The second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Dreamer trilogy finds Ronan and Hennessey traveling with Bryde, a sort of dreaming guru, as they try to escape the Moderators who are hunting down and killing anyone who, like Ronan, Hennessey, and Bryde, have the power to bring things from their dreams into the real world. It becomes clear pretty quickly that the trio of Dreamers have grown in their abilities, but the Moderators have Carmen Farooq-Lane and the visionary Lilian helping them track the team, and they have lots of narrow escapes. Meanwhile, Ronan’s older brother Declan is trying to take care of their little brother Matthew while getting to know Jordan, Hennessey’s double.
I spent about the first quarter to third of this book trying to get reacclimated to the world of the book. The first book in the series, Call Down the Hawk, introduces lots of characters and puts Ronan, from Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, into an entirely new situation that ended in a cliffhanger. But I’d forgotten a lot, and it seems that this book skipped ahead a little, adding to my confusion. This is the problem of reading a series as it comes out. I also think there’s maybe one element too many in this series. It’s chock full of story.
Once I got acclimated, I was interested in the story, and this book brings in some new developments that were pretty exciting. For example, there’s the idea of art that enables those who Dreamers bring into the world to continue living after their Dreamers die. This is an amazing development that motivates Jordan to step beyond her career as an art forger to create something new and powerful. There’s also the idea of waking up the ley lines so that Dreamers are better able to Dream.
Thematically, a lot of the book is concerned with how to be a good person who takes care of others while also taking care of your own needs. Most of the major characters have to figure out how to walk this line and some are having an easier time of it than others. But it’s not easy for anyone. It’s especially different when a character goes down what appears to be a self-destructive path because it seems like the better one, for whatever reason.
I also enjoyed that one of the book’s big climactic scenes took place very near where I grew up. Maggie Stiefvater lives in Virginia, and a lot of landmarks that I know show up in her books, but I really didn’t expect to ever see Smith Mountain dam figure so heavily in a novel!
Like the last book, this one ends with a big reveal and a cliffhanger. The final book is supposed to come out next year, and I hope I remember enough of this one to be able to pick up what’s going on right away.