“She didn’t want this, she thought. She wanted to stop being afraid.. and she wanted a future that didn’t look exactly like her past. There had to be something they could do. This wasn’t living, it was just giving up while still breathing.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Call Down the Hawk
“Farooq-Lane’s fist smarted as if it had just been smashed against a douchebag’s face, because it had just been smashed against a douchebag’s face.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Call Down the Hawk
Spoilers for The Raven Cycle ahead.
The Opal novella and the Dreamer Trilogy pick up right where The Raven King wrapped up. This time, however, instead of focusing on “the gangsey,” we are brought into the burgeoning romantic relationship between Adam and Ronan.
I think of the Opal novella as the extra bonus chapters dedicated just to Ronan and Adam that made the Raven Cycle so special. It is a bit strange in a way as it is told from the point of view of Opal, Ronan’s sort-of-adopted-daughter/psychopomp. Even though I didn’t really get much out of this character’s POV, I am up for anything that primarily focuses on the relationship and communication between these two prickly, long-suffering, beautiful characters.
The first part of Call Down the Hawk sets everything up: why Ronan and Adam can’t live in the same place, how much Adam has changed in his brief time away at Harvard, and how Ronan is coping with his new reality. We get a few new characters who are firmly part of the dream/dreamer/”unlucky” human landscape we got a taste of in the four earlier books. We are introduced to Hennessey, a dreamer who can only dream one thing – a duplicate version of herself. We learn about her “twin” Jordan, whose life is tied to that of reckless, self-destructive Hennesey, and the generational scars passed on to them from Hennesey’s dreamer mother.
Meanwhile, Declan gets a story in this book. Hooray! If you thought Adam and Ronan suffered, check out this guy. I very much get an Anthony Bridgerton vibe from him since everything he does, he does it “for his family.” And because he’s a dick about it.
The main plot of these books is driven by the pursuit and extermination of dreamers by the “moderators”, supported by Carmen Farooq-Lane.
So, that’s the general set up. As we get into the second book, Mister Impossible, Ronan and Hennessey have to fight back against the moderators. They are led by Bryde, another extremely powerful dreamer whose mission is to protect dreamers and destroy everything that is damaging the ley line.
At the risk of giving too much away, Greywaren feels as if it was written to simply fill in the plot holes from the previous books as well as provide an acceptable ending to this eight book saga. We get Niall and Aurora Lynch’s backstory. We learn about the birth and childhood of each of the Lynch sons.
The good: The few scenes of Ronan and Adam together, or of one of them reminiscing of their summer together, were the carrots that kept me going through these books. The exploration of complicated relationships between parents and their children, and the generational wounds that persist after parents are dead and gone were fascinating and deeply moving. I loved that we got to see more than one side of Declan in these books. The guy finally got a personality and a plot! We finally got a view of sisterly relationships to counteract all of the brothers and “bros” of the previous four books. I was also so thrilled to go from the plot of searching for undead Welsh kings to the dangerous world of dream things, art forgeries, and artifacts based on 19th and 20th century history.
The bad: There was too much Carmen Farooq-Lane. I felt like she was put in there so we could have a full story arc for a character we hadn’t already spent a ton of time with in the other books. While she was more interesting and more well-drawn than Bryde, by the time I got to Greywaren, I was skimming her chapters. Also, I wish we’d had more Adam and Ronan. They spend so much time apart in these books. I understand why this happened but I had been led to believe that the dreamer trilogy was all about Ronan, and, in turn, would feature Adam heavily. This was not the case. The way the series ended was fine. It could have been worse and it could have been better. To me, the ending was more satisfying than the Raven Cycle, but only because that series gave us a nearly impossible setup from the very beginning. This one made the ending far more acceptable because there weren’t literally four books leading up to that “one big thing.”