Friday, October 25, 2013
Friendly reminder: You can win a copy of THE BITTER KINGDOM, THE BROKENHEARTED, and NOT A DROP TO DRINK just by commenting on this interview post over here.
First THE SCORPIO RACES, then THE RAVEN BOYS, and now THE DREAM THIEVES. With each book of Maggie Stiefvater's that I read, I fall more and more in love with her writing. Halfway through TDT, I felt so enraptured that I actually had to tweet about it -- and she responded!
@kristanhoffman What a world that would be, all gasoline and magic.
— Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) October 9, 2013
Gasoline and magic, indeed. There's a lot of both in TDT. Although the book continues the search for Glendower, I would say there's a clear focus on Ronan. And Ronan is all about cars and special powers.
But he is also all about family. And friendship. And love (you'll never guess for whom!). He is a great character -- and I think that's the gasoline and magic that TDT really runs on.
Characters, and the relationships between them.
Ronan is the star, and his journey is a compelling one. He has to grapple with the mysterious and heartbreaking legacy left to him by his father. He has to work with his enemy to master powers that neither of them fully understand. And most importantly, he has to learn to accept himself, to love himself, because he is the only person who can save everyone else.
Despite his wealth, Gansey isn't the flashiest character. But there are things about him that are endearing, distinct. Like his habit of chewing on mint leaves. Or his cardboard model of Henrietta. Or his complete acceptance of all his best friends' worst traits. Even his love of that ridiculous Camaro.
And let's not forget Blue. She's so desperate to be one of the guys -- a feeling I can identify with. When you see a tight-knit group of friends like the Raven Boys, it's hard not to want to belong. And she is a vital piece of their puzzle, but they're still trying to figure out exactly where she fits. She wants to go here; Adam wants her there; and Gansey wants her still somewhere else. It's not going to be easy to click her into place, but I suspect when they finally manage it, they'll all be better off.
Speaking of Adam... Poor dear Adam. My heart breaks for this kid. He hasn't had an easy life -- and his pride won't allow him to make it any easier. His stubbornness frustrates me, and his anger worries me. In spite of how tightly he tries to control himself, Adam is a bit of a live wire. (Pun intended, for those of you who have read TDT already!) Though he makes some positive strides, I suspect he's not done sparking problems within the group.
To be honest, Noah doesn't play a huge role in this installment. However, he definitely steals the scene that he shares with Blue. The moment between them is so achingly sweet, it rips your heart in two. I don't quite see how Noah can get a happy ending, but I hope Maggie finds a way to give him one.
Last but not least, I want to mention two "side" characters from TDT.
The Gray Man seems to be a fan favorite, which I think is a testament to Maggie Stiefvater's ability to render characters in their full dimensions. He is a dangerous and violent man -- but he is also a victim -- and potentially also a hero. I like how those layers speak to the idea of identity and choice: We all have the power to determine who we want to be.
Which is a good lesson for Adam to learn...
Kavinsky, on the other hand, is a jerk. Whereas the Gray Man and Adam could be cut from the same cloth, Kavinsky is like the flip side of Ronan's coin. They have so much in common, and yet they are totally different. And though Kavinsky's cavalier and impetuous behavior may seem entertaining at first, I think it becomes pretty clear that people like him are more trouble than they're worth.
And these are just the main players. There's also a whole host of supporting cast who enrich this book even further. (Mainly Blue's family of female psychics, who are bristly, hilarious, and insightful by turns.) Again, I believe it's this complex constellation of characters, and the connections between them, that make up the true "gasoline and magic" of Maggie Stiefvater's work.
Man, I can't wait for Book 3!
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