The Dream Thieves: The Raven Cycle, Book 2

Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Dream Thieves: The Raven Cycle, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Slow, lyrical prose builds to a thrilling, bloody sequel.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers learn about the myth of the sleeping king -- the last Welshman to be titled Prince of Wales, Owen Glendower -- and the belief that his remains will endow someone with supernatural abilities.

Positive Messages

Dream Thieves is a story about secrets, loyalty, power, and friendship. The power of friendship is so important that two characters are attracted to each other but choose not to act on their feelings so they won't hurt another close friend. Blue and the guys are remarkably attached to one another, even when they disagree or hurt one another's feelings. The idea of being rich in parental love and support even if you're poor also is explored, because Adam has neither means nor familial love, only his friends. Home, family, and finding out why you're special all are major themes as well, as the characters figure out what makes them unique and gifted.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ronan and Gansey are millionaires, but money is only a resource for them; they're more interested in their friendships and their passions. Ronan refuses to turn his back on a friend, even though another guy offers him the promise of unchecked power. Adam is obsessed with being a self-made man. Blue deals with a lot of conflicting feelings and hurts someone, but she still loves him. Gansey is fiercely loyal to his friends, particularly Adam, who's his opposite in many ways. Blue's mother and her best friends all are devoted to one another and want to help young Blue and her friends.

Violence

There are scenes of unflinching, bloody violence. A guy remembers in vivid detail what his dead father's caved-in face looked like. One character is a mysterious hit man who hurts some people (injuring them) and shoots others with a casualness that's horrifying. A character dies violently, and violence is inflicted with guns, bombs, cars, and fists.

Sex

Blue refuses someone's advances and accepts another guy's offer to kiss, and later she and someone else bury their heads in each other's shoulders but don't actually kiss. A teen guy has a sensual dream about a male friend and wakes up both "ashamed" and "ecstatic." Adults make out, and it's clear they have sex at one point, although nothing specific is described other than that they're in bed together.

Language

Strong language includes the occasional "pussy," "d--k,"  "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and the slur "fag."

Consumerism

Brands featured are mostly car companies: Mitsubishi, Camaro, BMW, GMC Suburban, and others.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's some underage drinking at a couple of parties. One secondary character deals and uses drugs, sometimes in outrageously overt ways, like snorting cocaine off of a car's dashboard. Ronan takes sleeping pills to get to sleep faster.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dream Thieves is the second book in award-winning young adult author Maggie Stiefvater's best-selling series, The Raven Cycle. There's even more violence in this installment than in its predecessor, The Raven Boys, as well as more references to lust and romance (adults date, kiss, and eventually make love, but it's not described, and the female protagonist deals with an unintended love triangle). The violence is quite bloody, and the language is as strong as in the original ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole"). There's some underage drinking, and a secondary character deals and uses drugs. The story explores issues about family relationships, the unconditional nature of friendship, sexual orientation, and class.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byG30rg!3 October 4, 2013

Beautifully written, fantastically creative.

I absolutely love this book (and everything Maggie Stiefvater writes), not only fir the plot and characters but her deliciously descriptive writing style. You c... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byhistorysavenger March 5, 2017

action pact instant classic in my family/friend group.

This book is the second installment in the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and centers around Ronan Lynch who is kind of a mysterious figure in the firs... Continue reading

What's the story?

DREAM THIEVES follows the tremendous cliffhanger ending to The Raven Boys. The actions of Blue and her "Raven Boys" Ronan, Gansey, Adam, and Noah have awoken the supernatural leyline in rural Henrietta, Va., and no one is the same. Ronan, in particular, keeps having intense dreams and realizing that he can make more and more things from his dreams materialize in real life. Blue deals with her confusing feelings for best friends Gansey and Adam, and a mysterious, scholarly hit man pops up in Henrietta, posing a deadly threat to the entire clan.

Is it any good?

Maggie Stiefvater is not a zippy writer; her prose is lush and filled with detailed imagery and descriptive scenes. Combine her poetic writing style with the complicated plot line of a four-book series, and it's easy to imagine that some readers won't get past the first 50 pages. That's a shame for impatient readers, because once you're fully immersed in the story, it has a glorious, meticulously planned payoff that will simultaneously break your heart, give you hope, and make you demand the next installment.

Although Dream Thieves, as with all of Stiefvater's books, switches points of view among multiple characters, the main focus is the titular "Dream Thief," Ronan Lynch, a troubled soul who can't get over the death of his father. Adam continues to struggle with a mountainous "trailer trash" chip on his shoulder (he's a genius but has no money, no family, and too much pride), but, like all of the Raven Boys, there's more to him, and you ache for him to find love. Blue and Gansey's friendship teeters dangerously on the verge of something more. And Mr. Gray is the most perfectly named, morally ambiguous new character to the already crowded story. Keep reading, because however big the fireworks are in Dream Thieves, it's clear this series is only going to keep getting better and better.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the paranormal elements in Dream Thieves differ from those in The Raven Boys. Do you prefer the dream story line or the overarching sleeping-king story line?

  • Although there are multiple points of view, Dream Thieves focuses mostly on one character. Which character(s) do you hope get the spotlight in the next book in the series?

  • Maggie Stiefvater is known for her lyrical prose, which tends to divide readers. What do you think of her poetic use of imagery and her focus on descriptive language? Do you like her style or prefer more dialogue-driven writers?

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