The final line of The Raven Boys left me wanting. With that being said, Ronan is the star of the second book in this series, and I am so glad for it. He was my favorite character in the first story, and like Blue, I wanted to get to know this strange boy – edges and all.
The quest to find Gansey’s Welsh king from the first book has taken a backseat here. Instead, this book focuses on the idea of secrets. There are three that Ronan describes in the beginning of the story.
“There are three kinds of secrets. One is the sort everyone knows about, the sort you need at least two people for. One to keep it. One to never know. The second is a harder kind of secret: one you keep from yourself. Every day, thousands of confessions are kept from their would-be confessors, none of these people knowing that their never-admitted secrets all boil down to the same three words: I am afraid.
And then there is the third kind of secret, the most hidden kind. A secret no one knows about. Perhaps it was known once, but was taken to the grave. Or maybe it is a useless mystery, arcane and lonely, unfound because no one ever looked for it.
Sometimes, some rare times, a secret stays undiscovered because it is something too big for the mind to hold. It is too strange, too vast, too terrifying to contemplate.
All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers or keptfrom, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches — that’s what will be left at the end of it all.”
Slowly, we get to know Ronan in a way we were never privileged to in the first book. Each of these secrets plays an important part in the story – and by the end, I feel like we know Ronan better than even his own friends do. We learn more about his ability as a dreamer. We learn about his family – as Ronan’s ability places both himself and those around him in danger. I found myself worrying for him as his thrill seeking behavior more than pushed his limits – the guy isn’t just in danger from his enemies, but from himself as well. Though the friends seemed quite united in The Raven Boys, here, each of them is struggling with their own personal issues.
Adam is juggling three jobs in order to pay for his education while also coming to terms with the sacrifice he made at the end of book one. It was interesting to see him work through this – and what it means – especially since Adam has always been so very stubborn in his insistence on being his own separate being. He’s reluctant to allow anyone to help him – something he admits is an issue of pride, but something he will always stand his ground on. At the same time, I found myself irritated with him – his pride forces him to see everything negatively – even acts of kindness from friends. Even simple concern can be taken wrong, which I know is something Adam needs to work on on his own.
Noah, meanwhile, is barely visible. He disappears and reappears randomly, and often needs to draw energy from his friends to remain where he is. His energy is tied to the ley line, and though Adam made it stronger previously, there is something that is causing its energy to weaken. We do learn what that something is, and again, it comes down to Ronan – only in part, though. The book is called The Dream Thieves, after all.
Blue is still struggling with her fated kiss, which means the death of her true love. I was sad to see her take on a more background role this time around. Much of her plot line involved being one part of the love triangle, which bothered me. Thankfully, she doesn’t fade into the cliche YA heroine in love with two boys, and her feelings are stated very obviously throughout the book. The romance we do get feels organic, a perfect slow burn that I hope we get more of in book three. Blue is as strong as ever, refusing to be an object to either love interest – but, like her, I wanted that something more. I’ve always felt she’s been an important part in this group of friends – not only for her role as the only female, but because of the bonds she’s formed with each of them. She doesn’t have the history Gansey and Ronan have, so she is left with the here and now.
Gansey tends to cling to that former version of Ronan, which I found problematic at times.
You don’t value a friendship for what “was.” It’s no better than someone being in a destructive relationship and hoping the person changes back into the affectionate person they once were. Gansey himself seems to struggle with each of his friendships – each fragmented in its own way. The have-not Adam and the have-it-all Gansey grow further and further apart here, not only because of their background, but also because of the sacrifice Adam made. I did enjoy seeing the very strong brotherly bond Gansey and Ronan have, however. Over and over, Ronan is teased about his relationship with Gansey, with some characters seeing it as a romantic one. It was refreshing to see his feelings shown in a way that didn’t have sex enter into the equation, though at times I admitted I almost wanted the feelings to be non-platonic. Ronan doesn’t deny his sexuality here either, which is also so, so refreshing. Though it is a major part of one of his secrets, you can see that he comes to terms with who he is by the end.
New characters are introduced, including another Aglionby boy and a mysterious – and dangerous – stranger that courts Blue’s mother. I enjoyed the addition of the latter character immensely. Through his eyes, you get a few wonderful descriptions of characters we already love. Here’s his view of Ronan.
While The Dream Thieves wasn’t the perfect book the first in the series is, I enjoyed it. I read it over two sittings on my trip to Disneyland and finished it one hour before I got home on the trip back. I’ve actually already started Blue Lily, Lily Blue because I couldn’t resist before writing this!…With that being said, it’s a ⅘ for me. While I loved seeing so much from Ronan, I hope we get a more normal format in the third.