Friday 30 December 2022
CBR14 Book 47: "Mister Impossible" by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 4 stars
This is NOT the place to start if you're not caught up. Begin either with the start of this trilogy, Call Down the Hawk, or with the start of the previous series (in which Ronan is an essential character), The Raven Boys.
This book kicks off a little while after the rather dramatic cliffhanger that the previous book left us with. Ronan and Hennessey are fugitives from the Moderators, learning new and helpful tricks to deal with their mysterious hunters from the enigmatic Bryde. According to him, something is blocking and diminishing the powers of the dreamers and it's up to Bryde, Ronan, and Hennessey to unblock things. They remain incommunicado with those who worry and care for them - Declan, Matthew, Adam, and Jordan are all left to figure out how to proceed, while their loved ones seem to be taking up eco-terrorism.
Jordan, especially, who has never lived alone in her life, needs to discover who she is away from Hennessey and her dead dreamt sisters. The mysterious women-run organisation known as Boudicca certainly seems interested in her art. Through them, Jordan discovers the existence of sweetmetals, strange objects that can keep a dreamed object (or person) awake even if their dreamer dies. And since Ronan and Hennessey certainly seem to be risking their lives doing whatever it is they're doing - both Jordan and Declan have a vested interest in trying to get their hands on some powerful sweetmetals as soon as possible, preferably without ending up in lifetime servitude to Boudicca.
Meanwhile, Carmen Farooq-Lane is getting more and more convinced that while some dreamers may be dangerous and provide a threat to society, the vast majority are just harmless people trying to live their lives, and murdering them without compunction make the Moderators just as bad, if not worse, than most dreamers.
This is a bridging book of sorts, and I can tell you it very much didn't go where I was expecting it. A central concept in all of these books, starting with The Raven Cycle, is the importance of ley lines. I don't think either the characters or Ms. Stiefvater's readers were really prepared for how the ley lines were going to play into everything. I can say that anyone who was hoping that this trilogy would be the thrilling romantic continuation of Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish are going to be very disappointed indeed. Of course, in place of the romance that I'm sure many wanted, we get the rather lovely romance of Declan Lynch (who I still can't believe I love and adore as much as I do) and Jordan, Hennessey's dreamed twin.
There were certain things in the book that didn't really work so well for me. Bryde is far too mysterious and vague to really feel like a proper character. He keeps trying to force Ronan and Hennessey into learning to be better, more efficient dreamers with a lot of philosophical questions and platitudes, and I found him generally boring. I guess discovering where he came from was a bit interesting, but I'm still not entirely sure about the how and why of him. I was also generally not that interested in the ongoing moral qualms of Carmen and her visionary sidekick Liliana. Every time the plot focused too long on either Bryde or Carmen, I was tempted to skip ahead.
Nevertheless, this was certainly an interesting ride, and I can't wait to see where Stiefvater is taking this next. She certainly excels at cliffhangers - and I'm so grateful that I waited until the trilogy was completed to catch up, so I don't have to wait an entire year to find out what happens to my fantastical babies next.
Judging a book by its cover: It's obvious to anyone who has read the first book that the very cool individuals on the cover here are clearly Ronan and Hennessey. They have their dreamt swords and their careless attitudes and having now finished the book, I also know which car they're standing in front of. I still think the cover is a strange follow-up to the hawk on the cover of book 1, the image styles don't really go together.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.