Review: Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Be aware, if you haven’t read the Raven Cycle there will be some unavoidable spoilers in this review. Read on at your own risk.

I came to the Raven Cycle late, so I consumed the whole thing fairly quickly. It’s probably for this reason that I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. That might explain how I managed to miss the release of Call Down the Hawk, which I’m actually grateful for, because that means I only have to wait until May for the sequel (I have already pre-ordered it, spoiler—I loved this book).

The cover isn’t really relevant to most of the book, but I suppose it would be hard to pick something significant without spoiling some aspect of the book. It’s an interesting cover and it does relate a little to what happens in the novel, so I’m not mad at it

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.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .”

I loved learning more about the Lynch family in this book. I liked Ronan a lot in the Raven Cycle, so it was great to get a book (partially) from his point of view. I loved Declan becoming a bigger character, and I always love to read well-written sibling dynamics, and I was glad that Matthew, too, got fleshed out a little more. Ronan’s magic was part of the foundation of this series, and I really enjoyed the way his confidence and abilities have grown (in a way that still seems believable and earned) since the Raven Cycle.

Much like when Ilona Andrews rebooted their Hidden Legacy series with a new main character, I understand why Blue and Gansey only had small, off-page roles in this book; and even Adam made fewer appearances than I expected, but I think this left room to truly focus on the Lynch brothers, and the interesting new set of characters introduced in this book.

Farooq-Lane was a surprising character, somewhat reminiscent of a character from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood or Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn series. I loved her conviction and strong motivations, despite disagreeing with the choices she made. She made a great antagonist, and I look forward to learning more about Lock and Liliana in future novels, as well as seeing how Farooq-Lane continues to learn and grow.

Now is the time when I get to gush about how much I like Jordan, Hennessy and their sisters. Jordan and Hennessy are compelling from the first scene they (respectively) appear in. I love the lush, extravagant environments Maggie Stiefvater creates for her characters to exist in. Much in the same way Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series is benefited by being set in novel environments—a zoo, a theme park, a circus, a strip club—the Dreamer trilogy possesses numerous environments that can’t help but hold your interest. A dreamed forest, a farm filled with dreams, a college dorm room, an abandoned mansion, a magical black market. As someone who rarely enjoys descriptions of settings (I have a hard time picturing anything on purpose, and sometimes struggle to follow over-detailed descriptions for this reason), the settings Maggie Stiefvater writes add interest to the book without ever slowing down the plot, and enhance character development immensely.

If the brothers Lynch are amazingly well-written brothers, Jordan and Hennessy are equally well-written sisters. I loved Jordan coming into her own over the course of the novel, and I look forward to learning more about Hennessy’s past and future in coming books.

Fans of Opal and Chainsaw will be glad to know they also have appearances in this book, and there are some fascinating threads about the Lynch parents that were left tantalizingly dangling at the end of Call Down the Hawk. Adam’s friends were also an interesting group, and I hope we learn more about the crying club in the future. I know I’ve said it about twelve times by now, but I am really looking forward to reading Mister Impossible.

I enjoyed the details we learnt in this novel about the power of dreamers, and the system the moderator’s use to keep them in check. There was a clear series climax introduced in this novel, and I was glad that Ronan has grown in confidence and abilities since the last time he faced a major threat.

I was surprised that a few quite substantial plot threads were left unresolved when this book wrapped up, but still thoroughly enjoyed the book. If you expect this book to stand completely on its own, however, you might be disappointed. Rather than presenting a skeleton of a world or a two-dimensional cast, with a fully resolved plot, Maggie Stiefvater seems to have chosen to set up a full world and mysterious backstory for several characters, letting the longer-running series plot drive the tension. That’s not to say nothing is resolved, quite a few notable issues are presented and come to a head over the course of the book, and some issues that were apparent in the Raven Cycle also progress naturally. That might actually be why I have no problem with the plot of Call Down the Hawk being left quite vague. Issues seem real and complicated, some resolve and others don’t. It seems far more realistic to me than multiple long-running problems somehow tying up one after another to give some feeling of closure.

Before I get onto the recommendation section of this review, I feel the need to suggest that you read the Raven Cycle before you start the Dreamer Trilogy, as there’s a lot of character development and backstory that will otherwise be spoiled for you. If you’re still on the fence about Call Down the Hawk, I’d recommend it to you if you enjoyed Nora Sakavic’s All for the Game series, Derek Landy’s Demon Road series, Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children books, Holly Black’s Curseworkers books, or of course Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle. Overall, Call Down the Hawk is an incredible start to a very interesting series, and I’d suggest it to any fans of character-driven plot set in an engrossing world.


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