on making boys and psychic energy go nuts around her. But the plot largely shifts to Ronan, as he tries to understand, and then harness, what he can do. Ronan’s not the only one with this power, and it comes at a cost. Taking from dreams drains magic from other sources, and it makes people notice. While Ronan discovers a twisted family secret and comes to terms with the ultimate frenemy, Kaszinski, hunters and killers close in around idyllic Henrietta, VA.
Ronan’s not the only one stumbling into strange and creepy territory. As in Book I, each main character is unique and gets his or her full due. They discover things that are real and not, places that appear and disappear, effects they have on their world, and on each other’s hearts, without realizing how heavily they tread. I long to make a wall of plot points and feelings, causes and effects, and connect their relationships with string, like the mad genius in a lonely apartment.
The Dream Thieves comes out of left field, and takes “The Raven Cycle” up another surprising, incredibly creative level. The first book could have lead one trilogy, and this story could be Stiefvater’s next NYT-beststelling series. Instead she gives it to us all at once. It’s an embarrassment of rich imagination and character depth, the words like pinpricks, sharp and exact, on the page.
Meanwhile, Blue and Gansey is happening, right? I mean, don’t tell me. But it is.
I’m well into Book III already….