Actual Rating: At Least Ten Stars (Out of Five)
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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…
To my utter disappointment (at the beginning), I soon discovered that this is much more Ronan and Adam’s story than Blue and Gansey’s. But more so Ronan’s. And okay, okay, obviously the synopsis kind of makes that pretty obvious, but I wasn’t thinking it would be to such an extent. The first book in the series seemed to more revolve around Blue and Gansey, so I really wasn’t expecting this.
I kind of miss Blue. She’s one of those unforgettable characters that I love. And I miss Gansey. He’s not your A-typical poster boy in any way. You can try to package him down to some layer of a stereotype, but it just ain’t going to happen.
Saying that, though, I also have to put it out there that I really have grown to like Adam and Ronan. One of the major beefs I have with YA novel now-in-days is that for any other “side” character (by that I mean anyone who’s not in the immediate love crisis) they always just kind of blend into the background. And when I’m rating books anymore, a big part of how many stars I give the books depends on how well the side characters are personified. I don’t want or need page filler in the shape of a human being when I read books, I need flesh and blood and emotions and love and pain and sorrow and depression. I need a God-given human being.
“And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.”
And that’s what we get here. While The Raven Boys is more about Blue and Gansey, in my opinion, The Dream Thieves is all about Ronan and Adam. I remember when I finished The Raven Boys, and it ended on that very cliff-hanger note about Ronan, I kind of hated it. Because I had to remember who Ronan even was, to be honest. I hadn’t been paying attention to him because he was simply a-friend-of-Gansey’s. He was simply a-raven-boy. And I didn’t care all that much about him.
Well, not anymore my friend! I’m a little hooked on Ronan now, thank you very much. He is no longer simply a “side” character or a-friend-of-Gansey’s. He is living, breathing, pain-filled Ronan, and I love it. He encompasses everything I desire in a character, protagonist or not. Family drama, secrets, lies, pain, iron fists, honor, remorse, etc, etc . . .
Ronan’s sense of loyalty, beyond all else, is the reason I love him as a raven boy. He’s unselfish, undesired by almost everyone besides his immediate friends, haunted by his past and ability, and all-in-all, an encompassing of what it means to be hurting.
Next: the writing. Dear stars above, I’ve learned new words after reading this novel.
I didn’t know that was possible anymore. Not after reading a YA novel.
I mean, no offense to YA novels, Lord knows I love them to bits, but really . . . I didn’t know that was possible anymore.
But besides that, the writing is just so freakin’ beautiful. I really, really have a craving to roll around in it and bathe in it and just freakin’ inhale it.
“One moment, she was wearing clothing, and the next moment, she was wearing a bikini. Fifty percent of the world was brown skin and fifty percent was orange nylon. From the Mona Lisa smile on Orla’s lips, it was clear she was pleased to finally be allowed to demonstrate her true talents.
A tiny part of Gansey’s brain said: You have been staring for too long.
The larger part of his brain said: ORANGE.”
There is not a character in this novel that simply blends into the background. Everyone plays a major role, and without one of them, the story would fall apart. And that’s when you know it’s a great author writing it. Nothing that happens is page filler, and that’s harder to do than it sounds.
I’m reminded of something I studied not too long ago about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Basically, they were a group of people working to get back in the mode of renaissance painting. This was in response to realism and they believed art was a thing of beauty, and that everything in the painting had to mean something. It wasn’t a literary movement – this analyses would work so much better if it was, but alas – but was an artistic movement.
But the reason I’m telling you this little fact is because just as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood wanted everything – and I do mean everything – in a painting to represent some abstract meaning, Maggie Stiefvater only writes about things that have an underlying meaning. Nothing is there because Stiefvater just went on a random writing spree. And while in a painting to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’s liking, there cannot be a rope without it actually representing a metaphor for eternity, and Stiefvater only includes things – details – that mean something more than the character just noticing it out of the blue. And that’s kind of amazing to realize when your reading.
So, anyway . . .
There’s your little handful of new, obtuse information for the day.