The Dream Thieves

It wasn’t very long ago that I found out about Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys and it wasn’t very long ago that I read it and came to the conclusion that it was very good. So it was only natural to go after the second book, The Dream Thieves, to see if that was as good as its predecessor. I had great hopes, which is usually the worst thing to have when you start reading a new book, but sometimes, the expectations actually live up to the real deal.

In The Raven Boys we’re introduced to Blue, a non-psychic girl in a very psychic family. After hearing all her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die, she sees the spirit of a boy walking on the corpse road on St. Mark’s Eve, and when a non-seer sees a spirit on that day, it either means that he’s your true love or you killed him. That boy turned out to be Gansey, a seventeen year old boy attending to Aglionby, a private school for very rich boys, and Blue has a rule to stay as far away from them as she can. But after getting to know Gansey and his friends, Ronan, Adam and Noah, the five of them form a bond and a friendship. Together, the five of them goes out in search after Gansey’s mysterious welsh king, Glendower. They wake up the ley line that runs through their little town and as a reader, we’re then hurled into The Dream Thieves.

The ley line is awoken again by Adam’s sacrifice and Neeve is nowhere to be seen, but the search for Glendower continues. But there are so many secrets in their lives and one after the other, they come up to the surface, and for the most part, it’s nothing good. Going against her rule, Blue realizes that she loves hanging out with the boys, but she hasn’t yet to understand exactly how dangerous that can be. And out of the four raven boys, Ronan is the most raven and thus the most dangerous.

Since this is a series, looking back, The Raven Boys was more the foundation for the rest of the story. Like the spring board. You learned a lot, but far from everything. And one thing you didn’t really learn that very much about, was Ronan. Of course, he was the character I found most interesting while reading the first book. Imagine how glad I was when realizing that the second book was practically all about him. You got a real insight to who he was and how he thought and more to why he was the way he was. He’s a very complex kind of character, something resembling a stone. Hard and cool on the outside, but when you break it in two, you find quite more than you’d first imagine inside. That makes good reading and it also makes Stiefvater a good writer.

What also makes her a good writer is the way she types, which is different from anything I’ve read before. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there’s a certain flow to her words, and to the entire story. It’s both scary and funny and wonderful all at once. From times I wanted to close my eyes and hide away and the next moment I couldn’t get enough and I kept reading even though I should’ve stopped a long time ago. And reading books like that is fun, when you can’t stop thinking about them and can’t put them down.

These two books a very specific type of book that I’m sure won’t work for just anyone, but possibly more than one would think. Because it’s not about believing, it’s about finding it interesting in the first place. There’s so many impossible things happening, especially in The Dream Thieves, with ley line and psychics and ghosts and of course, the ever-present search of the sleeping Glendower, that you kind of need to like paranormal stuff and magic and things that just doesn’t happen in every-day life. Now if you like all that, this is definitely the book for you. And if you don’t? You should really give it a try anyway, because if ghosts and predictions and sleeping, ancient kings aren’t your thing, Stiefvater’s writing is glorious anyway and I would hate for anyone to miss out on that. And also, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. All in all, a very good story.

Isla and the Happily Ever After

After hearing a lot about Stephanie Perkin’s Anna and the French Kiss, I finally read it myself just this past spring. And after that followed the sequel, Lola and the Boy Next Door and after that, what felt like an entirety before I held the last book in the little series in my hand, Isla and the Happily Ever After. The waiting was long and agonizing at time, but, all the same, worth it. It was definitely worth it.

Returning to SOAP again, but this time not with Anna and Etienne as the centerpiece, we meet Isla and Josh. They head into their last year at the school after a surprise meeting between the two during the summer holidays back in New York. Isla, whom have had a crush on Josh for years, is both terrified and curious when he seems to return the affection. But even though things develop smoothly between the two, not everything is perfect. Josh, whose friends left the school last year, does not have any other friends and though Isla tries, she cannot erase Josh’s past differences with the school and quite soon he’s got a final notice before expulsion. Isla is afraid what that would do to them but she’s also afraid for what goes on inside Josh’s mind; not all of it seem cheerful and chipper. But after a disastrous moment of bad luck, the two of them stands at a crossroad and they have to make a choice. Whatever they decide, it will never be as it once was.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss, set in Paris at an American boarding school. To return again in Isla and the Happily Ever After was wonderful. There’s a whole new world to explore with Isla and the book moves swiftly and softly between Paris, Barcelona and New York. The change was fun, something that didn’t really exist, not to the same extent anyway, in neither Anna and the French Kiss nor Lola and the Boy Next Door. Perkins' writing is soft and wonderful, like sleeping on cotton. Her worlds are beautifully created and her characters are interesting and all have very strong personalities with gives great depth to her books. And it’s not just about the love stories. It’s about finding yourself, who you are and what you want. How you can get it. There’s a lot of character development throughout the books which Perkins handles wonderfully.

Like mentioned earlier, this is the last piece in the series, but I’m not sure if I should call it a trilogy per se. It all takes part in the same timeline and involves the same people. All three books are perfectly crafted so that Anna and Etienne, Lola and Cricket and Isla and Josh intertwine with each other. On some level, there’s always a story within the story, which is very fun to follow. But it’s not about the same thing throughout three straight books. It seems to be and to some extent I guess it is, because all three books are love stories. But it’s not the same love story, it’s actually as far away from one another that you can get. It’s the same but yet so completely different and I’ve never really read anything like this. It’s something new for me, but something that really worked; I loved it! Getting the chance to meet all three of Anna, Lola and Isla was very fun, because they’re all so very different and seeing the world through their eyes was interesting.

To compare the three books, I have to say that Isla and the Happily Ever After is the one that’s the most different from the rest. It’s sweet but not too sweet, it’s passionate but not too passionate but it’s also deep and heavy from time to time. Isla battles a lot herself, searching for who she is and what she wants out of life while trying to be there for Josh too. Their story is far from easy, at times really difficult, but the love is strong and it made me feel, and hope, that I one day will get the chance to experience something like this myself. I’m not sure if it actually exists or if Perkins writing is just that good, but I hope it does and I hope to one day find my Josh.

Since this was the last book in this little series, it also meant that at the end of the book it was time to say goodbye. That was harder than I thought it would be, but some kind of bittersweet moment as well. Slowly the pieces found their way back together again and after some magic from Perkins I really felt that there was no other way to end this book and this little series than how she did it. It really was the happily ever after I wanted.

The Killing Woods

I am a firm believer that if you’re not in the mood to read a certain book then you shouldn’t read it at all. For me, it doesn’t matter how good the book is or how good people say the book is, if I don’t feel like reading it but pressure myself into it anyway, it will not be good. Which is why I have a pretty big pile of books next to my bed, many of them bought years ago. The Killing Woods were one of them, a book I got quite a while back but haven’t been in the mood for, until now. And I’m glad I waited till I felt I wanted to read it, because I’m sure that if I hadn’t, then I wouldn’t have thought it was as good as I think it is now.

The story starts right when Emily’s dad comes out of the woods carrying a dead girl whom Emily immediately recognizes as Ashlee, a student from her own school. No one knows exactly how Ashlee died but Emily’s dad is soon taken to custody, in belief of being the murderer since he suffers from PTSD after accidently killing a civil woman while working as a soldier for the US Army. The police thinks that Emily’s dad has been in a flashback again, which he often is, believe himself to be back in combat and thus accidently ending up killing Ashlee in the woods that night. But Emily is a firm believer that all her dad was trying to do was helping. But no one listens to her and there are no witnesses of what happened that night and no proof of another murderer. Yet Emily doesn’t stop, she knows her father is innocent and now she has to prove it.

This is a very interesting, and quite different story, from what I’m just to reading. But it was also enjoyable. Emily is stubborn and firm when it comes to her father’s innocent, even though everyone else, even her own mother, thinks her father is guilty. Thus Emily goes out to chase down whatever clues she can find and on her way she meets Damon, one of the most popular guys at school and also Ashlee’s boyfriend. Damon himself does not believe there’s another killer than Emily’s dad and yet somehow they end up together, running around in the woods where Ashlee died, trying to find things so that they can reconcile themselves with what really happened that night and all those things that goes on in their own heads.

Lucy Christopher’s story is written in alternate chapters in both Emily’s and Damon’s perspective, which gives a great depth to the story and also explains so many things which we wouldn’t have known if the story would only have been told from Emily’s point of view, or Damon’s. I really liked that, because they’re very different but both have fathers who’ve been in the army and both lost something very important to them that night in the woods. To find the truth they have to work together while at the same time trying to accept the loss of Ashlee and the possible truth of Emily’s father actually being a murderer.

When I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be scary. I knew it was a thriller and books like that have a tendency to crawl under my skin and latch on, which I don’t particularly like, but, I read it anyway. And I really liked it, I did. It was fast paced and interesting, never a dull moment. Christopher left enough clues during the story for the reader to figure out who the murderer was, but yet you couldn’t be sure until you read those last few pages. It was excellent, wonderfully written and touching deep parts of the characters, which was made it an interesting read. And it wasn’t that scary. It was, however, highly enjoyable and I would recommend this to anyone who likes a tricky mystery to solve.