the dreamer trilogy is not for all raven cycle fans | a piece written at 1am

Hello to those who are fans of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater,

Why the selective greeting? Not because I think others are unwelcome but simply because this post is not for you. I mean to appeal to those who have survived the pages of The Raven Cycle and probably pulled a wtf face at the plot and still decided it was a masterpiece. Because those wtf moments mean so much more, of which I can give essays on. But I am not. Oh no, I am giving an essay on The Dreamer Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. The spin-off series from the raven cycle following Ronan and others affected by dreaming.

“The dreamers walk among us…and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.”

Spin-offs are a tricky business because fans will be wary of them. Either undecided on reading them or on loving them. But successes do exist. What I expected from The Dreamer Trilogy was a new story that wanted to distance itself from The Raven Cycle. Maggie stated that this new series can be read without prior knowledge of The Raven Cycle. Along with other sentences that made me feel this is its own thing. I found this a positive note as the books were made because there was something new to be said, not just for love.

Therefore if you are seeking extra content for The Raven Cycle, fanfiction is your treasure trove. The Dreamer Trilogy is for those in love with the world, magic and writing found in The Raven Cycle, not the characters, themes or goals.

The Raven Cycle is about discovery, found family, closeness and possibility. But, The Dreamer Trilogy has established rules of magic and discusses danger, fear, loneliness, isolation and running away from change. In some ways, they are oppositions of each other. The same way a mirror reverses everything. It looks the same, but you follow opposite instructions when picking something up. I loved both explorations of emotions, especially because Maggie’s writing is a dream at expressing itself.

A brief interlude to admire Stiefvater’s writing:

Oh, the writing. I experience some form of writing on a daily basis, preferably the fictional kind. Therefore I am not always thinking about writing techniques when reading because I have seen a lot, and I am not always an analytical reader. So for something to get my attention, it will need to be ‘take-notice’. Sure, in most books, the occasional quote gets an eyebrow raise, but that’s about it. However, with Stiefvater, it’s a downright different experience. The writing style and writing decisions are so intentional, changing everything. I get lost in it, and it is an extraordinary gift. Every Steifvater book I’ve read transports you, whether to new locations or into the characters’ emotions. The writing is so alive. It is seriously scary good.

You should not read The Dreamer Trilogy if you are seeking the same feelings as The Raven Cycle or for Ronan alone. Please do not read it for Pynch, either. Adam was the only part that felt like he was there because of TRC. As a fan, you will enjoy his scenes, but there are only there for old readers. If you were new to the series, I doubt you would understand the importance of Adam (as the man and the boyfriend).

You may be wondering why not read it for Ronan if it is a Ronan spin-off? Because if you do, you will only resent the pages he is not in and suffer the consequences. The Dreamer Trilogy is a multiple-perspective novel, and Ronan takes up about 1/4 of the plot of the entire series. To enjoy this series and get the most from it, you will have to love… or love to examine… or love to judge the other characters. Let’s quickly meet them…

~ characters ~

RONAN – boy has some secrets he keeps from himself.

HENNESSY – dream magic is wondrous. A dreamer has nightmares, then dream magic is torturous. Get to know a dreamer who is afraid to dream.

JORDAN – a dream you can hold is magical but tethered by belonging. Shouldn’t a dream should be free to be itself?

DECLAN – a liar, a plain liar, until you see him in the right light.

FAROOQ-LANE – what would you do to save the world? Kill the dreamers, but what’s left?

The rest of the characters you can discover on your own.

It may seem like I am convincing you to avoid this series, but that is not the case. But I do think the right expectations for the series will lead to the best outcome for all involved.

Please read this series because I did enjoy it. Not as much as the raven cycle, but that would have been a miracle. I appreciated what this new step in this world provided, and I liked the new characters. Plus, it gave a conclusion to characters who were always waiting for one. Focusing on them in unexplored circumstances so they could earn it.

~ here are my brief thoughts on each book ~

Call Down The Hawk

The set-up. It is always the most important at the time but the first to be forgotten. There are lots of moving parts in this series. The world has already been established, so first, you need to build more to explore. To prove this series is not the same. Enter dream logic and black markets. I love how it shows how the world monopolised magic to its sin and how each player plays a part in the game. It made the series edgier. Next, you must introduce the characters with their individual backgrounds, goals and personalities. Start slow, then reach out. Ensuring the characters are not separate entities but structurally connected. This book was jam-packed because it did all of this. It set the board; this complex, busy board. It was treated carefully but assembled quickly. It was still effective and made you think of illogical answers to whimsical questions. The characters were all imperfect and holding tight to fears in the dark, which made me think of logical answers to unquestioning silences.

Mister Impossible

The second book in a trilogy is often doomed. It is the peak of the arch sat right in the middle, with not enough time to develop its own curves. Second books are about a journey with no overall catalyst or end. Journeys can be good, and this book was half good and half meh. It had action, it had emotion, it had personality, it had whimsy, it had twists and revelations, and it had an impactful ending. You could not miss this book out of the series without losing what the series means, so it was good. But I don’t think this book is why you will pick up the series because it is primarily about the characters being lost so they can be saved in the third book. On its own, it is just a bit lonely and “waiting in the wind”, but completely necessary for the series.


The closing chapter was surprisingly my favourite of the series (at least on the first read). Surprising because it required a lot of patience in waiting for the end, yet it still felt like necessary action. And by action, I mean both emotional and physical. It was the final prophecy, facing trauma, understanding what you want (no need), and an epic conclusion. The history that was revealed in this book was exciting and revelationary. I loved that it added to the characters in such a powerful way. Declan’s and Hennessy’s emotional journeys were the strongest of the series. I loved them! Even though the final emotions got no breathing room after all the work, I was still satisfied with the finale. It was characters believing in their happy endings after never knowing or forgetting to dream (in the mortal way, but the other way had its part to play too)

What are your thoughts are spin-offs? Have you read this one? What are your thoughts on the books? Do you like the new characters?

15 thoughts on “the dreamer trilogy is not for all raven cycle fans | a piece written at 1am

  1. “I mean to appeal to those who have survived the pages of The Raven Cycle and probably pulled a wtf face at the plot and still decided it was a masterpiece.” I’ve never read a more accurate description of the experience that is reading and loving The Raven Cycle 😂
    I have yet to read Greywaren but you’re definitely on to something about going into this spin-off with the right expectations. Ronan was my favorite character in The Raven Cycle so I went into this wanting to read about Ronan and yes, I did suffer the consequences. Two books in and I still find myself unable to care about anyone but Ronan (and Adam but I agree with you that he’s only there for the old fans). Generally, the trilogy is on the mediocre side for me, only saved by Ronan and Stiefvater’s writing, but it was very interesting to read your analysis of it because I think you’re absolutely right. I just don’t think it was possible for me to have other expectations than the ones I had going in 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yep, these were the truest words I could think to describe what it is about The Raven Cycle, wondrous confusion 😂😍!
      I went into this spin off series telling myself to not expect loads from the OG characters (I had been burnt by spin offs before 😂) so it really helped me to enjoy the series more. Even so, I expected more Ronan. I can see how the series is hard work if you don’t care about the other characters. I hope this doesn’t damper expectations but good luck with greywaren in this sense 😬!
      I don’t think Maggie wanted to make it a Pynch book but Adam was still needed to be mentioned ofc.
      I can totally see why it is on the mediocre side for you, I mean it is no raven cycle. I would probably rate the entire series 3.5🌟 but I have enjoyed it. I think Stiefvater’s writing style plays a BIG part in that for me. Sorry it couldn’t be all it could have been for you, but I am glad you agree with my 1am ramblings (always a risk reading them back 😂). I always give the advice manage expectations but honestly I don’t know too much about the how myself 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I might have been too hung up on the fact the spin-off was introduced as the Ronan trilogy and I even think that was its name for a long time on Goodreads. So I didn’t even think of the possibility that he wasn’t going to be the sole main charater. But yeah, I liked book two significantly less than book one so I’m not going into Greywaren expecting much 😅 But maybe that’s a good thing.

        I definitely loved your 1am ramblings and they are infinitely better than anthing I could have written that late 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh yes it was introduced as the Ronan trilogy and definitely didn’t live up to the name at all really.
          I’m tempted to say Declan played a bigger part than Ronan at times!
          Sometimes low expectations can be a gift so I hope they work in your favour!

          Haha thank you ❤️ it is my ramblings at 8am that concern me more 😅😂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I read Call Down the Hawk before the Raven Cycle because I hadn’t realized it was a companion series. I was mostly confused by the worldbuilding, but later realized that the Raven Cycle didn’t actually answer any of the questions I had about the worldbuilding so…I think people could read the Dreamer Trilogy by itself.

    Anyway, I guess because I wasn’t expecting a Ronan story, I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed all the characters, especially Jordan and Declan. Declan doesn’t come off very well in the Raven Cycle, so it was interesting to see the story from his perspective and realize that he loves his family and is just trying to survive.

    I do think it’s weird Adam wasn’t in the story more, though. He’s obviously important to Ronan, but they two aren’t talking for most of the trilogy for…reasons? I kind of thought he was going to do something more important? I thought the same about Matthew, too, though.

    I do think Stiefvater’s writing is unique in that there isn’t really a clear plotline. Raven Cycle is mostly character development; the books don’t have clear arcs. The Dreamer Trilogy has all this stuff happen and then the final book almost resets everything to the start!

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    1. Interesting that you read Call Down The Hawk before The Raven Cycle. How very true that the raven cycle answers none of the questions… It definitely has a whimsical aspect that you have to blindly follow. I remember being 100% confused after The Raven Boys but I learnt to embrace that side. It does make for a strange journey you will love or hate. I do think the Dreamer Trilogy can be read by itself as well.

      I’m glad the expectations didn’t damage your experience and you enjoyed all the characters. I really loved Declan and the sides Jordan brought out of him.
      I was excited to see Declan out of The Raven Cycle, because he doesn’t come off that great you’re right, but sometimes those character have the most to say. It was a touching journey to witness his love and how it came across.

      I do think Adam and Matthew could have easily been narrator for this series too and helped to extend the length. I honestly feel like Adam was sidelined so it wouldn’t be called a Adam x Ronan spin off, but that’s just me theorising. It would have been nice to see both characters more I agree!

      They really are plotless plots, the magic feels more like emotional metaphors then anything else. It really works for me and I am deeply in love with the writing, but it is imperfect at times as well. Character development is key for these books.
      That’s a excellent point, it does reset. I feel like Declan and Hennessy had emotional breakthroughs but I did expect more from Ronan.


  3. your writing is so gorgeous sophie! like, i’m always in awe at how you manage to string together words so beautifully!!

    anyways, this is such a wonderful breakdown! my love-hate relationship with the raven cycle doesn’t fully extend to the dreamer trilogy unfortunately. i love jordan, declan, and of course ronan! but everyone else is meh and the plot really isn’t the same without gansey’s chaos💀 i still want to read greywaren though!! and you make a great point about the dreamer trilogy being a completely different entity than the raven cycle. this really is a lovely post💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kaya, thank you soooo, SOO, sooo much 💜😭💜😭 that means so much I cannot tell you 🥺

      I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I finished greywaren and I had a lot more thoughts that I thought I would 😅
      The dreamer trilogy doesn’t hit the same as the raven cycle (a love hate relationship, how intriguing)!
      I did enjoy getting to know the new characters and Declan really stole the show for me too. Such great exploration of his emotions (and all the many struggles)!
      I did miss the discovery aspect from the raven cycle, it captured the magic of whimsy so well and Gansey’s personality and intention very much spearheaded this! And his boat shoes!!! Oh gansey, where art thou?!?
      I hope you enjoy greywaren, I think it was a solid conclusion because it made me feel things and that’s really all I’m looking for here 😅
      Glad you agree with me on how it is different from TRC. Thank you so much for all your lovely words 💜🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg it’s like this post was made for me, I’m so happy that I stumbled upon it! When I first read Call Down the Hawk, it really took me by surprise. It wasn’t at all what I expected and I even remember saying in my original review that I wanted way more scenes with Adam. It was pretty obvious, in retrospect, that I’d went into the book expecting it to be centered on Pynch post-TRC with a new plot, but that was not at all what the book’s intent was. Which, when I think about it, is a little ironic considering the fact that I always preface my recommendation of the TRC to new readers with the words “give it some time to build and don’t let fanart color your expectations of book 1.” I even have a post on my blog now about said preface since I think its so important for people interested in the series. And yet I kinda fell into my own trap when it came to this spin-off lol. So I decided to wait until the trilogy was fully published before giving CDTH another re-read which I plan to do very soon. And this post really gave me some perspective on what I’m in for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw… Yay, I’m so glad you liked this post (and maybe it was made for you 🤭😂)!
      Call Down The Hawk was different from the raven cycle, with a new direction and focus.
      Yes, Adam was hardly in the book and I would have loved more with him as he was my favourite TRC character, but sadly the series didn’t want to focus on them. I think it was hard not to go in with those expectations though given the plot premise.
      That is a really good advice to go into the raven cycle~~ it takes time to build the amazing story. It could definitely apply to the dreamer trilogy too. You need to manage the story with the right expectations, but it is sometimes easier said than done. Especially with a spin off when you know the characters so well and know what you want from them.
      I think waiting until the series was fully published is a good idea as reading all the books together can have a larger impact on you.
      Ahh… It means so much that my post could be helpful and I hope you have a better time with the series. It has some great moments! I will look out for your thoughts on it 👀❤️ thank you for your comment 🥰


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