The Raven Cycle Reread: 2.00

Summary:

Hello everyone, and welcome! It’s the first ever Dream Thieves summary and boy am I heckin excited. I want to start by talking about one of the quotes that precedes the prologue, because it’s just too good to ignore. There’s a poem about taking a flower out of your dreams, a quote about how dreams are dangerous, and then this bad boy:

I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves.

-August Strindberg

I live by that quote. I have that quote written down on the first page of my journal. It is objectively amazing and there is no better way to start off this book wherein many people are bitten and we fall in love with the dogs who do it.

Now into the prologue. It functions as a sort of backstory for not only Ronan, but his whole family. This is done through the lens of secrets. First, we have to define what a secret is. They’re split into three types: secrets you keep from other people, secrets you keep from yourselves, and secrets that are so big, you don’t even know you’re keeping them.

This part feels a little bit like Patrick Rothfuss’s twice-used opening sequence where he describes types of silence. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d google which one came first just to see who was inspired by who. Regardless, we get to Ronan when Stiefvater starts to describe all of the secrets Ronan keeps, and why he keeps them.

The first secret is Niall Lynch. He claims that his birth broke the mold (evidence: an earthquake with a 4.1 magnitude). We’re supposed to be skeptical, because there are three Lynch brothers and all of them are like little mirror images of their father. This marks the first of around a thousand aggressively poetic descriptions of Ronan you can expect to see as we get further into the novel.

Each flattered a different side of Niall. Declan had the same way of taking a room and shaking its hand. Matthew’s curls were netted with Niall’s charm and humor. And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.

Niall then goes on to talk about how Ronan’s birth was also a capital E Event. There were dried up rivers and cows that cried tears of blood and laughing ravens and flowers everywhere. If any of you have siblings, you can imagine what Declan said next. The classic and ever-pervasive “what about me?” Of course, Niall Lynch is not your classic father. He can’t tell Declan about his birth because he didn’t bother to show up.

The first thing I thought of when I read about Niall straight up telling his kid he wasn’t there when he was born was a quote from a John Mulaney special: “One black coffee. Same motherfucker.” Basically, Niall Lynch is the kind of guy who would roll up to a McDonald’s drive through and order one black coffee while his children scream in the backseat. Stone cold. Unflinching. That’s Niall Lynch.

Niall’s face was smeared with blood and blue petals.

“I was just dreaming of the day you were born,” Niall said, “Ronan.”

He wiped the blood on his forehead to show Ronan that there was no wound beneath it. The petals snared in the blood were shaped like tiny stars. Ronan was struck with how sure he was that they had come from his father’s mind.

That is also Niall Lynch. Fun multitudes, right?

Anyways, the first secret is that Ronan’s father was crazy and could also dream things into existence. The second secret, the one Ronan keeps from himself, is that he’s terrified. But, hey, it makes him human, so I’m not complaining.

The last secret, the big one, we get through a dream. Ronan’s asleep, and he’s looking at the Camaro. Gansey doesn’t let him drive it, because he’s smart. But then we watch Ronan pluck the keys from the ignition of this dream-Camaro and hold them in his fist. When he wakes up, they’re still there.

The third secret, it turns out, is a variation on the first. Niall Lynch could dream things into reality. So can his son.

Thoughts and Feelings:

I think the comparison I made to Rothfuss earlier speaks for itself. This prologue oozes magic and poetry and all the fun and good things we can expect from this book that we only got a little taste of in the first.

And I also appreciate the fact that this prologue gives us more backstory on Ronan that we got in the whole first book. Anyways, I’m not thinking or feeling a ton that isn’t my Earth Sciences midterm coming up, so I’m gonna end this quickly in the interest of getting it up on time.

Dream Thieves! Woohoo!!

Best Character Moment:

“When I was born,” Niall Lynch told his middle son, “God broke the mold so hard the ground shook.”

This was already a lie, because if God truly had broken the mold for Niall, He’d made Himself a knockoff twenty years later to craft Ronan and his two brothers, Declan and Matthew.

Best Turn of Phrase:

All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers or kept-from, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches—that’s what will be left at the end of it all.

Action: I mean, it’s the prologue. Nothing happening is kind of the whole point. 5/10

Magic: Magic??? MAGIC??? Arguably too much! 11/10

Comic Relief: I can’t tell if Ronan’s childhood was happy or not, and that’s the opposite of funny. 4/10

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