Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review - The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Date: 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 360
Format: e-book
Source: library

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is the second installment in The Raven Cycle.  After finishing the first book, I sort of wanted to keep reading.  After finishing the second book, I sort of don't.  Can someone just let me know if Gansey bites the dust in the end?  (I jest, of course.  I hate spoilers as much as the next reader!)

Reading this book was a weird experience.  It was almost like the opposite of déjà vu.  I couldn't remember half of what went on in The Raven Boys, so continued references to events from that book just had me confused.  In addition to that, there were references within The Dream Thieves to events that had previously occurred in that very book... and it was like I hadn't read them at all.  I'm not sure if it's because of the style of writing in the book; it's technically sound and quite pretty, but it's also rather detached because it's multiple third-person limited-omnicient... so we bounce around between most of the characters and nearly get literary whiplash.  I almost wish that Stiefvater had limited herself to one character point of view per book... but then, I'm not sure she could have told this particular story, since it's so complex.

It also seemed like I was reading about entirely different characters than those in the first book.  I don't remember Blue being so annoying in The Raven Boys, or Gansey so childish, or Adam so mean.  Ronan was different, too, though in a better way (since I really disliked him in the first book and now I only sort of dislike him).

Overall, the impression I got from reading this book was that it was an exercise in character building.  The story is complex, but the pacing is slow for much of the book, which makes it seem like there isn't much of a plot.  Like The Raven Boys, the story is pretty heavily weighted toward the back end; in fact, I almost gave up numerous times throughout the first quarter of the book.  But I kept going and stuff started happening and then the action stopped just as we're hit with a shocking revelation that will be relevant in the next book.  I think I'm seeing a pattern here...

I was not terribly impressed with The Dream Thieves as far as the story went.  It seemed like a lot of stuff happened, complete with convenient contrivances and mentions of so many characters I could never keep them all straight (who the heck is Jimi?).  However, Maggie Stiefvater is a decent writer and when I'm reading one of her books I can usually let the snarky little editor in my head put down her red pen and take a nap.  Sometimes things do get a little overly wordy, but at least there's no incorrect grammar to make me want to tear the book into tiny little shreds.

Despite what I said before, I might keep reading this series... if I can manage to remember what happened in The Dream Thieves by the time Blue Lily, Lily Blue is released.  The books aren't particularly bad, especially if you don't mind a leisurely pace and a story that takes many installments to tell.  At the moment, though, I'm craving something that has a beginning, a middle, and an end that doesn't require thousands of pages and years of waiting to get through!

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing: 4/5
Editing: 5/5
Originality: 3/5
Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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