So, it turns out the Maggie Steifvater event is next week. Still excitedly anticipating hearing her speak! In the meantime, I can review The Dream Thieves, which I bought in hardcover along with The Raven Boys, because they're quite beautiful.
I re-read The Raven Boys before starting Dream Thieves, and let me tell you, it's an entirely different book when you read it knowing what happens at the end! Wonderful, getting all the things you missed the first time around (wondering how on earth you missed them when it's so blatantly obvious what's going on!) (My Goodreads review of it is here. It definitely gets 5 stars on the reread.)
Man, I love Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah. The most interesting characters are always the wounded ones, the scarred ones, the ones with baggage. Does Steifvater ever know how to give her characters pain!
Dream Thieves is about Ronan. (Yay!) We learn more about his past, his fraught relationship with his brother, his inheritance from his father. His magical power is pretty cool and scary. The relationships amongst the friends get more complicated. The plot thickens in all dimensions. And there are two new totally awesome antagonists (I tried to think of a more intellectual way to say 'totally awesome' but really I just want to squee about them.) I love the Gray Man! (You know, in the way you love terrible bad guys because they're so good at being terrible.)
The Raven Cycle so far is tense and juicy and full of conflict, and have I mentioned the character development? The Dream Thieves is a great second book: it has its own plot arc, so it doesn't just feel like "and the characters kept doing stuff until the third book happened"; but it still tantalizes you with developments that you need to know more about. I anxiously await the third book in the cycle (wonder if that word means it's more than a trilogy?).
Slow-cooked beef and mushroom stew with red wine and caramelized onions: rich and savoury with layers of all the flavours, sweet, tangy, salty, bitter, umami. Something you can really get your teeth into.