Review: The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater

Note: There will be some spoilers for The Raven Boys in this post, but I will try to steer clear of spoiling The Dream Thieves.

After finishing The Raven Boys, I wanted to go out to the bookstore and buy The Dream Thieves in hardback. But since I almost never buy new hardbacks, and some people didn’t like The Dream Thieves as much, I instead put a sensible hold on the ebook copy at my library. The hold came in (blessedly promptly), and I read twenty pages of it, then the end, and then I went to Barnes & Noble and bought it in hardback. So, ten million stars.

Ronan, the mean one of the raven boys, confesses to his friends at the end of The Raven Boys that he took his pet raven, Chainsaw, out of his dreams. The Dream Thieves is about what else Ronan can learn to take from his dreams. A year and a half ago, Ronan found his father’s body; afterward he and his two brothers were given a few million dollars apiece and a command never to return to their home, where their mother has lived in perfect silence since their father’s death. Now a hit man has come to town to find whatever is making dreams survive, and the ley lines in Henrietta have been fluctuating madly since Adam’s sacrifice in Cabeswater.

[redacted: extremely long treatise on Niall Lynch and his bullshit]

Ronan ends The Dream Thieves with his emotions in slightly better order than he begins, but the opposite thing happens to poor old doomed Gansey. We are starting to see messier sides of him. There’s something tremendously unsympathetic about him picking a fight with Adam at the rich-people party they attend together and then doing this business:

Gansey glanced over his shoulder, furtive. His mouth made the shh shape, but not the sound.


“Oh, what?” Adam demanded. “You’re afraid someone will hear? They’ll know everything isn’t perfect in the land of Dick Gansey? A dose of reality could only help these people!”

That last bit is a very teenager thing for Adam to say, I will grant you. However, this is not a nice move on Gansey’s part! Enormous parties where people’s futures are being decided are not good places to initiate serious conversations about emotionally fraught issues! Especially if you are comparatively more at home at rich-people parties than your interlocutor. And also, once you have initiated the emotional conversation, you can’t then shush the other person. It is too late! If you didn’t want to have the conversation, don’t start the conversation. Good heavens.

[redacted: extremely long treatise on Gansey’s character]

[redacted: even longer treatise on that thing in books and movies where one person is like “I don’t want to have this conversation right now,” and it’s totally fair because the place where they are right now is not at all the venue for that conversation, but then the other person is like, “No, we’re talking about it! We’re talking about it now!”, and then they have a big fight, and how that is, like, not at all a constructive way of managing tense issues in a relationship, but everyone thinks it’s okay to do that in real life because they’ve seen it on TV so many times]

In case it’s not clear by this time, I’ll just state for the record that I loved this book as much as I loved the previous one. (Maybe more? Can’t decide.) It’s a huge cliche to say that the characters feel like real people to me, but they do — I keep wanting to gossip about them although they are not real. The redacted treatises were no joke. I had A LOT of things to say. Good to know it’s not just me though:

from Maggie Stiefvater's Tumblr
from Maggie Stiefvater’s Tumblr (click to embiggen)

In closing, that sexy dream Ronan had about Adam undoubtedly launched 1000 slashfics, and that is one of the things about the internet that makes me feel enormously fond of it.

  • Yes, I’m with Mumsy on Team Ronan!

    • Gin Jenny

      Okay! That is fair enough. Maybe I will change my team and be on Team Matthew Lynch. 😀

  • Oh wait wait wait. Come on! Gansey is a teenager too! Everybody expects him t act as old as he looks, but he is a very, very confused guy who at a very youthful age is considerably more self aware and more able to accept criticism than 95% of his peers! You are too hard on him because you like Adam best.

    Also, I think you should add in the redactions. Also, Team Ronan! I love it so much when he is with his brothers.

    • Gin Jenny

      Okay. You are right. Not about being too hard on him because I like Adam best. I’m being too hard on him because he acts like more of an adult than the others AND because I do not like how he sometimes treats Ronan and Adam and Noah like very very very beloved possessions. But you’re right! He is a teenager and I was being unfair.

  • aliceburton

    I am enjoying how emotionally invested you are in these characters, madam.

    • Gin Jenny

      Hahahaha, thanks. It is only because they are the best.

  • Truly it is a thing of goodness!

    • Gin Jenny

      It is, it is! I loved it so!

  • Those Raven Boys–irresistible. Stiefvater is so cool–“petition denied”–not a word wasted. Waiting for the Blue Lily, Lily Blue with bated breath.

    • Gin Jenny

      Oh Lord, me too. Can’t wait for October.

  • Yes!!! Can’t wait for the next one. CANNOT WAIT.

    • Gin Jenny

      GOD ME TOO.

  • I need to sign that petition for Adam! Can something (and someone) good FINALLY happen to him? That said, I want to know more about his future especially with his new found powers.

    • Gin Jenny

      Me too me too. I am so curious to see what he can do in the next book, and also if he is going to become very weird like Persephone. But I was really really sad when Blue told him she wasn’t into him. No blame to Blue. It was just a really sad scene.

      • aartichapati

        It was! I kind of hated Blue then because, I mean, could she not have found a better moment? And I feel like she used to have chemistry with Adam and now we are seeing her have chemistry with Gansey and I dunno, I feel like that is just kind of forced because she feels like it is meant to happen.

        I don’t know if Adam is my favorite or Ronan. Horribly, I loved the way Ronan treated Noah, which was not at all kindly but kind of hilarious.

      • Gin Jenny

        Mm, I can see where you are coming from BUT I feel like the transition was relatively smooth. She had a lot of chemistry with Adam in the last book because he was paying attention to her; in this book he’s not doing any of that stuff. He’s dealing with his issues (fair play to him, he’s got a lot of stuff going on). So there’s that, and plus I think Blue got really upset about him yelling at her and kicking his box of things in the beginning of this book. That would upset me a lot. That would put me right off a person.

        Hahahah, I totally love the way Ronan treats Noah. And I also love it when Ronan does a kind deed for Adam. When Ronan does kind deeds for Adam, my heartstrings are substantially tugged.

  • You were SO right about the bunch of Logan Echolls in boarding school and also magic. Plus, I loved The Raven Boys to pieces. And I love how none of them is able to see the bigger picture in anything they do. They make me want to shake them, but also to hug them, ’cause aww, those poor souls, they’re trying *so* hard and everything hurts. They are exactly what I want from fictitious teenagers on a quest.

    I’m not sure it’s wise for me to read The Dream Thieves ’til the next one is out, though. Does it end with a cliffhanger? ‘Cause I can live with the way The Raven Boys ends and wait, with some effort, for the rest of the series to be published, but if I read the second one and it ends terribly, I’ll go crazy.

    • Gin Jenny

      Ummmm, so — I’m going to say no. It ends with the same sort of thing as Raven Boys does, where it’s a surprise and you’re like, oh okay, so they’ll be dealing with this in the next book. But I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger. I think you are safe to read it. Just one woman’s opinion.

  • Mr Litlove tries to shush me sometimes, usually because I have not noticed he is entranced by something on television. This never ends well. Being shushed is terribly annoying, whatever the circumstances. You remind me I must read Maggie Stiefvater at some point – I am not a big YA fan, but I am intrigued by her.

    • Gin Jenny

      She’s intriguing! Or at least her books are. I was really really impressed with them.

  • RONAN.

    And ugh, that thing where television makes poor modes of behavior look like the norm so everyone does them. I hate that thing. I used to know this one girl who basically lived like she was on a sitcom, at least in terms of how she interacted with everyone around her, and it was the actual worst.

  • I listened to The Raven Boys on audio last fall and was so pleasantly surprised by it. I really need to pick this one up soon!