A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
- Author: Maggie Stiefvater
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
- Publication date: September 17, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 448
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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