August 27, 2014
The Dream Thieves is the second book in the four-book Raven Cycle. The sequel follows four private school boys (Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah), three professional psychics (Calla, Maura, and Persephone), two cars (an elderly but powerful Camaro named the Pig and a brutish but nuanced Mitsubishi named the Mitsubishi), and one clever and judgmental girl who is shorter than the author (Blue). Gansey still searches the mountains of Virginia for the legendary Welsh king Glendower, a quest made more plausible by the group’s discovery of a creepy, gorgeous, sentient, magical, adjective, adjective forest called Cabeswater. In The Dream Thieves, however, all of this takes a back seat to Ronan’s confession on the last page of The Raven Boys: he can take things out of his dreams.
Things you should remember: The book takes place in Henrietta, VA, a town crossed by a ley line — an invisible energy path. Noah is dead: he creepily reenacts his own death without noticing. Blue is cursed: if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. Gansey is deathly allergic to bees.
Also remember: Ronan’s father Niall was murdered mysteriously before book 1 began, and his mother Aurora became catatonic directly afterward. She remains motionless as the Barns, the Lynch family home, though none of her sons can see her: Niall’s will forbids the brothers from returning home.
Oh, also remember: In the last book, Adam Parrish made a hasty bargain with the creepy, gorgeous, sentient, magical, adjective, adjective forest. He promised to be its hands and its eyes. No, nobody else knows what the hell that means either. WTH, Adam.
Cue some light summer driving music. Let’s do this thing.
what went down
- Ronan has three secrets. 1. His scoundrel father could take things out of his dreams. 3. Ronan can also take things out of his dreams. #2? There was no 2. What? It’s probably nothing. It’s just the wind.
- Ronan demonstrates his secret for the boys and Blue. Blue, by the way, is 100% not in love with Gansey. She hasn’t been staring at him for a page and a half. He does not have a great mouth. It’s just the wind.
- Here is a thing that’s not the wind: The Gray Man, the hitman who killed Niall Lynch, has come to town looking for something called the Greywaren. He kicks the stuffing out of Ronan’s older brother Declan and questions him. Although 90% of Raven Cycle readers and characters dislike Declan, the author would like to point out that Declan handles the interrogation with due dignity.
- Gansey’s mother quietly runs for Congress in the background.
- As the boys and Blue riding back from exploring in the Camaro, a Mitsubishi pulls up alongside. Inside is Kavinsky, an Aglionby student named after the French house artist of the same name (who is not fond of the tender homage, the author sadly notes). His eyeballs say LET’S RACE. My, thinks Ronan to himself with a curled lip, that boy is certainly one hundred percent not attractive. “My,” Gansey says out loud with a curled lip, “that boy is one hundred percent not attractive.” “Asshole,” notes Blue. Adam adds, “There is no point racing with him as we’re carrying four living passengers which results in a loss of 7.5 horsepower for each of us using even the most forgiving of weight gain to power loss formulas.” Ronan concludes that his friends suck and are no fun.
- The Gray Man likes Henrietta. He decides he could really spend some quality time here, if it weren’t for his employer, Colin Greenmantle, the man who really wants the Greywaren: an object rumored to allow one to pull things from dreams.
- Back at Monmouth Manufacturing, the gutted hipster warehouse palace the boys live in, Ronan tries to describe to Gansey how his dream-to-reality process works. He makes a small gay joke, which is funny because he is definitely not interested in boys, and then he shows Gansey what he has just pulled from his dream: a wooden puzzle box that translates phrases from old languages.
- The next day, Blue waitresses at Nino’s as the boys discuss the puzzle box and Gansey’s dead Welsh royal boyfriend Glendower. Kavinsky appears and gives a pile of leather bracelets identical to the ones Ronan already wears. He also makes a “your mama” joke because what else do you get for the man who has everything?
- The Gray Man explores Henrietta using fancy energy devices. The Greywaren supposedly gives off energy when used, but so does this ley line thing. The Gray Man’s brother calls as he works, but he doesn’t pick up. He finds a twisted, black rose plant somehow affected by the strange energy lines in Henrietta. Cool, thinks the Gray Man. Too bad my brother is such an off-screen creeper.
- Adam discovers Aglionby tuition is going up. Bad news: he is still poor.
- Adam discovers he’d like to kiss Blue. Bad news: she doesn’t want him to.
- Cue: fight. Cue: cold shower. Cue: landlady informing Adam that, strangely enough, his rent has been reduced the exact same amount the tuition raise. This sounds suspicious like charity to Adam. Who could be pointing their charity gun at him? GANSEY!!?? A box gets kicked in this chapter.
- While Ronan, Gansey, and Noah are hanging around the Dollar City — because that’s what cool rich kids with lots of expendable income do — Adam calls. He’s seen a ghost. Mon dieu, says Gansey. Ghosts? In this series? As Gansey talks on the phone, Ronan notes that he is a fine-looking rich boy and that this pisses him off. The idea of home also pisses him off. This whole pissing chapter pisses him off. A snow globe full of glitter gets dropped in this chapter.
- Later, Gansey carefully asks Adam if he would like to go to his mother’s Congressional party in D.C. “Nothing bad will happen there,” he promises. “It will not be a plot point or anything.” In the background, Ronan throws Noah out of the window.
- Ronan takes some time to dream an exact copy of Kavinsky’s white sunglasses.
- At Sunday Mass, Declan tells Ronan to keep his head down and not hang out with Kavinsky. I know, we don’t know why he bothers. Ronan leaves and promptly finds Kavinsky. Ronan tosses the copied sunglasses into the Mitsubishi. Then they race, as one does after Mass.
- The Gray Man stops by 300 Fox Way for research. He can’t help but notice that Maura, Blue’s mother, is a little foxy. She can’t help but notice that he is a little foxy too. He tells them he’s a hit man, then quotes a little Anglo-Saxon poetry to break up the heavy mood. Calla makes him a drink.
- While the ladies of 300 Fox Way are occupied stealing the Gray Man’s wallet, the boys and Blue travel to Cabeswater to search for Glendower. The group discovers that the creepy, gorgeous, sentient, magical, adjective, adjective forest is missing.
- GASP WHAT
- The Camaro breaks down.
- SPOILER: It’s the alternator.
- HOW DOES A WHOLE FOREST GO MISSING WHAT WHAT
- That night, Ronan has a nightmare about a mask that fuses to Adam’s face. Noah wakes him just as he is ripping it — and Adam’s skin — off. But it’s too late. Ronan has also manifested one of his night terrors, which are clawed, beaked, greasy birdmen who want Ronan dead.
- Gansey and Ronan kill one of the night horrors, but one of them gets away. There is a gross sentence with a box cutter in this chapter.
- The boys and Blue violate Niall Lynch’s will to bury the bird man at the Barns. They discover the Barns is full of sleeping animals — every living thing Niall Lynch ever dreamed into being has fallen asleep upon his death. Including Ronan’s mom, Aurora.
- WHAT SHE’S A DREAM CREATURE WHAT NIALL DREAMED HIMSELF A WOMAN WHAT FEMINISM GOES BONK
- A wall gets punched in this chapter. Also Ronan snuggles a baby mouse.
- In light of Ronan being the product of a dream-mama, they convince him to talk it out with Calla. She says dream objects have no soul of their own, so therefore, when the dreamer dies, the object falls into stasis, unless the object is put back into a dream. “Hey,” says Ronan. “You know what’s dreamy? The creepy, gorgeous, sentient, magical, adjective, adjective forest.”
- THAT’S MISSING, REMEMBER?.
- The boys and Blue explore a lake on the leyline and find an old shield boss and an ancient Camaro wheel. No, actually ancient. 500 years old. That’s what we call a “classic.”
- The Gray Man picks through the boys’ hipster factory palace while they’re out. As he is carefully and respectfully prying through their private things, two random thugs break in and begin actually tossing the place. The Gray Man is so offended! This is not the respectful way to break into someone’s home. So he kills them. He also calls Maura to flirt with her.
- Kavinsky also stops by Monmouth Manufacturing to drop off dozens of forged drivers licenses, all with Ronan’s face.
- Assuming Kavinsky trashed Monmouth, Gansey and Ronan track down Kavinsky at one of his “substance parties.” They don’t get a lot of information, but Gansey imperiously and nobly throws a Molotov cocktail into a Volvo and Ronan lights the Mitsubishi on fire while Kavinsky stands really close to him. It probably doesn’t sound hot in this summary, but I swear to you, it’s pretty sweaty, especially if you’re the sort that goes for cars, fire, and felonies.
- Maura and the Gray Man go on a date. The Gray Man talks about hiding from his sociopathic brother who tormented him as a child. He also talks Anglo-Saxon poetry, because he knows what the ladies like. Then they kiss, which, finally. Someone should get kissed in this series.
- Ronan has a dream that’s sweatier than the substance party chapter, especially if you’re the sort who goes for tattoos or Catholics or French house artists. This is chapter 30, also known as METAPHOR CITY
- Gansey’s sister Helen flies Adam and Gansey to D.C. in her helicopter. The boys call the old professor Malory for ideas about Cabeswater’s disappearance. Malory speculates that something might be robbing the ley line of energy. Then they talk a little bit about fancy show pigeons. You know, I wrote this book, and that sounds crazy even to me.
- Back at Monmouth, Blue and Noah kiss in a recreational way, since she doesn’t have to worry about killing HIM.
- Ronan realizes his father has left some kind of clue at the bottom of his will: a sentence in a mysterious language that Ronan translates with the puzzle box.
- In D.C., Adam mingles at the Gansey Congressional party. He is feeling pretty crazy; he’s been hearing voices & seeing ghosts. He also hates people, it turns out, especially people with champagne. Then the power goes out; everyone hears a voice singing “The Raven King, make way for the Raven King” in Latin. This is not how these things normally go.
- Back in Henrietta, Ronan uses a set of dreamed up keys to steal the Camaro and drag race with Kavinsky, who mysteriously has another Mitsubishi. As they race, a night horror lands on the Camaro and he wrecks it. Kavinsky returns to shoot the night horror and collect Ronan in his car.
- Kavinsky reveals that he, too, is a dream thief. He shows Ronan a field of 100 nearly identical white Mitsubishis, which is how you can tell Maggie Stiefvater wrote this book.
- Gansey and Adam fight. Gansey calls Blue for some solace. It’s sort of touching.
- The next morning, Gansey discovers Adam has gone missing. After the entire Gansey family searches the neighborhood, Adam finally calls. He forgot himself and walked miles down the interstate.
- Why would Adam do such a thing as forget his own body? Oh right, because he made a bargain with a creepy, gorgeous, sentient, magical, adjective, adjective forest.
- Kavinsky teaches Ronan how to drink, get high, and get things from dreams. Ronan learns how to steal big things from his dream and also that this savage dreaming is what is draining the ley line . . . and making the creepy, gorgeous, sentient, magical, adjective, adjective forest disappear.
- Ronan dreams a new copy of Gansey’s Camaro — perfectly battered and terrible, just the way he likes it, not like that’s a metaphor or anything — and then abandons Kavinsky rather rudely.
- The Gray Man, meanwhile, has figured out that the Greywaren is Ronan. He glumly informs Maura, who of course already knows. The Gray Man doesn’t want to kidnap Ronan, but Greenmantle tells him that if he doesn’t return with the Greywaren, he will tell SociopathicBrother where the Gray Man is.
- Calla does some psychic analysis on the shield boss and Camaro wheel from the lake. She tells Blue: “they were dragging him at this point . . . they meant to bury this with him, but it was too heavy. They left it behind.” Then, about the wheel: “He’s not alone when he leaves the car behind.” She also mutters about how some people use time over and over.
- Back in Henrietta, Adam demands to know why Blue won’t kiss him. She tells him about her curse. And she tells him that he’s not going to be her true love anyway, so. SANITY GOES BONK
- Adam, off his gourd both magically and mentally, allows Persephone to conduct a ritual to connect him more securely to Cabeswater while allowing his mind to remain his own. Persephone, being a creepy creature herself, warns him that the others won’t understand his change. Is she really qualified for psychiatric advice? We’ll probably find out in book 3.
- Gansey and Blue go on a drive to feel repressed and not discuss how they feel about Adam’s strangeness or each other, so of course they end up discussing both of these things. They pretend-kiss, agree they cannot torment Adam by dating, and then Gansey says “now we never speak of it again.” Sure, Gansey, sure.
- Now that Ronan has gotten Kavinsky out of his system — though Kavinsky has not got Ronan out of his — Ronan feels . . . okay. He chooses what to dream, for once, and he chooses to dream of his dead father. They have a goodbye moment that Stiefvater is really proud of.
- Gansey convinces the Gray Man not to kidnap Ronan. Instead, the Gray Man intends to pretend to have stolen the Greywaren and then run from Henrietta, drawing Greenmantle’s attention elsewhere.
- Meanwhile, Adam and Persephone drive all over the area performing small repairs to the ley line, strengthening the energy to make it more possible for Cabeswater to appear again.
- Chapter 56 is a wonder of pacing.
how did it end?
Furious at being abandoned, Kavinsky kidnaps Ronan’s younger brother Matthew to blackmail Ronan into coming to his 4th of July party. When Gansey, Ronan, and Blue get to the party, Kavinsky goes into his dreams to get something to challenge Ronan with. Falling asleep as well, Ronan finds that they both dream of standing in Cabeswater. Kavinsky steals a fire dragon and vanishes as he wakes. Ronan chooses to request instead of steal from Cabeswater. But the forest is drained from Kavinsky’s thieving and can’t manifest something for Ronan to use as a weapon. Adam appears in the nick of time to restore energy to the ley line using his new woo-woo balance. He also tells Ronan he figured out Ronan paid the rent. Cabeswater, newly charged, grants Ronan one of his dreaded night horrors — only now the horror no longer hates him and will fight for him instead. This chapter should be called METAPHOR CITY, PART II. When Ronan wakes, the night horror and fire dragon fight, and ultimately Kavinsky’s fire dragon kills Kavinsky.
Meanwhile, the Gray Man was leading the other thugs and his sociopathic brother out of Henrietta. With the ley line restored to full energy, he realizes that the Greywaren’s energy footprint will no longer stand out dangerously. The Gray Man convinces the thugs that the Greywaren doesn’t exist. Then, finally he faces up to his SociopathicBrother. He shoots him, twice. Hit men. Seriously. They think there is only one answer to every question.
Ronan dreams a new will that allows him to return to the Barns and then takes his catatonic mother to Cabeswater, where she immediately wakes up. Then he tells the reader that Adam Parrish is his second secret.
Blue discovers that during all of these shenanigans, her mother has disappeared. She’s left behind just a note: “Glendower’s underground. So am I.”
Readers howl in annoyance and Stiefvater laughs cruelly.
/fin summer driving music.