The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

The love for Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle series is so intense that it made me nervous to start it. I really didn't want to end up being the odd one out, that one person who didn't like it. So I ended up putting off reading the first book for years. Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoyed The Raven Boys and was excited to try the rest of the series and see where this ridiculously strange story was going. I'm sad to say that I didn't enjoy The Dream Thieves anywhere near as much as the first book. If you're interested in my thoughts on The Raven Boys, you can read my review here.

Me reading this... *yawn*
My biggest issues with this book was the pacing of it and the complete lack of actual plot. I am highly aware of the fact that I go on about pacing all the frigging time, but that is because I feel it is so vital to a good story. Good narrative pacing is vital to good storytelling. Unfortunately, this book suffered from very poor narrative pacing, nothing really happens until the last 50 pages or so. Which brings me along nicely to the fact that this book seemed to have a distinct lack of plot. There honestly wasn't much happening in this book, and it was utterly frustrating to me whilst reading. Much of the book seemed wasted on really pointless street racing, dull dream thieving and very little else until the last fifty pages.

This series utterly confused me at times, with the lack of explanations and weird actions of our characters. There were times when I felt a little lost while reading. I feel the best way for me to review this book is to go through and look at my thoughts on the individual characters.

Blue: I really, really liked Blue in The Raven Boys. She is strong and has confidence in herself and who she is, although she does have her struggles. Nothing really happens with Blue in this book, as it focuses very heavily on Ronan. I actually missed Blue in this book, so I can only hope that the next book shines the spotlight more on her. There was one scene in this book between Blue and Noah that seemed to come completely out of the blue, pardon the pun, which was just really weird and perplexed me. If you have read it, then you know what I am referring to. I missed Blue in this, I really hope the next book focuses on her - I would hope so, given the name is Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

Adam: Oh Adam, sometimes I love you and then other times I want to knock some sense into you. Adam is like the walking embodiment of pride, and makes it obvious why that is seen as a deadly sin. He was so frustrating at times, and it makes his character hard to deal with. He never wants to accept help, ever, even when it is needed. At times, his need to do everything for himself seems admirable, at other times it just seems that he allows his pride to get in his way. He wasn't very likeable in this book.

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Basically me every time Adam refused much needed help!

Gansey: I can't help but love Gansey. I hadn't warmed to him by the end of The Raven Boys, he's rich, entitled and could be down right rude without ever seeming to realise it. His obsession with Glendower sometimes borders on the completely insane. But, he's also very funny and charming, and I just came to love his character over the course of this book. I was surprised to see his search for Glendower be so easily put to the side, while he was off wasting time helping his mother in her political pursuits.

Noah: Oh dear, poor Noah. The cats finally out the bag about the whole being dead thing. So I had thought that Noah might finally be able to gain a personality and not just kind of be there in the background. Nope, he still has zero personality and doesn't really seem to have a reason to be here, except for that really awkward scene with Blue. At this point, I've given up hoping for him to become a more fleshed out character.

Ronan: When I read The Raven Boys, I felt like Ronan was the most fascinating character and that is most definitely true. Even more so now we know he can bring things out of his dreams. This book is Ronan's book, the story centres completely on him. Sadly, I felt there just wasn't much of a real plot there. He just takes part in some street racing, and then learns how to dream thieve better. That is it. It isn't exactly the most riveting stuff. To me that isn't a plot, it gets old real fast. He also drove me absolutely crazy with the amount of completely stupid decisions he made throughout this book. The only fascinating development here is how absolutely in love/lust he is with Gansey, the boy wants the d so bad.

Kavinsky: Kavinsky shows up again in this book. He is the stereotypical bad boy from every 90s teen flick ever - The 'I'm so tough, I sell drugs and street race' act just does not work. My eyes were rolling so hard every time that guy opened his mouth. He felt far too much like a cardboard character at first, I was happy to see that there was more to his character, it just took a while to find it. We do actually get to see his motivations as the book went on. He turned out to be a much more complex character than I had first thought. He's a very angry man, probably because he is soooooooooooo sexually repressed and afraid of his own feelings - it made him a rather bitter person. He was quite fascinating, but not the greatest antagonist.

The Grey Man: This book sees the arrival of the Grey Man, a hit man who is on a job in Henrietta, searching for something called the Greywarren. I have to admit to being unbelievably confused by how others reacted to his character. Everyone acted as though they were totally okay with the fact he is a hit man, who essentially kills people for a living. No one seemed to think that was a big deal or acts even slightly put off by it. On the contrary, they strike up friendships with the guy or go one dates with him?!? What the actual fuck? That is not how sane, rational human beings behave. I also hated the insta-love storyline he was involved in.

angry mad hell office space disgruntled
Who goes on a date with a hit man? Seriously?

Most of my issues with this book are summed up in my feelings for the characters themselves. My biggest issues were the lack of plot and the poor pacing, I can't get over it. I wish a lot more had been happening in this book. The problem here is that it was just a build up to the next book, it's not a story in its own right with a clear plot. It just seems to be there to lay the groundwork for what is coming next and, honestly, it was boring. I really hope the next book is better, if not then I am going to be calling bullshit on this series' hype.

I do know that so many of you love this series, and I'd love to know what you thought of this instalment. Did you love it? Did you appreciate it more after reading the next book? Which is your favourite book and least favourite book in this series? And, most importantly, did you think that Blue Lily, Lily Blue was better than this book? Should I continue?

2/5 Butterflies

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard: Not Your Usual Phantom Retelling

RoseBloodTitle: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Abrams
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

I find RoseBlood nigh on impossible to review as I still can't quite figure out how I actually feel about it. Quite honestly, it is one of the weirdest books I have ever read, and I always struggle with these kind of strange reads. I read Howard's debut, Splintered, a few years ago and seemed to be one of only a few people who didn't love it, it just didn't work for me. RoseBlood had appealed to me as I am drawn to Phantom retellings, plus the blurb I saw for it made no mention of anything supernatural or otherworldly. RoseBlood was not what I was expecting at all, going off the blurb I saw for it. I was surprised when the book turned weirdly supernatural when nothing I had seen had hinted at that.
Me reading this book:
confused jane the virgin wut jtv i dont think so

Those who loved Howard's Splintered series will probably be equally enthralled by this dark, weird and fantastical story. I was completely thrown off by the strangeness of this story and its supernatural elements. Maybe if I had been aware of that before starting then I might have found it easier to swallow. For me, it just seemed a little too much and it didn't work for me. The Phantom role in this and his plans for Rune were just too out there and ridiculous for me to grasp. Honestly most of my time spent reading this I was utterly confused and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Those who love Splintered will probably eat this up, as it is all the strange of Splintered, meets the darker side of the Phantom story.

friends confused joey joey tribbiani matt leblancOur lead character, Rune, is someone I just couldn't seem to care about. She is moving to a musical boarding school in France, that focuses on Opera. She is running away from something she did back home, that ended with a boy in a coma. I felt her back story was quite muddled and confusing. For a lot of the story there are big questions surrounding Rune and I was quite disappointed by how these were concluded in the end -especially when it came to her grandmother. Rune's other issues was that she felt a little like a walking, talking special snowflake cliche. Although this book contained a few cliches, the most annoying was definitely the seemingly pointless drama between Rune and the schools resident 'Regina George'.

It was a real shame here that so much time was given to Rune and Thorn, but so very little attention was given to secondary characters. The secondary characters are mostly ignored in this book and only pop up when they can serve some purpose. It is a shame because I feel that there was a lot of potential with these characters, and more of them could have mad this book more enjoyable. This book is just the Rune and Thorn show and that was disappointing to me. Thorn is a very intriguing character and I found him a lot more interesting than Rune. I felt he was fleshed out a lot more and had more of a personality. Thorn also has such an interesting back story that was explored a lot throughout the book. He has spent a lot of his life being raised by the Phantom, and has been helping him to achieve his goal no matter what the Phantom asks of him. Thorn was a very conflicted character and I liked that about him.

movie disney gross goth emo
My reaction to 'soulmates'
One bookish trope that I just can't stand is soulmates, actual soulmates. Those that are 'destined' to be together. Some like that, I absolutely hate it. I would much rather have a romance built on two characters that get to know one another and falling for who they are as a person. I don't go for the whole instant connection because of a supernatural link between them. I have so much I want to talk about regarding this book, but I don't want to give away any major spoilers.

2/5 Butterflies

I think A.G. Howard fans will absolutely love this, it just didn't work for me. I felt it was a little too long and completely confusing, not at all what I had been expecting. I felt I might have handled all the supernatural elements better if I had known about it in advance, but the blurb I saw didn't have any mention of anything like that. This is also not a retelling and more a continuation of Phantom of the Opera. If you love weird, wacky books then this is probably one you will love. Or if you are looking for a supernatural Phantom retelling.

I Discovered These Awesome Authors in 2016

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday and this weeks topic is:

New to Me Authors of 2016

So far this year I have read 116 books. It means I have exceeded my goal of 100, but I am still disappointed as I could have got to 150 if I hadn't hit a massive reading slump. I actually have only read 6 books in the last 3 months, which is 2 books a month when I usually read that in a week. So, yes, my slump hit me pretty hard. I have read a fair amount of books this year though, so I am still very proud of myself for getting 116 in so far. I discovered a few new authors this month, ones where I thoroughly enjoyed the books.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) Saga, Volume 1 The Leaving
Jay Kristoff, Brian K. Vaughan & Tara Altebrando

I read Illuminae & Gemina this year and absolutely loved both. I fell in love with the unique way that Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff decided to tell the story. It also has one of the most interesting 'villains' as well. I literally could not put down either book and lost much needed sleep so I could devour them as quickly as possible. Saga is the series that got me into reading graphic novels this year, and I spent a lot of money trying new ones. Nothing has compared to Saga - not the beautiful style of drawings and not the fantastic story. Saga is a graphic novel everyone should read - the characters are absolutely hilarious and the story is incredible and emotional.The Leaving was a surprising read for me, I was expecting to love that one as much as I did. I was just so taken in by the story, Tara Altebrando is definitely an author whose writing just completely works for me and I am excited to read whatever she does next.

Vain (The Seven Deadly, #1) An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) Things We Know by Heart
Fisher Amelie, Sabaa Tahir & Jessi Kirby

Fisher Amelie was an author who I took a chance on, as I don't usually read New Adult. I am so glad I took that chance as I absolutely LOVED Vain. It was the start of a series and I ended up buying the next two books in the series, and have bought two more Amelie books since. I love the development that her characters go through over the course of her novels - it is my favourite thing about them. I really enjoyed An Ember in the Ashes, and am surprised I haven't got to the sequel yet but I am blaming it on my awful reading slump which is just the worst right now. Things We Know By Heart was such a beautiful, emotional read and I LOVED it. I will definitely be reading more books by this author as I completely loved this one.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1) Every Breath (Every, #1)
Maggie Stiefvater, Evelyn Skye & Ellie Marney

I finally read a Maggie Stiefvater book! It only took me years and years and much pestering from fellow bookworms. She is very beloved, so I felt a lot of pressure to love this one. I did really love the first book, but I admit that I struggled far too much with The Dream Thieves as it was quite boring. I hope to continue the series and that the third book is as good as the first, if not better. I thoroughly enjoyed The Crown's Game as it was brilliant fantasy set in one of my favourite times - Imperial Russia! Can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. And Every Breath was as great as everyone had suggested, definitely need to get to the sequels asap.

What authors did you discover this year that you would recommend?

I am planning to do a proper post soon about my return to the blog, as I have been absent for quite some time. I plan to hold a giveaway, so felt I might as well just get it all sorted now. The giveaway is for one winner to receive up to £40 of books of their choice from Book Depository. It's a giveaway for my return to blogging and to celebrate 15k followers on Instagram.

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