April 24, 2017

Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys — a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface — changing everything in its wake.

I downloaded The Dream Thieves before I was even halfway finished with The Raven Boys. I loved it so much, I wanted to be sure the sequel was ready to go once I read the last page.

As the synopsis indicates, Ronan figures prominently in the sequel, having dropped a bomb on the very last page:  that he is able to take things - sometimes live creatures - out of his dreams. Here we find out about why he's so angry all the time and terrible family secrets. "Secret" is the key word here, as Stiefvater emphatically linked it with Ronan in the first book, then again as the second book starts:

"A secret is a strange thing.

"There are three kinds of secrets. One is the sort everyone knows about, the sort you need at least two people for. One to keep it.  One to never know. The second is a harder kind of secret: one you keep from yourself."

The significance of secrets becomes clearer as Dream Thieves progresses. Ronan has every kind of secret, including *SPOILER* the one of his sexuality. If you've noticed the homoerotic tension in the first book, it's addressed in the sequel. Night horrors and dragons and dreamscapes are literal and metaphorical in The Dream Thieves. Metaphorical because Ronan keeps his truth from not only his friends but from himself.  Unrequited love and jealousy lead to a fiery, tragic end.

Besides Ronan, new characters appear such as The Gray Man - a deadly, shadowy figure who has turned up in Henrietta looking for the Greywaren, a mysterious object of great power. The Gray Man's storyline echoes the theme of brothers and terrible childhoods but I like how even though this is a young adult novel, Stiefvater gives the adults complex stories of their own, rather than banishing them to oblivious and ineffectual windowdressing. The adults are just as fascinating as the young ones.

Everything I said for the first book is just as true for the second, with an added bonus of a laugh out loud kissing scene, where I assure you, no one dies. 

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