Genre: YA, paranormal, fantasy
First published: 2013
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
***SPOILER ALERT*** Second book in the series. There may be spoilers for the first book from here on. Review of the first book here.
Synopsis: 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…
I’m so glad I decided to continue with this series. I mean, I enjoyed The Raven Boys. But it was so confusing and vague and… it didn’t really blow my mind. I liked the characters and I thought the mythology was cool, but I just found it confusing and it was really not what I expected. But going into the second one, I knew what to expect. I knew that it was going to be vague and confusing and almost nonsensical at times and that allowed me to integrate the peculiarity as part of the story instead of trying to logic it and somehow, that made it better.
There was a lot of character development going on in this one. I think my main problem with the first book was that it was too complex and not well explained enough. But a lot of the loose threads in the first one were tugged on, if not tied up, so it clarified a lot of the confusion and there weren’t that many completely new elements added. Rather, the old elements were expanded on. And that was really satisfying. Which is an odd word to use, but that’s the best way I can describe it.
The writing, in my opinion, was so much better than in the first book. I really enjoyed the writing, whereas I don’t remember enjoying it as much in the first book. It’s amazing how much Maggie has grown as an author between the two. And actually, I recently read about two thirds of Shiver and that book is horrible. I don’t know whether it’s her debut, but there was almost nothing I enjoyed about that book. The writing, was bad, the story was bad, the characters were bad… just, no. And it’s fantastic to see how much she has developed as a writer. I love seeing these things, it’s great to watch an author grow and develop their skill.
Going back to the characters. I really love all the characters. They’re all quirky and unique and so themselves and I love to see that in books. Which once again shows how much Maggie’s skill has grown, because in Shiver, I could not distinguish the characters from one another. I couldn’t even distinguish the POV characters. Sometimes, I would forget whose POV I was reading. So, yeah I loved the characters. I loved them in the first book as well, but even more in this one. Ronan… I love Ronan. And we got to learn so much about him in this book and it was awesome. Some of the plot-twists, particularly regarding Ronan really took me by surprise. I really did not see them coming.
We also see Gansey and blue growing together, which wasn’t a surprise, given the first book. But it promises a lot of angst in the following books and I’m a sucker for some good angst. We also get to meet a new character, whom I really enjoyed. I didn’t think that I would enjoy him quite as much, but I really did.
I would say that this book was mainly focused on character development and sort of just clarifying the first book. It’s not that nothing happened in it, it’s just that most of the things that happened were less significant to moving the story forward than they were to character development. It was like a sort of preparation of the characters for what’s to come. And I find that’s often the case with second books in series. And that can either make the second book the worst in the series, or really good (maybe even the best), depending on how it’s done. And I think this one has been done very well. I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than the first book.
I hear the Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the best book in the series, so I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully, I will get to it soon. I’m really excited for it now and I wish I had bought it so I could read it straight away. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you read The Raven Boys and were kind of on the fence about whether you want to continue with the series. Just give this one a try before making your mind up.