Did you have a chance to read Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys? If not, please do so immediately. That way you can then enjoy the second installment: The Dream Thieves (Scholastic, $18.99, out today). The Dream Thieves is written like a dream. I found myself moving out of this state of unearthliness, trying to figure out what what was real and what wasn’t. In the context of the book, magic exists. And the characters and the setting are so realistic, I become convinced that their reality is my reality and that magic must exist in this world, too. The Dream Thieves is slightly darker than The Raven Boys, but darker in a way that is entirely appropriate. Even happy dreams are bizarre and twisted. Dreams turn you up-side-down and in-side-out. They mess with you in delightfully terrifying ways. How many times have you woken up with the thought, ‘thank god, it was just a dream’, but then later you can’t remember — was it a dream or wasn’t it? Stiefvater’s second volume of the Raven Cycle brings up all of these confusing emotions. And it is brilliant. Like dreams, I can’t quite explain the book either. I know that if I start to describe it, that the description won’t do the book justice. Or I’ll get caught up trying to clarify a point that isn’t really important. I’ll just say that this book focuses more on Ronan and Adam. Like dreams, it all makes sense when you’re reading the book. But yes, it is absolutely vital that you read The Raven Boys first. In fact, I wish I had read it again right before I read the second book. I’m looking forward to when all the volumes are out and I can read them all in one go.