Book Review: The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves

When I visit the library, my one rule for choosing books is be random. Some days I might know beforehand that I want to get a certain book (it’s the next in a series, I’ve been meaning to read it because of recommendations or whatnot). But most days I go in with no plan and my reading choices are spontaneous. I will wander the shelves, picking up any book that stands out to me. This could be because I recognize the title/author or the cover looks cool. (Confession time: I absolutely judge books by their covers.) I think I chose The Raven Boys because it’s on a shelf I hardly ever pick from and the name Stiefvater seemed vaguely familiar. I have now completed The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. I have mixed feelings about continuing; you’ll see why in the reviews. I get the feeling I will though. ANYWAYS, on with the review!

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The Raven Boys

Started: Nov. 17, 2015 Finished: Nov. 25, 2015
2 and a half stars out of 5
Ages: 15 and up
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Mystery, Modern Fantasy, Romance
Amazon | GoodreadsBook Depository

The plot of this story did not immediately suck me in. In fact, the main plot (the plot of all the books combined) still isn’t very important to me. However, the farther along I got into this story, the more invested I became. When I read this book it was like:
image1I think I enjoyed the character interactions and the writing more than the plot. Which brings me to…

Characters. These are all beautifully-developed, authentic characters. While I didn’t exactly love everybody, I was deeply and hopelessly attached to them. I feel like they all complimented each other well with their differences. And the differences didn’t feel forced. I sometimes feel like authors force characters to be polar opposites just because there “needs” to be diverse personalities in a story. When done well, a variety of personalities can really improve the quality of a book. To keep your characters from being stiff and unnatural, you need to know a) what they need to do and b) why they do it. Blue, the Raven boys, and all the rest of the characters felt very real. This graph explains my feelings toward the characters in this book:

image1 (2)
Blue: bright blue. Gansey: blue, Noah: lavender, Ronan: red, Adam: green. Left side is my feelings, horizontal line is page number.

I did not like the chapters from the villain’s point of view. They bored me and I really wanted to skip some of them. Even though we have a somewhat large cast of “main characters”, the secondaries are not neglected. All of the women in 300 Fox Way were entertaining and interesting.

Aaaaand the writing. Ohmygoodness. This is where I go fangirl-crazy and lose control of my fingers. Stiefvater’s writing is exquisite. It’s just…oh, you’ve got to try her books just for the writing. Even if I didn’t care very much about the plot and even if the characters were terrible (and they weren’t) I would’ve finished this book for her writing. Hers is an elegant and touching and funny style. I would dare to say it’s close to perfection.

Additional Notes: The reason I only gave The Raven Boys 2 1/2 stars is because I have several moral problems with this story. Also, I cannot read more than 200 pages of this book in one sitting. I don’t know for sure why, but this book has a very depressing undertone (to me). After reading 100-200 pages, I have to take a break because by that point, my mind is sad and slow and heavy.

149030-ml-1070783

THE DREAM THIEVES

Started: Dec. 7th, 2015 Finished: Jan. 3rd, 2016
3 stars out of 5
Ages: 15 and up
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Modern Fantasy
 Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Similarly to the first book, I felt that the big focus of this series is the overarching plot, so even though it has it’s own plot, it feels much like a continuation of the journey we began in The Raven Boys. We meet a new villain/anti hero? in this installment, who is responsible for moving much of the story along. I also really liked the focus on Ronan in this book. This book follows the same basic formula as TRB but with even more tension.

Quick rundown of my thoughts on characters and character growth.
Ronan: One half of me is like “Ronan, my precious, no one must hurt you.” And then the other half is saying “No. No. NO. Ronan, you disappoint me.” (A lot of my moral problems with this series are because of Ronan.) This is hard because, while I love Ronan, there’s always this mental barrier between us.
Adam: “You are out of your mind. And selfish! What. Stop.” He’s better by the end though, and I’d like to see where he goes in the next book.
Noah: Stays the sweetheart that I love, but I still feel like he’s very much in the background. Maybe this is purposeful because of his state? (Not explicitly stating this because of spoilers.) The Blue and Noah moments though. Precious.
Blue: I think Blue had a smaller part in this story, or maybe it just felt that way because she was no longer the main POV??? She did seem less important, but it’s hard to say who’s getting the most attention with so many mains.
Gansey: I liked Gansey much, much better in this one. In TRB, he just seemed like an “ok” character. He is the driving force of a lot of the story, but I found him annoying. I connected with him more in this book, and that was nice.
I liked this villain a lot better than the last one, though I still could’ve done without half of his scenes. And his romantic interactions felt strange. (Ok, this wasn’t quick at all. Sorry for being misleading, but not for my opinions.)

Her writing does not cease to amaze. I cannot do her justice with my own feeble paragraphs.

Additional notes: As with TRB, I could not read over 200 pages with this book. Also, it took me so long to finish this book because I read up until the last 30ish pages and then had no motivation whatsoever to continue. So it sat on my shelf until I had to return it to the library and that prompted me to complete it.


 

So, yeah. There are things I love about this series as well as things I really dislike. Read this book if you love: wonderful writing, medium-dark supernatural, basically the best friendships ever and

Oh, and that reminds me, the last book in this series, The Raven King is coming out this April! If you’ve read TRB & TDT, what did you think of them? And if you haven’t, did my review make you want to read them? Or to lock your heart in a titanium safe and run?

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves

  1. I’ve heard mixed things about this series, and it has been in my TBR pile for awhile now. I think I may get around to it once the third releases so I won’t have to wait for the conclusion. I really enjoyed the graph you included for your feelings towards the characters! Great reviews!

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    1. Thanks! It’s actually a quartet and I’m reading the 3rd one now and I don’t want to finish it and have to deal with cliffhanger anxiety until ‘The Raven King’ comes out 😦 I hope you enjoy them since the writing is spectacular.
      I’m glad you liked the graph! I was a little worried it would confuse people, but it was more accurate and memorable in that format.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Euphoria I get when I read her writing! (Sorry for the weird split comment.)
    The majority of people have said they liked TRC better than the Wolves of Mercy Falls, so I was hesitant to try it out. Maybe I will someday; the premise does sound interesting.
    Thank you! It was way easier to make a visual than to try and explain the feelings I had towards all these characters.

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  3. Maggie Steivater has some of the best writing I’ve come across- SO GOOD! This series isn’t as good as her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, that was good. This series I found the plots all kept weaving in and around each other that it got confusing to read- and it was really hard to describe what the novel is about to people who wanted to know! But that hasn’t stopped me from reading this series, somehow- it really must be her writing haha! I also love that graph you drew! 🙂

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  4. First, I think it’s incredibly awesome that you go into the library without a plan and check out random books. I started doing this a year ago and it’s made reading even more exciting.

    Second…I feel like it’s about time I finally start reading the Raven Cycle. I have heard so much about it over the years, but I never picked it up. Honestly, the summary never piqued my interest, but people always raved more about the characters anyway.

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    1. Thank you! Randomness is my life. I’m so glad that you do this too! It makes going to the library like a blind date (sort of).
      Characters and writing style are amazing. The plot’s good, but I never found it very compelling.

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  5. I’ve been pretty hesitant with trying this series because there seems to be such a range of mixed reviews. I’m glad you found some improvement in the next installment though. I’m going to put this one on the back burner for now since I have so many priority reads I need to get to anyway. Great review, Lish! I really enjoy the graphics in the post!

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    1. It’s interesting that you’ve seen a range of reviews. When I’ve looked, it seemed either people loved the series or they hadn’t read it.
      Even though I love writing and communicating with words, sometimes it’s a lot easier to explain things with pictures/graphs. And I enjoy color-coding and drawing the charts.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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