Maggie Stiefvater starts where "Raven Boys" left off and brings the intricate plot, dimensional characters and beautiful, lyrical writing back in the second installment of the Raven Cycle, "Dream Thieves."
In the last-sentence cliff-hanger of "Raven Boys," Ronan Lynch divulged his secret that he could bring things from his dreams to reality. This secret is at the center of "Dream Thieves."
Since Adam Parrish woke the leyline, otherworldly magic surges through Henrietta, Va. The Henrietta residents we love (psychics of 300 Fox Way and lovable, ghostly Noah Czerny) are still part of the story, but the tragic prophecy from the first book is merely enough to keep those characters in our thoughts as Stiefvater moves the quest to find the vanished Welsh King Owen Glendower, who is said to grant a wish, to the background.
As Adam searches for his identity and struggles with past events and choices, and Blue Sargent, non-clairvoyant daughter of a psychic, and Richard Campbell Gansey III, who goes by Gansey, move closer to each other, the story is immersed in the dark and haunted mind of Ronan.
Ronan must figure out what his ability means to his past, present and future. He wrestles with what is dream and what is reality and how to handle his family issues (a secretive father, catatonic mother, and one brother he loves as much as he hates the other) while evading the deadly men who have come in search of the mysterious Graywaren.
One of those men is Mr. Gray — a charming, enigmatic un-villian. He quotes old English poetry, listens to the Kinks and fits in at 300 Fox Way in a way one wouldn't expect of a hitman. Stiefvater endears the reader to Mr. Gray to leave room for the true villain of "Dream Thieves" — Joseph Kavinsky.
If Ronan's life is dark, then Kavinsky's is a black hole. Kavinsky proves that magic can be used for evil and that if provoked, magic will strike back. By writing such a terrifying character, Stiefvater can prove Ronan is a character with more heart than thought in the previous book "The Raven Boys," and deserving of the companionship of his friends the Raven Boys, as the students at Aglionby Academy are known, and Blue.
With unforgettable lines and characters who seem as if they were best friends with the reader, Stiefvater, author of the New York Times best-selling Shiver trilogy series, has delved deeper into the magic of Henrietta and once again left the reader with a one-line cliff-hanger.
"Dream Thieves" includes mild occasional swearing and graphic violence, including fighting and killing.
If you go ...
What: Maggie Stiefvater book signing
When: Monday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City