The Raven Boys was one of my favourite discoveries of this year, so it was with a mixture of trepidation and unabashed excitement that I picked up The Dream Thieves. It's not often that a sequel completely surpasses its predecessor, but The Dream Thieves exceeded all of my (already high) expectations and made me fall in love with Stiefvater's world - and my Raven Boys! - all over again.
One of The Dream Thieves' biggest strengths is arguably its enchanting cast of characters. I'm so intrigued by Ronan and his brothers -- and just how different they are from one another. From Ronan, the dark, troubled dreamer, to Declan, the liar, to Matthew, who is almost cherubic, I can't wait to learn more about the Lynch clan. I'm still worried about Adam, and absolutely love Noah, even though loving him also breaks my heart a bit. Gansey is still my favourite of the boys, and the main subject of my many, many theories regarding the future of this series. Thanks to Stiefvater's mastery of third person narration the Raven Boys have, once again, completely captured my heart in a way that very few characters have before - and likely very few will again.
My only complaint about The Raven Boys was that it started off very slowly and took a while to set the stage for the main action. In The Dream Thieves, no time is wasted as the focus shifts from Gansey's search for Glendower to Ronan's ability to turn his dreams into reality. Between hit men with a fondness for The Kinks, street races, and night terrors shaped like bird men, the story moves at a fast pace and makes it incredibly hard to put this book down for any reason.
While the romance in this book is rather subtle and takes a backseat to the more pressing matters, the threat that Blue will kiss and kill her true love still lingers in the background. It impacts her relationships with the Raven Boys, which grow and change throughout the course of the book. The Dream Thieves also contains one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful kissing scenes ever as it was entirely unexpected, and filled with awkwardness, sadness, and wonder.
Overall, The Dream Thieves is the perfect book: beautifully written, character driven, and magical. The wait for the third book is going to be much too long, so I'll have to content myself with revisiting my Raven Boys and endlessly speculating about where their story could go from here.
This review can also be found at The In-Between Place.