The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.
And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.
Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .
This was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and I’m happy to say that it didn’t let me down in the least. It was so great being back in this world, revisting some of my favorite characters and meeting new ones. Now, you don’t have to have read The Raven Boys to pick up Call Down the Hawk, but I do recommend it because it will give you a little more insight and context into a few of the characters and their relationships with one another. Also, those books are great, so why not read them?
One of the things I loved best about this book is the prose. Maggie Stiefvater has a delicious way with words that somehow manages to both ground a story and create a mythic atmosphere, a sense of unreality that makes everything feel slightly off-kilter. That off-kilter feeling…that’s the stuff right there for me, and there are few authors who can pull it off well. I did also listen to this in audio (as I did all The Raven Boys books) and Will Patton is the narrator (again) and he just does such an amazing job. He’s become the voice of these characters for me. And the way he reads the story brings a whole other flavor to the prose and the combination is just perfection for me. It’s like ear candy.
Let’s talk about the plot for a minute. It does take a little while for the plot to really get going in this one–but that’s not a complaint! Even though it starts off with some things happening, we don’t really get to see how they connect up until later in the book. We have three main POVs we’re following this time around and the characters aren’t even aware of each other for most of the book, they each seem like their own separate stories but you as the reader know that they’re going to intersect at some point. Ronan’s story feels more slice of life in a way, he’s dealing with a lot of personal issues and relationship and family stuff, anxieties over his future. Then you have Jordan, an art forger and thief. Heisty shit! Con artist fun times! And then there’s a full on action movie going on with Carmen’s story line. From the get go her plot thread is a wild ride–you want to know what’s happening, why, and how she’s going to keep from becoming the villain in all of this. The story never feels slow or bogged down. Each of the POV’s, major and minor, have a lot of interesting things going on, even if they’re concerned with very different issues for most of the book. Once things do start to connect, the plot kicks into high gear and we’re off to the races.
I will say that this series seems to be growing a lot of the world building that was laid out in The Raven Boys. Honestly, that story was concerned with a small part of the world and never fully explained a lot of the things in it (part of its charm for me). Here we get a lot more information about the wider world. For instance Ronan isn’t the only Dreamer. There are other seers, people who can look into the future. There are organizations who seem to be on a mission to use one to destroy the other in order to prevent some sort of catastrophe. But is that really what they’re after? And what is this catastrophe exactly? Things are expanded but they’re still kept a little mysterious–just the way I like it.
So, of course my absolute favorite thing, as always, are the characters. Maggie just writes the best characters. Even when you kind of want to hate them, you wind up loving them anyway–they’re just so perfectly human (even if some of them have supernatural powers or, well, aren’t exactly human at all).
We find Ronan at the start of this is mostly concerned with being angsty about his situation in life (rightfully so)–his boyfriend has left for another state to go to college and he fears 1) that Adam will change 2) that he’ll never be able to leave his hometown to join him because of his weird ties to the land 3) that Adam will forget about him 4) that he’s not going to be good enough compared to everyone else Adam meets. Ronan Lynch is extremely insecure for someone who seemingly exudes so much confidence. One of the things I love so much about Ronan’s character is how much I can relate to him. He’s got massive amounts of anxiety about an uncertain future, he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, and he doesn’t always handle this in the most productive way. But I still love him, even when he’s being irritable. It’s not as if his anxiety has manifested over nothing, he has legitimate issues, but he also doesn’t do himself any favors and he tends towards the self-defeatist. I love him even when he’s busy pushing everyone away and being a bit of a jerk. Because underneath all of that you can see the vulnerability.
Both Carmen and Jordan are new characters and they’re both extremely interesting in their own ways. They’re also not always nice people, just like Ronan they have their own baggage to deal with. They’ve gotten mixed up in things that maybe aren’t the best for them, but they also don’t know how or don’t even know if they want to get out of these situations. Both of them are sort of standing at a crossroads, or about to be standing at one. Like Ronan, Maggie has let us see them vulnerable, let us have some insight into why they do the things they do. Even when I don’t always agree with their actions, I can understand them. I love how nuanced these characters are–even the more ‘side’ characters like Ronan’s brothers, Jordan’s complicated family, and the seer that Carmen is traveling with for much of the book. There are a few other minor characters along the way that impact the story in a not so minor fashion and I loved how they were presented as well. I can’t wait to see how all of these characters continue to come together and intersect in later books.
Overall, I loved this book. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more as both a follow up to The Raven Boys and the start of a brand new story. 5/5 stars.