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... -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads
I knew I was right to like Ronan. As I've seen other reviewers put it, he's a "tough sell," with his rudeness, tough guy shtick, and general obnoxious behavior. But I knew a guy who could be so smitten with a baby raven couldn't be that bad. Much of this book is focused on Ronan, so we get to see through the chinks in his leather jacket (this is especially metaphorical as I'm not positive he did wear a leather jacket, I just know that he would). Most revealing are the descriptions of his childhood home, and the passages with his brothers- one younger, who worships him, and one older, the officious Mycroft to his Sherlock. We learn more about Ronan's dream abilities, and his relationships with the rest of the ensemble cast. Stiefvater pulls off some of the best character development and description I've yet read, and I loved putting the pieces of Ronan's story together.
Adam, to me, was a much harder sell. Adam's the only male character who grew up in Cabeswater, and as expected, the course of trailer park to preppy private school never did run smooth (I've been watching too much Shakespeare lately, gimme a break). He's believably drawn- of course someone in his position would fear losing it, struggle with the financial and cultural divides between himself and his peers, and be fiercely independent. That's all well and good, but there's only so many times I could read him lashing out at his well-meaning friends and shooting himself in the foot before I got seriously annoyed. Still, his circumstances pretty much speak for themselves, and I did finish the book liking him again. I do think a lot of the drama in future books will center more around him even than Gansey, and I'm dying to see how that plays out.
Blue took a bit of a back seat in this story, which was a shame, but it really is an ensemble cast and the story will play out over a few more books, so I'm not too bothered. We did get to see more of her witchy family, especially her mother, in scenes I really enjoyed, and that reminded me of the best bits of Practical Magic.
Also, can we talk about the Gray Man for a second? CHILLS. He reads like a Thomas Harris villain, and I can honestly say that this is the first time I've been this scared of a YA antagonist in years, and many of the best twists, turns and scares are courtesy of this enigma. Staggeringly good writing, Ms. Stiefvater.
If you liked The Raven Boys, you need to read this sequel. You may want to reread it, or at least read a summary before diving into this one. You will not be disappointed.
(And then send me a private message so we can dish about the romance without fear of spoilers ;-) )