The second in Maggie Stiefvater‘s THE RAVEN CYCLE, and a direct sequel to The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves (2013) focuses on the character of Ronan Lynch, a teenage boy who — in the last sentence of the previous book’s final chapter — reveals to his friends that he can pull real objects out of his dreams.
But that’s getting ahead of myself. The gist of this four-part series is that four students of the prestigious Aglionby Academy are on a quest to find the resting place of Welsh king Owen Glendower. Their de-facto leader Gansey believes that he’s buried somewhere in the small town of Henrietta, Virginia, built on one of the powerful ley-lines that criss-cross the countryside. Gansey has devoted much of his young life to finding the crypt, and his friends Ronan, Adam and Noah (each with secrets of their own) have been helping him.
Blue Sargent has grown up in a house full of psychics, useful to them because her own gift is amplifying the power of others. She’s been warned her whole life that she’ll one day cause the death of her true love by kissing him — a warning she’s never taken seriously until she gets caught up in the lives of the Raven Boys.
But as I mentioned, this book focuses mostly on Ronan Lynch, who has the ability to slip into dreams and wake up with material objects from those dreams in his hands. He’s done so ever since he was a child, and is only now beginning to realize the true extent and capabilities of this gift. But Ronan is also the most volatile and unpredictable of the Raven Boys. In many ways he’s just as much a danger to them as any external threat.
I’ll be totally honest: I struggled a little through The Dream Thieves, and ended up churning through several other books while I picked my way through these chapters. Though things pick up again in the next book Blue Lily, Lily Blue, this one just didn’t captivate me as much. A lot of what happens here feels like set-up for the next two books, mixed in with a lot of character development and insight, plus what feel like half a dozen plot-threads that weave in and out of the main story.
It’s a twisty knot of plot, character, setting and prose, all wrapped up in an urban fantasy story that has a LOT of moving parts. So far Stiefvater has been able to keep all her balls in the air, though hopefully the next two books will start drawing the threads together. This lays the groundwork; the payoff is yet to be seen.