• Well Red

Dreaming of Blue's Boys

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Title: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: 2013

Publisher: Scholastic

Rating: ****

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, YA

Difficulty: Moderately easy

Series: Second book in The Raven Cycle

Trigger warning – drugs and violence

Always spoiler free

Compelled to find out what happened to Blue’s Boys, I immediately bought and started to read The Dream Thieves after I finished The Raven Boys, while on leave from work. I was staying in a house with a toddler, but there’s something about the evenings where there is suddenly just oodles of time to relax without a little bug, and read or watch Justified (tv season, with everyone’s favourite Timothy Olyphant). Honestly, I may be slightly obsessed with Olyphant, so we’ll just leave that there (go watch it! it’s great! He’s great!) and get back to the book.

The Dream Thieves follows on from The Raven Boys, now moving to the summer months, and follows the group’s exploration of Greywaren.

I couldn’t decide what I thought about the first book (The Raven Boys – see my previous review) but I’m pretty sure I liked this one less.

There is a couple of reasons for that, but one of the major reasons is the plot line. The end of the first book ended on somewhat of a cliff-hanger for Adam (What has he agreed to?!), book two…mostly ignores that. Adam is side-lined for Ronan, and while I love Ronan, that made me very annoyed. I want answers, dammit!

And again – Blue is side-lined. Give me more Blue! Give her some purpose and agency other than falling in love and maybe, accidentally, being responsible for someone’s death.

The flip from the obsession of book one to a completely different topic wasn’t that welcome to me, although Adam and Glendower remain as subplots. I definitely ‘lost the plot’ in relation to everything Glendower related – I couldn’t work out how everything fit together (maybe a second read would make things more obvious). This book suffers from too much plot and an attempt to bring together two different ideas together in a way that makes sense (I’m not sure it does).

For me, the focus on Greywaren brings magic to reality in a way that has lost the mystery of the first book. This is big and brash magic, losing the subtly of the previous book and I didn’t like it as much.

There are some subplots that could be removed (Mr Gray) without actually making too much of an impact to the main plot (maybe Stiefvater is building plotlines/characters for plot points down the line?). Getting rid of some of the plotlines might actually improve the book because it’s another dense one – trying to juggle magic, mystery, personal and emotional turmoil, while giving space for four main characters to each have their time to shine. It’s a juggling act that Stiefvater doesn’t always manage.

Again, I didn’t get the answers I wanted at the end; I always want things more or less wrapped up in bow.

Stiefvater is freaking awesome at world and character building. The nuances of her writing, especially character building, makes it a liveable, tangible thing. It’s the small things about the characters, the little details she adds, that makes it incredible. Her prose is amazing. But the magic element of the plot I didn’t like as much. The bigger bits of the storyline that I found were left incomplete, random or rushed annoyed me.

Someone I was talking to on bookstagram pointed out that the series ‘gets bogged down in the sheer scope and grandiosity of the plots and characters’. Nailed. It. On. The. Head.

So, I read this book, directly after the second…and I’ve not read the third or fourth. I want to, but I almost don’t want to. I don’t want to be disappointed. I think I need work my way up to it, to give myself the space to be prepared for this weird world I can’t quite decide if I like or hate.

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? Yes

Favourite quote(s):

‘In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.

Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.

Her raven boys.’

‘And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.’

‘He was brother to a liar and brother to an angel, son of a dream and son of a dreamer.’

‘It was mint and memories and the past and the future and she felt as if she’d done this before and already she longed to do it again.’

‘He danced on the knife’s edge between awareness and sleep. When he dreamt like this, he was a king. The world was his to bend. His to burn.’

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