The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle Book Two)


Samantha Joslin

The second installment in The Raven Cycle series, appropriately entitled The Dream Thieves, delves into Ronan’s startling confession at the end of book one: that he took his pet raven, Chainsaw, out of his dreams. The ability to dream objects into reality makes Ronan a “Greywaren”; his father was a Greywaren before him, and was killed for it. This book is undeniably Ronan’s and his novel is grittier than the first, especially with the introduction of a hit-man known only as “The Gray Man”. The Gray Man is sent to collect the Greywaren by his employer, who erroneously believes that it’s an object while the readers know that the Greywaren is actually Ronan himself.

We learn all we’ll ever need to know about Ronan’s ability to take things out of his dreams, including what not to do, what the repercussions are, what the active dangers are, what his limits are and where he got the ability from. However, I feel that this could’ve easily been explored in book one or as a subplot in book two, while the overarching Glendower storyline progressed. There was little to no advancement in the search for Glendower and this almost seemed like a book in a different series with an entirely different focus.

This book is more dangerous than the first, with peril of both the magical and mundane variety—including monsters accidently pulled from Ronan’s unconscious and injurious car accidents—but Stiefvater fails to describe her action scenes in a way that makes the reader grip the edge of their seat.  The only reason the action scenes are nerve-wracking is because the thought of anything bad happening to the characters is as horrible as it would be if they were real people, which, due to Stiefvater’s realistic writing, they might as well be.

Anyone will be hard-pressed to find characters more intriguing and complicated than Stiefvater’s main clan of five, who grow deeper, more contradictory and more real with each passing chapter. They are each so uniquely crafted and flawed, and the clever, laugh-out-loud dialogue from each character pertains to their unique personalities so well that it’s almost unnecessary to label who said what.

Stiefvater writes as if she’s trying to escape the bounds of YA Fiction; her classy, flowery language doesn’t traditionally fit with that genre. However, it has the effect of letting her novels transcend other teen fiction books and invites more mature readers into the series. Even if Stiefvater’s poetic writing doesn’t manage to hook you in, the intricate, damaged, real-life characters will make you want to pick up the book again and again, even when it gets boring.

If you’re looking for a series of characters to be obsessed with and a storyline to fall into, The Raven Cycle is perfect for you.