Warning: Minor spoilers.
A while back I read the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s popular Raven Cycle, The Raven Boys, and was disappointed to find it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. It’s such a well-loved series in the book blogging world, that I’d hoped to be blown away, but instead found it to simply be OK. However, I decided to give the series a proper go by reading the second book, to see if I liked it better, but unfortunately I felt exactly the same about The Dream Thieves (sorry Maggie Stiefvater fans!).
The Dream Thieves largely focuses on Ronan Lynch, as he tries to get to grips with the gift he has inherited from his father – the ability to take things from his dreams. Meanwhile Adam struggles with the after effects of the sacrifice he made at Cabeswater, whilst Blue tries to come to terms with her growing feelings for Gansey, as their search for Glendower continues.
I think the problem I’ve had with both The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves is a mixture of the rather odd concept and being unable to grasp the plot at times. Not to mention in this book I wasn’t as enamoured with the characters and their development.
I continued to find the whole ‘searching for a long dead Welsh King in a small town in Virginia’ thing odd as a concept, and I just can’t seem to get my head around the way all the magic works in the book. Is Ronan’s dream stealing gift anything to do with this main plot line of searching for Glendower, or not really? And what’s up with Adam’s new powers? It doesn’t help that it’s been so long since I read the first book that I can’t remember half of what happened in it. Like I have no idea what this sacrifice was that Adam made, or why he made it! The plot seemed quite slow and meandering in places, and then when some action did take place, it often left me confused as to what was happening (the ending for example where Ronan, Blue and Gansey are in one place doing something weird with magic, whilst Adam is running around doing something else with magic…what the hell was going on there?).
Also, whilst I quite liked the characters in The Raven Boys (aside from Blue who I thought was a bit dull) I didn’t like them quite so much in this second instalment. I felt like they were all reduced to one or two single character traits (Blue is quirky, Ronan is dark and dangerous, Adam is good but angry, Gansey is posh and passionate about his search for Glendower, etc.), and thought they often came off as a bit flat. Possibly this was because this is the second book, so we’re meant to already be familiar with the characters, but I had hoped to get to know more about them in this book. The only real character revelations were about Ronan’s family, and Ronan’s possible feelings for Adam, which considering the fact they barely interact with each other at all throughout this book, it seemed a bit out of the blue.
There were some elements I liked (Blue’s family are awesome, and I liked the addition of the Grey Man, and Kavinsky was interesting, if nothing else), and I by no means hated this book, but it just didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and I can see why so much is said of how amazing Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is, I just wish I could have gelled more with the plot and characters.
I do wonder if I would have liked this book more had I approached it blind, not knowing how amazing so many people think it is. Possibly it was the hype itself and my unrealistic expectations that let this book down the most for me! I’m really undecided whether to try book 3 or not, and see if I like it any better (and I am kind of curious to see if they ever find Glendower, however mystified I am as to why they are searching for him!), so I’ll have to think on that one!