The Raven Cycle
is a tip of the tongue puzzle, at once familiar and alien and ever fascinating. In THE RAVEN BOYS, Stiefvater gave us not just one heroine, not just one hero, but a world where it seemed every character carried their own seeds of greatness. In THE DREAM THIEVES, that world spirals ever deeper to reveal explore the villains in the cast. Beneath the emptiness and destruction lie boys that want to be loved, that want to be powerful, that just want and want and want as they burn up the world. And through that crucible of need some peel away the impurities, emerging battered and smaller but unmistakably heroic. Some, not all.
The magic of Maggie Stiefvater's writing is so difficult to describe, but indelible to experience. She made me weep for the bad boys, the murderers and drag racers, and showed the darker side of her heroes. In short, I fell in love with just about *everybody*, including the characters I didn't want to like, the ones I didn't want to forgive. And all of that love was good, as THE DREAM THIEVES still refuses to buckle under and become a "typical romance". It's not so much that there's a love triangle as... everyone is loveable. And life is messy. Also, there's magic and some people are going to die. Or have died. See? This is hard to express. Just know that on every page Stiefvater wrote a sentence that made me smile, made me go back and read it again. And as much as I wanted to pick a "favorite", to focus in on one story or one character and judge everyone else by that yardstick, Stiefvater stubbornly made me love them all.
This series shares more DNA with Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint than the usual paranormal YA. The world inside THE DREAM THIEVES feels bigger than what's around us. Stiefvater combines the details of real life with leavening magic to produce a mesmerizing, ever-expanding wealth of moments, each one I want to live inside and experience first hand. I put down this book and felt bereft that I didn't have the next one to reach for, exiled from Henrietta for another year.
Full review to follow.
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex.