And The Raven Cycle is definitely case-in-point. I expected to like this series, just based on the opinions of readers I respect. But I didn’t expect to love it. I kind of didn’t want to love it, solely based off of the amount of hype it’s received. I actually tried to find a reason not to give this 5 stars, because I feel like I rate too gently and that 5 stars from me just doesn’t mean as much as 5 stars from a harsher reviewer. But I just can’t do it. Maybe I’m too easy to please, but that means that I’m happy all of the time, right? I love that I’m able to love so many things so fervently. Maggie’s series is no exception. Based on my personal reading experience, The Dream Thieves deserves 5 stars.
There was so much character development in this book as compared to The Raven Boys. I didn’t love the directions some characters went, but I understood their motivations. One complaint I’ve heard about this series is that the ages simply aren’t believable, but I disagree. I think Maggie did a great job of explaining how and why each character had to grow up fast, and thus explaining their maturity. This also explains their immaturity in certain aspects of their lives, Ronan’s need for speed and Adam’s temper especially. One of my favorite new developments in this book was Adam’s relationship with Persephone. It was so sweet. Also, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ronan in the first book, but I really loved him by the end of this book. There was so much growth on his part, and so many revelations both large and small about him.
In The Raven Boys, I was pretty sure that my favorite character was Adam. I no longer have any idea who my favorite is. I love them all: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, Blue, Calla, Maura, Persphone, the rest of Blue’s crazy family of psychics. I even loved the Gray Man. I loved every character that appeared in the story with the exception of one: Kavinsky. I definitely didn’t love him. Kavinsky was interesting, but was also incredibly easy to despise. And yet, even he had a certain charm. Maggie assembled an interesting and motley crew, and then deepened them as the book progressed. She excels at characterization.
There’s something else that Maggie excels at: her prose. The writing is absolutely fantastic. The way she strings words together always expresses her thought in the clearest, sharpest way possible. The wit she instills in her characters, both in conversation and in their thoughts, can be incredibly funny. And sometimes the way she words her descriptions is breathtaking, less because of what is being described than because of the way it’s written. I knew from the prologue that I was in for a treat with her craftsmanship, and I was not proven wrong. How she mirrored the prologue in her epilogue sealed the deal for me. It reminded me of the prologue/epilogue in The Name of the Wind, which is just about the highest praise I can give.
Very rarely do I recommend a YA series to readers of adult fantasy or literary fiction. But I have no qualms about recommending The Raven Boys to any and everyone. There’s something for everyone here, and the story is beautifully told. I’ll even go so far as to say that the insane hype surrounding the series is deserved. Also, if you’re in the market for a new audiobook, this series is definitely for you. Will Patton could read a phone book and I would be hanging on the edge of my seat. So whether you’re a physical reader or an audiobook consumer, please give this series a try. You’ll want to search for Glendower, too.