Wednesday, 18 September 2013

book review: the dream thieves by maggie steifvater

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Paranormal YA
Rating: 9/10
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...

One of the hardest things I find about reviewing books here is that, particularly with books I've enjoyed, I'm never quite sure whether it's better to use the 'academic' side of my brain to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of book or whether to give in to the emotional, flaily side which struggles to use words and grammar and abuses exclamation points! Last week was a really great reading week for me as I read two books which I really loved but while I managed to be relatively articulate about 'Vivian Versus the Apocalypse', I'm really struggling to be even vaguely coherent about 'The Dream Thieves'. I want to do the book justice and wax lyrical about all the things that I loved but I struggle to get beyond '!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

I think the best way to go about it is to direct you to my review of 'The Raven Boys' and then tell you to amp all of that up! I didn't quite reach the 'shaking and crying' stage but there was clapping and squealing! The main reason that I loved The Raven Boys was because it was full of these wonderful characters and I was so thrilled with the way they were developed here. Ronan gets the most page time and focus in The Dream Thieves and although he's not the character that I'm invested in the most, I really loved reading his backstory, getting to know his family history and seeing more of his relationship with Gansey. I'm sure there are lots of things to say about the whole dream thieves plot but they're escaping me right now - I'm sure Ronan stans will be discussing it in detail in the next few weeks!

Staying true to my feelings about The Raven Boys, my emotional investment in this series is still largely tied to Gansey, Blue and Adam but it's fair to say that the balance of those feelings have shifted. In The Raven Boys I was most interested in the boys and enjoyed Blue primarily as prism through which to see them and their relationships but Blue really came in to her own here. She has a couple of really lovely/heartbreaking scenes with Gansey, Adam and Noah which were always great in terms of character/relationship development. By far the best thing about The Dream Thieves is how Maggie Steifvater manages to intertwine individual and relationship development - all of the relationships are very nuanced and explicitly shaped by the nature of the characters involved while at the same time, the relationships have a direct impact upon the characters and how they understand themselves. I was really impressed with how Maggie explored the shifting dynamics in the group and the gender politics which come along with that. I thought that Adam's gradual isolation from the group was handled really well and I'm intrigued to know quite how distanced from Gansey and co. he's going to become - I'm not sure if he'll become an antagonist in his own right but that would be an interesting direction for the series. Finally, I should add that I enjoyed 'not-so-together' Gansey A LOT. In my head I always refer to him as GANSEY!!!!! and that hasn't really changed! I just really want him to have all the things he wants!

Once you've read this it'll be no surprise that for me the real climax/highpoint of The Dream Thieves came about 80 pages from the end - there are three consecutive chapters (49-51) which are just full of GLORIOUS character/relationship moments and they were such a high that I read the rest in a bit of a trance. I've re-read those chapters several times since I finished the book and they're still making me emotional! Never before have the words 'We can pretend' broken my heart and it's going to take a while for me to get over that.


  1. That 9/10 rating has never looked so inviting before. You wouldn't believe the number of rave reviews I've seen for this book. And since I adored THE RAVEN BOYS, that just gets me all the more excited for the sequel, which I will be reading VERY soon.

    But gah, I totally understand what you mean about writing reviews for books you loved. It was pretty much the same way with me and SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo. I want to be professional, but sometimes the book is too damn good for professional, you know?

    "Ronan gets the most page time and focus in The Dream Thieves and although he's not the character that I'm invested in the most, I really loved reading his backstory" - Well, yeah, I've been feeling a bit niffy about this, because I felt the same way you did about Ronan. He's that snarky asshole in TRB that I didn't like much, but many people have said that you'll grow to love him here, and I kind of believe them. I guess. :P

    And the best part is that even though Blue is a minor-ish character is this book, she's still very much developed, along with the rest of the secondary cast. I was impressed with Maggie's characterization in the previous book, so I'm preparing myself for a mind-blowing one here! But dude - what you said about Adam slowly drifting away from the group has me SO intrigued. I want to know what happens! Why is he acting that way?! Admittedly, he wasn't my favorite character either (I much preferred Gansey and Blue over everyone else), but there's no denying that he's still someone quite significant to the plot.

    "the real climax/highpoint of The Dream Thieves came about 80 pages from the end" - I don't think I'll be able to wait that long! Plus, all the fantastic things you said about this climax is... just - wow. I haven't even read it yet and I'm already feeling excited.

    Lovely review, Hannah! I'll probably be getting to THE DREAM THIEVES (awesome title) within the next week or so, and I CAN'T WAIT.

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment Megan!

      I want to be professional, but sometimes the book is too damn good for professional, you know?
      I think this is made even worse by the fact that I've been a part of fandom for so long where in-delpth analysis is usually left aside for incoherent exclamations! Especially now that a lot of fandom is focussed on Tumblr it can be hard to get my brain to shift gear away from tag-length comments like 'FACES!!!!!!!' and 'I CAN'T CONTROL MY FEELINGS!!!' etc.!

      If you liked Blue in TRB you're going to be totally smitten here! She really won me over!

      I'm so excited for you to read this and I can't wait to read what you think!