Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review: The Dream Thieves (Book 2 in The Raven Cycle)

It started off with promise but somewhere along the way, Maggie Stiefvater's The Dream Thieves, book two in The Raven Cycle series, loses interest in itself.

Perhaps it's in the abundance of imagery that staggers the progression of the story. Or in the forced manner in which Adam seems to be changing, going from a quiet, intelligent and poor but proud boy, to someone seriously whiney and exasperating to read as a character. But really, I think it fails because there just isn't enough meat in the story to justify 453 pages.

The Dream Thieves has an intriguing enough start. We learn that Ronan Lynch can pull things out of his dreams. These are mostly terrible things such as the Night Terrors, dark and evil creatures with beaks for mouths and sharp craws for hands that are out of slash him to ribbons. In the meanwhile, Gansey's search for Glendower is put on hold by the disappearance of Cabeswater, the ancient, magical forest they discovered in the last book. Blue starts to struggle with her feelings for Adam, and realises that she's drawn to Gansey, knowing full well how that's going to turn out after her vision of the two of them having their first and last kiss in the previous book. Noah too seems to be less there than usual, disappearing completely in the second half just like Cabeswater.

The book also introduces a Ronan's formidable nemesis and fatal attraction, the psychopathic Kavinsky who disregards personal and public safety in favour of dangerous drag races and Fourth of July explosions. We also get to meet The Grey Man, a mysterious assassin in search for an object that can invade dreams for the treasures that lie there.

The premise is fascinating and for that Stiefvater's imagination needs to be lauded. It's a pity that the world she weaves in her head reads more like a series of dreams, fascinating when you're penning it into a diary, but lacking in storytelling when you try to put them together.

The novel needed more. Be it more plot connectors or hooks that draw you from one chapter to the next and from this book to the third.

Frankly, I'm going to have to take a break from this series because unlike Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, heck, even Twilight, the series isn't immersive enough to keep you hooked from one book to the next.

The Ravel Boys helped the series off to a good start. But The Dream Thieves makes me wonder if Steifvater is just stretching the series on just for the sake of it.

I honestly believe this book was an unnecessary detour to a very promising story, shifting the reader's focus from the real prize, the unearthing of Welsh legend, Glendower.

I'm still going to finish this series because I've committed to it and I genuinely like it. But yes, a break is is order before I can delve into the next one because finishing this book was felt like a chore. And it will take me some time to get over that.

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