Check this review out and others on my blog: Get Real.
True to its word, the latest installment in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is about dreams...moreCheck this review out and others on my blog: Get Real.
True to its word, the latest installment in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is about dreams and the things we take from them. However, not all dreams come with sleep, and in this story dreams are more often akin to nightmares. The Dream Thieves is a surreal and complex book about the nature of secrets, desire, fear, obsession, self-loathing, love and malice. It is also a story rife with anxiety. I dreaded reading this book. My discomfort however did not stem from the presence of a supernatural threat, or a fear that a character might meet an untimely end. My sense of dread in The Dream Thieves, appropriately, grew out of the author's examination of the characters' troubled and troubling psyches.
Adam, who is perhaps the most troubled member of the cast, succinctly reveals the nature of this story early on when asking himself what he wants: "To feel awake when my eyes are open." This line conveys the struggle all the characters face throughout — the disconnect between what they want and what's actually before them.
The Dream Thieves continues the characters' quest to find the ancient Welsh king Glendower, who is possibly lying buried in a rural town in Virginia. Picking up from the ominous conclusion of The Raven Boys, this book brings a different focus to the search. There is less to do with the search itself and more to do with the searchers. The quest for Glendower took a bit of a back seat to the psychological plundering everyone did in this book, and I have to say that turned out for the best. Maggie Stiefvater is a descriptive writer able to create a sense of atmosphere so palpable at times one feels transported to the scenes she draws. Even at her most middling, Stiefvater knows how to set the mood. She also knows teens. The struggles the kids in this story face make real-world sense despite their supernatural trappings, and the characters' voices are authentic.
This is a sophisticated series that still manages to remain suited for the intended audience. Some of the author's narrative choices however may frustrate readers who want immediate answers to the many mysteries in these books. Additionally, character revelations are often brought to light through the observations of others, thus preventing readers from fully examining character motivations. This is a fairly complex technique that at first would seem shoddy. It's not; Stiefvater by doing this is fully getting at the nature of perception and relationships. The Dream Thieves is about the most unknown corners of existence — our own minds. Therefore, there will be gaps in the narrative at times. I will admit that more needs to be said about certain occurrences, but with two more books to go in this series, I'm expecting more development later. At its heart, I consider the Raven Cycle to be more of a mystery than anything else. There are quite a few twists and turns throughout, and The Dream Thieves in particular possesses a conclusion that delightedly leaves the reader on tenter hooks.(less)
Read this in a few hours after work. It's a really quick read told using current media as a storytelling venue. The original Dracula was told using le...moreRead this in a few hours after work. It's a really quick read told using current media as a storytelling venue. The original Dracula was told using letters, diary entries, news articles, etc. This story is told through Web pages, text messages, e-mails and Internet news articles. It's your basic horror-thriller. Engaging, unique (comes with an interactive mobile app) and the characters actually have some appeal despite the narrow venue provided for development for them. The original, from what I remember, had Jonathan Harker as the main character and teller of the story. In this version, he provides some of the exposition, but the author gives you a twist and makes Harker's girlfriend the hero. Fun little book. (less)
This is a story within a story (or maybe I should say stories within a story). A monster visits 13-year-old Conor O'Malley one night after he has woke...moreThis is a story within a story (or maybe I should say stories within a story). A monster visits 13-year-old Conor O'Malley one night after he has woken up from another nightmare in which he has been visited by a different and unnamed monster. The monster who does visit is embodied in a yew tree that he can see from his kitchen window. This monster is going to tell him some hard truths about life, and Conor is going to have to tell the monster some truths by the end of their time together.
Bleak and yet funny, this is a moving story about coming to terms with loss. The illustrations and spare prose amplify the chilling atmosphere, and toward the end, telling the truth feels like running the last leg of a race. This is a scary book, but it's also an important one and a necessary one for the right person to read. I'd give this whatever award it qualifies for.(less)
A fun book with great illustrations that very nicely depicts between a longing for adventure and a desire for tranquility. also a good book about frie...moreA fun book with great illustrations that very nicely depicts between a longing for adventure and a desire for tranquility. also a good book about friendship. (less)
I recently read some horrible things about this book while I was reading about the history of it a few months ago. Apparently certain adults feel like...moreI recently read some horrible things about this book while I was reading about the history of it a few months ago. Apparently certain adults feel like it's obscene. Seriously? As a child, I can say, it never once entered my head, and until I read what these other people said about it, it still never entered my head. This is a great book and there is something to be said for reading too much into something.(less)